September 7, 2018
Pennsylvania to Revolutionize Preparation of STEM Teachers for High-Need Communities Across State
Governor Wolf Announces Launch of Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship Program in Partnership with Woodrow Wilson Foundation
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, today announced that Pennsylvania will make a major commitment to ensuring excellent teachers are leading STEM classrooms in high-need schools across the state as the state establishes the Woodrow Wilson Pennsylvania Teaching Fellows program
“Expanding businesses need people with STEM skills and that starts with great teachers,” said Governor Wolf. “I commend the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for making Pennsylvania the sixth state with this fellowship and for its dedication to delivering a quality STEM education to our students. This fellowship is the perfect match with my PAsmart initiative that has made Pennsylvania a national leader in STEM and computer science education. Through the fellowship, STEM teachers will improve as educators and with PAsmart, the state in investing in the future of our students so they have the STEM skills for good jobs in high-growth fields that Pennsylvania needs.”
Pennsylvania becomes the sixth state to bring the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship to its colleges and universities, joining Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio.
“All Pennsylvania students both need and deserve strong STEM teachers,” Levine said. “Through the Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship Program, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation will now help the state construct new pipelines of aspiring educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math, all committed to teaching in Pennsylvania’s high-need communities. Through this effort, Pennsylvania will continue to strengthen its schools, its communities, and its future.”
The WW Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship will focus on preparing top-quality educators for many of the state’s most underserved public schools. Each Fellow receives $32,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program based on a yearlong classroom experience. In return, Fellows commit to teach for three years in the urban and rural Pennsylvania schools that most need strong STEM teachers. Throughout the three-year commitment, Fellows receive ongoing support and mentoring.
“The Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship Program brings the best of all approaches to the teaching needs we have in Philadelphia,” School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said. “We know that the most important factor to student achievement is having a great teacher in every classroom. Teachers trained using a clinical model, like this Fellowship program, do well, especially in our high needs schools. And, young teachers are more likely to succeed and remain in teaching when they are supported with mentors, like the Fellowship provides. I am excited that this program is coming to Pennsylvania and I am looking forward to having Fellows learn and teach in our schools.”
In addition to the School District of Philadelphia, initial school district partners for the Pennsylvania Teaching Fellowship include Pittsburgh Public Schools, McKeesport Area School District, Penn Hills School District, and Woodland Hills School District.
“We are honored to be selected, along with the University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne University, to offer the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship,” said Cynthia D. Shapira, chair of the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania becomes the sixth state to launch this innovative teacher education program, which seeks to transform STEM teaching while preparing future leaders in the profession to help students in secondary schools with highest need to achieve success. It is most fitting that our universities, which historically have been at the forefront of teacher preparation in the Commonwealth, have a key role in bringing the Fellowship to the citizens of Pennsylvania."
The Woodrow Wilson Foundation selected Duquesne University, University of Pennsylvania, and West Chester University as initial university partners, following an exhaustive statewide review. Joining 28 other colleges and universities nationwide in the WW Teaching Fellowship network, these institutions will spend the next year tailoring their teacher preparation programs to meet the Fellowship’s standards for intensive clinical work and rigorous related coursework. The work at West Chester University will later be replicated on other campuses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).
“To remain competitive, our country must do a much better job of attracting more teachers who are both knowledgeable about math, science, and engineering, and passionate about using innovative approaches to engage students in STEM learning," said Pam Grossman, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. “The Weiss Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows will receive the preparation they need to transform the teaching of science in Pennsylvania’s urban schools."
“As a tier one research university, Duquesne University is dedicated to advancing math, science, and engineering.” Dusquesne University Provost David Dausey said. “We are excited to be part of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows program because it provides Duquesne the ability continue to build its legacy in STEM education by training the teachers of tomorrow. Our School of Education, offering a full range of bachelors, master and doctoral degrees, is an ideal place for these leaders to be trained as educators.”
“West Chester University is proud to be selected to represent the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in the launch of a program that has been specifically planned and funded to develop exceptional teachers dedicated to infusing STEM knowledge,” said West Chester University President Christopher M. Fiorentino. “This extraordinary opportunity opens many doors to our State System colleagues who also welcome cultivating the Commonwealth’s next generation of STEM educators who will, in turn, teach those who will ultimately advance our region. The partnership is a win-win on a multitude of levels, particularly for the many students in urban and rural schools who yearn for a competitive STEM education.”
All three participating universities will receive $400,000 matching grants to develop their teacher preparation programs based on standards set by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. For each of the program’s three years, the participating Pennsylvania universities will be able to enroll 12 Fellows, totaling 108 fellows over that three-year period. Given the state’s shortage of secondary-level STEM teachers, the foundation is looking for additional partners and funders to expand the program.
The WW Foundation will begin recruiting Fellows for the program immediately, with the first class of Pennsylvania Teaching Fellows expected to begin their program in the summer of 2019. Additional information on the Pennsylvania program can be found at https://woodrow.org/fellowships/ww-teaching-fellowships/pennsylvania.
“Every classroom needs excellent teachers, and this program is pioneering a new approach to recruit and prepare STEM experts to teach in Pennsylvania classrooms,” said Janet Haas, Board Chair of William Penn Foundation. “This new model will have impacts even beyond STEM education; the two Philadelphia-area universities have pledged to use what they learn from the fellowship program to reshape their early childhood and elementary education programs.”
The Woodrow Wilson Foundation will create and administer the program, anchored by a $5 million matching grant from the the William Penn Foundation, and generously supported by Highmark, AT&T, the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, M&T Bank, the Weiss Family Foundation, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education Foundation, and several other major individual donors.
To date, more than 1,200 teachers have been prepared through the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program. A range of foundations and private funders, including Lilly Endowment Inc., Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Overdeck Foundation, and a consortium of Ohio and New Jersey foundations, as well as state and federal funds, have supported the Fellowship. The Pennsylvania program brings the total commitment to the Fellowship to nearly $100 million nationwide.