Kellogg Foundation Awards $16.7 Million to Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
The first statewide Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, inspired by Dr. Levine’s research, is already under way in Ind. The four participating universities are Ball State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue University and the University of Indianapolis. The first group of Fellows began their studies this past summer, and the project is being independently evaluated by the Urban Institute. Like Indiana’s Fellowship, the Michigan Fellowship will serve as a model for improving teacher education across the country.
Universities that participate must match a $500,000 grant and redesign their teacher education programs in science and math within a 21-month time frame by creating a collaborative relationship between the schools of arts and sciences and education. Instead of simply adding a pilot project, these model math and science teacher education programs completely replace the existing programs and are sustained for years to come.
Field experience for the Fellows also starts early in the process, as they begin work in high-need schools and gradually take on more teaching responsibilities, similar to the training a medical student would receive in a teaching hospital. Mentoring support for the Fellows continues throughout their first three years in the classroom.
The success of the program will be judged by the learning of the students in the Fellows’ classrooms, the retention of the teachers and the changes at the university.
Targeting the initiative to middle school students as well as to high school students is a key strategy for improving student performance in these subjects. The recently released National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics results show that 8th graders have made slight gains since 2007, from an average of 281 to 283. But still, just 34 percent of students are scoring at or above the proficient level. In addition, students eligible for the federal student lunch program gained just one point over 2007 and the average score for English learners dropped this year by three points.