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Concord gets $2.3 million to help increase and retain STEM teachers

By Greg Jordan, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS, W.Va. — A grant of more than $2.3 million will help a local university increase the numbers of West Virginia students training to become science, technology, engineering and math teachers and help them stay in the state.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Related Agencies (CJS), announced the grant Monday from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Concord University to serve the national need of increasing and retaining STEM teachers.

“In order for the United States to have a next generation workforce, we must invest in students early,” Capito said. “I was proud to secure this grant for Concord University to help create a pipeline of new teachers for our rural schools and I am even prouder that they will be learning right here in West Virginia. This project will help rural students get a high-quality education at a young age that will help prepare them for STEM jobs in the future.”

The award is a $2,317,725 NSF grant to Concord University for a project titled “Utilizing Wrap Around Mentorship and Virtual Reality to Prepare and Sustain STEM Teachers in Rural High-Need Schools.”

The proposed project will provide insight into the successful recruitment, preparation and retention of STEM professionals who have chosen to pursue a career in STEM education.

Through this funding, Concord will deliver an online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) curriculum, implement a comprehensive wrap around mentorship program utilizing a virtual platform to connect a multidisciplinary team of mentors with the Teaching Fellows (TFs), develop and maintain a Professional Learning Community (PLC), and incorporate the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology within the MAT curriculum.

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