Innovative Programs Tackle Teacher Shortage
Since its beginnings more than 100 years ago as a teachers college, Montclair State has been a leader in teacher education. Today, the University is at the forefront of reversing a national teacher shortage — felt most in inner cities and in science and math — in part, with innovative, federally funded teacher preparation initiatives such as the Newark Montclair Urban Teacher Residency Program, which is funded by two consecutive, five-year, multi-million-dollar U.S. Department of Education grants.
Indeed, U.S. News & World Report ranks Montclair State among the nation’s top 100 graduate schools for education and places its graduate programs in both elementary and secondary teacher education among the top 20 in the country — a distinction unmatched by any other New Jersey institution.
The residency is an immersive apprenticeship program for Master of Arts in Teaching candidates who commit to teaching in Newark public schools for three years after they graduate. As residents, they teach on-site for an entire academic year. After graduation, the program provides three years of additional mentoring and induction support.
The University’s Center of Pedagogy Director Jennifer Robinson says the program has not only prepared and placed outstanding teachers in Newark’s schools, it has given faculty an opportunity to prepare teacher candidates in the schools. “Because faculty are on site teaching candidates how to teach,” she says, “graduates are much better prepared.”
“We have received well over $25 million in recent years to support STEM teacher preparation and provide our students with the knowledge and skills they need to be excellent teachers.”
According to Susan Taylor, the program’s director, who earned her master’s degree from Montclair State in 1982, the University researchers studied what urban schools need in order to better address the shortage of qualified teachers in Newark. “We’ll be one of the only programs in New Jersey to emphasize exemplary elementary mathematics education through our teacher candidates,” Robinson says.
Additionally, the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program encourages talented STEM students to teach in highneed urban schools. Thanks to a recent $1,106,026 National Science Foundation grant, eligible mathematics majors will soon take part in a scholarship program preparing them to teach math in the New Jersey elementary schools that need them most.
“We have received well over $25 million in recent years to support STEM teacher preparation and provide our students with the knowledge and skills they need to be excellent teachers and make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of countless young people across New Jersey,” says College of Education and Human Services Dean Tamara Lucas.