Shippensburg University’s Mathematics Department was awarded a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation for their initiative to increase the number of high school math teachers in the region. The grant funds scholarships and expands partnerships with Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) and Hagerstown Community College (HCC).

According to the US Department of Education, there is a shortage of secondary mathematics teachers across Pennsylvania and secondary schools in the south central region are no different. This grant aims to increase the number of high school math teachers by providing scholarships, specialized training for teaching in high need school districts, and a community of fellow educators to rely upon.

“Shippensburg University has a history of providing a strong training program for math teachers with many of them choosing to live and teach in our region. This grant will financially support students so that they require less student loans and can teach in high-need school districts without the burden of a large post-graduation debt load,” said Dr. Deborah Gochenaur, associate professor of mathematics.

Students who receive the scholarship will be required to work for four years in a high-need school upon graduating.

With transfer articulation agreements already in place with HACC and HCC, Ship expects to increase the pool of potential students through an enhanced partnership with both community colleges that focuses on recruiting more future math teachers.

The program, led by Dr. Deborah Gochenaur, associate professor of mathematics and Dr. Johnna Barnaby, assistant professor of mathematics, and evaluator Dr. Katherine McGivney, professor of mathematics, will launch in fall 2022. The grant will support a total of 30 students over a five-year period.

As they work to recruit future math teachers to the scholarship program, they also hope to help regional school districts develop a “Grow Your Own” model.

The goal is for districts to “encourage their own students to pursue mathematics teaching degrees. By identifying their own students as early as middle school they will be able to build a desire in students to not only teach but also for return to their home district to teach,” said Gochenaur.