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April 30, 2002

UMBC Shriver Center Receives NSF Grant for Science and Math Outreach in Middle Schools

Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) Shriver Center has received a three-year, $1.36 million grant to organize and lead a university-middle school partnership which will support and enhance mathematics and science instruction of underrepresented middle school youth in the Greater Baltimore area.

Twenty-six graduate and advanced undergraduate level “Fellows” will be recruited and selected from science and engineering graduate students and from UMBC's majors in information systems, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and natural sciences departments. One graduate and four/five undergraduate Fellows will be placed in each of the five partner middle schools – Lansdowne Middle School, Stemmers Run Middle School, Deep Creek Middle School, Brooklyn Park Middle School, and Corkran Middle School – to support teachers one-on-one in the classroom and in co-curricular activities.

“Studies show how critical the middle school years are in academically engaging youth, especially in math, science and technology,” says Shriver Center Executive Director John Martello. “This project places university students directly in middle school classrooms, working side-by-side with teachers to enhance the schools' curricula with UMBC's cutting-edge resources. The project will excite youth about learning math and science, train and re-energize current math and science teachers, and encourage a new generation of college students to explore teaching as a career.”

Fellows will draw on their own academic training, content knowledge and expertise to provide supplemental content, technical assistance and IT support to middle school teachers in the areas of mathematics and science. Fellows will also provide ten hours of direct instruction in the classroom each week.

Participating teachers will provide leadership to Fellows in instruction and classroom management, exposing them to the rewards of teaching in the K-12 public school system. Teachers will also participate in a continuous and sustained professional development effort designed to enhance their understanding of mathematics and science concepts, and to introduce them to IT and inquiry-based instruction through UMBC sponsored seminars and courses.

"In addition to the support provided to teachers, this program will also benefit the UMBC students who are selected as Fellows and the middle-school youth with whom they engage,” says Phillip Sokolove, professor of biological sciences and the project's principal investigator. “Through their involvement in the classroom, Fellows will gain teaching and communication skills, will become more aware of disadvantaged local student populations and more sensitive to the problems they face. As a result, some may consider teaching as an alternative career path. Middle-school students will benefit not only from curricular enhancements, but also from exposure to UMBC Fellows' enthusiasm for learning, leading them to see themselves entering science and technology-related careers."

Program partners include The Shriver Center, UMBC's Department of Biological Sciences, and the College of Engineering.

About The Shriver Center
UMBC established The Shriver Center in 1993, in honor of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, and has since become a national leader in promoting service-learning, civic engagement, and community-based service delivery. The Center enables students to link academic study to professional practice and community service, and is UMBC's primary vehicle for producing socially engaged citizens who graduate with the commitment and experience to serve responsibly in their communities, the State and the Nation. The Shriver Center also develops programs designed to strengthen communities and build local capacity to deal with the problems of juvenile delinquency, childhood lead poisoning, mental retardation and school drop-out.

About UMBC
Founded in 1966, UMBC is a medium-sized, selective, public research university situated on 500 acres between Baltimore, Md. and Washington, DC. UMBC has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences and engineering. A campus community rich in cultural and ethnic diversity, UMBC promotes cutting-edge research and creative activity. The campus is home to the nationally-known Meyerhoff Scholarship Program, the Shriver Center, and a number of major research centers. UMBC is a member of the University System of Maryland and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Posted by dwinds1 at April 30, 2002 12:00 AM