UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008

high-need Texas school district for every
one year they receive the scholarship.
But the Noyce recipients, who include
undergraduates preparing for a teaching
career and career changers like Harl, aren't
just thrown into a challenging classroom
environment. The teachers in training
receive grade-level and assignment-specific
professional development. And in the
teachers' first two years on the job, UNT
professors keep in close contact with them
and arrange for mentor teachers to answer
the fledgling instructors' questions and
simply check in on them.
"I had mentor teachers the first year,
and they helped me out a lot by coming to
class and giving me feedback," Harl says.
"The), answered my e-mails and generally
helped me out. Even though she wasn't
required to help me after my certification,

Dr. Harrell has been a tremendous resource
for me."
UNT students will receive similar
support through Transition to Teaching. The
federally funded program, currently in a
recruitment phase, is geared toward career
changers pursuing certification - and in
some cases certification and a master's
degree - in their subject fields. The objective
of the program is to annually bring in 15
candidates, who, in exchange for financial
assistance, commit to teaching at least three
years in Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie
or Gainesville schools.
Throughout the commitment period,
UNT faculty members will work with the
teachers to steer them around potential
pitfalls that often lead to poor retention rates.
It's not uncommon, for example, for the job
changers to feel overwhelmed at the seem-

larris, Meadows Chair for Excellence in
on, says working conditions in schools are
r in teacher attrition. Several programs at
sure teachers receive guidance even after
graduated.
ingly chaotic classroom environment,
Harris says.
"They plow a much harder path in
which support is necessary," she says. "Some
I think have always wanted to be teachers but
didn't have a pathway."
Ii t IKt'I lI. N, 1N )1 KI,\Il). \1 1,
In recent years, most of the math and
science teachers UNT turns out are post-
baccalaureate career changers. Harris admits
that convincing undergraduate math and
science majors to pursue teaching certification
i, a bit of an uphill battle.
"One of the barriers we face is the
belief of some faculty that teaching is not
the best use of their students' talents,"
Harris says.
The university learned earlier this year
that it is one of 13 institutions to receive
a $2.4 million grant to replicate the inno-
vative UTeach program, which has been
credited with more than doubling the number
of math, science and computer science
teachers graduating from the University of
Texas at Austin. Grants from the Greater
Texas Foundation, UTeach Institute and the
National Mathematics and Science Initiative
partially fund the program.
Co-directors John Quintanilla, associate
professor of mathematics, and Harris project
that the program, called Teach North Texas,
will turn out 60 teachers a year. UNT already
produces nearly 1,200 certified teachers,
counselors and school leaders each year.
"With Teach North Texas, future math
and science teachers will be prepared for
their profession with course work that is
guided by current research and is specifically
tailored for their field of interest,"

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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115031/. Accessed December 19, 2014.