The Pennsylvania Department of Education awarded Shippensburg University a $100,000 Prep2Practice grant that will support the recruitment and retention of middle school and high school students from underrepresented populations who wish to pursue a career in math education. 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. 

The university has secured agreements with Carlisle and Chambersburg School Districts and hopes to engage with two additional schools in the region. The grant aims to recruit 15 students during the first cycle, with the hopes of continuing to recruit future teachers with the foundational elements put in place with the support of the grant.  

“The Prep2Practice grant will position Shippensburg University as a leading institution in targeting the teacher shortage and improving teacher diversity within the Commonwealth,” said Dr. José Ricardo, acting dean of the College of Education and Human Services.  

The grant team, comprised of Dr. Debbie Gochenaur, Dr. Johnna Goble, Dr. Lynn Baynum, and Dr. José Ricardo-Osorio, also hopes to see the recruited students consider the Noyce Scholarship Program at Shippensburg University.  

The Noyce Scholarship Program at Shippensburg University was established with a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, awarded last year. The goal of that grant was to fund scholarships and expand partnerships with Harrisburg Area Community College and Hagerstown Community College to address math teacher shortages.  

“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 financially supports 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 are required to work for two years in a high-need school upon graduating. 

Both grant programs will allow Ship to collaborate with local community colleges, high schools and middle schools to encourage students to pursue mathematics teaching degrees by identifying and cultivating student interest as early as possible.