CalTeach | Spring 2019
WHAT IS CALTEACH?
The University of California Science and Math Teacher Initiative (SMI/CalTeach) helps to address California’s serious shortage in the supply of well-qualified K–12 mathematics and science teachers by improving California’s undergraduate pipeline to mathematics and science teaching credentials.
UC launched the CalTeach program in 2005. Since then, CalTeach has been successfully recruiting, preparing and motivating talented undergraduates to explore careers as math or science educators. Students majoring in math or science are invited to augment their studies with a sequence of CalTeach courses and fieldwork experiences that introduce them to teaching while they concurrently complete undergraduate degrees. These courses, together with research opportunities and practical experience in K–12 classrooms, complement participants’ discipline-specific studies and prepare them to seek a teaching credential while or after earning a bachelor’s degree.
“Igniting Today’s Best Minds. Training Tomorrow’s Best Teachers.”
One of the central challenges in preparing the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professionals is the shortage of qualified K–12 math and science teachers.
The National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering 2018 Indicators show that 37% of middle school science and math teachers in low-poverty schools are teaching in a field in which they did not earn a degree and/or are not certified, compared to only 25% in low-poverty schools. The high rate of teacher turnover compounds this issue, and urban districts in particular are acutely affected. Nationwide, the teacher attrition rate is higher in urban schools than in non-urban schools. Furthermore, urban districts bear higher costs per departing teacher than other districts.
CalTeach Berkeley was founded to prepare math and science undergraduates from one of the nation’s premier universities for careers in urban K–12 education, and to provide them with resources and support to stay in the profession. In addition to giving undergraduates applicable life skills, our program demonstrates a diverse group of college-going role models to young students in surrounding areas of Berkeley and Oakland. Our placement of capable Cal students from a variety of backgrounds is not simply a benefit to them, but also to the youth that they encounter. The CalTeach program allows for undergrads to illustrate their individuality and passion in the classroom and form bonds between them and their students. Such relationships in areas in which youth may believe college is unattainable are essential in order to improve the educational community and resolve inequities in academics.
WHO IS CALTEACH?
The CalTeach Berkeley leadership team is comprised of Faculty Co-Directors Professors Deborah Nolan and George Johnson, Executive Director, Dr. Elisa Stone, and Program Manager, Sara Harmon. The entire CalTeach team is devoted to innovating teacher education, improving teacher retention, and increasing the pipeline of excellent STEM K-12 educators available to California schools and beyond.
CalTeach Students are from a wide range of majors, backgrounds, and points in their undergraduate career. In the classroom, they learn to become empowering role models who take on a variety of responsibilities as an educator. Not only does CalTeach take part in serving the educational community, but we create a community atmosphere within the program, where discourse on education, personal experiences, and more can occur through fun community events like Pi Day and our semesterly CalTeach Kick-off. Students emulate what it means to be a Golden Bear by implementing the applicable life skills they learn throughout the program.
WHAT IS OUR IMPACT?
Since the inception of the CalTeach program, our students have been actively participating in the educational community around us. We give students the unique opportunity to be placed in a K-12 classrooms throughout their time in the program, in which they implement the conceptual skills they learn in our courses. In the 2017-2018 academic year alone, students observed, worked, and taught in their field placements for almost 23,000 hours!
After our students complete the minor, they have the opportunity to apply to our credential program in which they later receive a preliminary teaching credential. The following is a demographic of what subject Cal Undergrads are pursuing after they complete our program:
Your gift to the CalTeach program supports its mission to increase the number and quality of math and science teachers in California K-12 schools by encouraging UC Berkeley undergraduate students to consider careers in K-12 STEM teaching. Thank you so much for your support!