Public Release: 

UTeach Arlington receives grant from city nonprofit to benefit students, local youth

Arlington Tomorrow Foundation

University of Texas at Arlington

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Credit: UT Arlington

The UTeach Arlington secondary math and science teacher preparation program at The University of Texas at Arlington has been selected for a grant by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation to benefit UTeach students and youth served by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County.

The initiative, named Maverick STEMbrace Success at Boys & Girls Club of Arlington, provides a one-year, $120,624 grant to benefit both entities. The grant will help recruit and support UTA science, mathematics and computer science majors who are pursuing secondary teacher certification while they serve Boys & Girls Club youth in an after-school STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. program.

The proposal was selected for funding by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, a public charity organization which was created to ensure financial resources acquired from the city's natural gas drilling activities benefit Arlington and its citizens now and in the future.

"We are very grateful to the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation for this gift," said Greg Hale, UTeach Arlington co-director and assistant dean of the College of Science. "It is allowing us to place eight of our great UTeach Arlington students in Boys & Girls Clubs around Arlington, serving as role models and bringing fun STEM activities to hundreds of children in their after-school programs.

"Our goals are to further increase the number of secondary STEM teachers produced at UTA and to foster the STEM interests of Boys & Girls Club youth." Carolyn Mentesana, executive director of Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, said the organization sees the grant as a perfect opportunity to help two great programs which are joining together to boost STEM education.

"All of us at the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation are delighted to support this innovative venture and to acknowledge the powerful partnership between the UTeach Arlington program and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington to help recruit and support UTA math, science and computer science majors that are pursuing secondary teacher certification while serving Club youth in an after-school STEM program," Mentesana said. "We hope our grant provides the financial support to ensure the project's goals to further increase the number of secondary STEM teachers produced at UTA and to foster the STEM interests of Boys & Girls Club youth are fully achieved."

The Arlington Boys & Girls Club STEM Education Program promotes interest in and awareness of STEM among minority students, who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. The organization provides free access to its STEM programming to all members ages 5-18. The STEM programming is offered as part of the organization's after-school program rotation, which provides low-cost membership and transportation from eight area schools.

"We are so excited to share with others this awesome partnership," said Jean Goodwin-Grisham, senior director of Programs & Outcomes, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County. "The program is starting to find its 'groove' at our sites and from what I am hearing from staff, both the UTeach interns and Boys & Girls Club youth are learning a lot."

The project is taking place at four Arlington Boys & Girls Club locations during the 2018-19 school year. It is serving approximately 60 youths in grades 3-8 at each site for a total of up to 480 children over the course of the year. The project is also supporting eight UTeach Arlington students per semester who receive two weeks of training and then serve 10 weeks per semester as interns working with the youth.

A UTeach Arlington Master Teacher is developing the program curriculum in collaboration with Boys & Girls Club of Arlington to correlate with the Arlington Independent School District science and math scope and sequence. Youth participating in the program are required to submit transcripts at admission and report cards while in the program so that progress in science and math courses can be tracked.

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UTeach Arlington is a science and mathematics secondary teacher preparation program which was launched at UTA in the fall of 2010. It had its first graduating class in the spring of 2014; since then more than 160 students have completed the program, most of whom are currently teaching in D-FW secondary schools. Students are able to earn a rigorous bachelor's degree in math or science along with secondary teacher certification within a 4-year timeframe, providing them more career options after graduation.

UTeach Arlington features early field experiences in K-12 schools, the use of experienced Master Teachers as instructors, mentor teachers in local school districts, and development of teacher candidates' content knowledge and effective teaching techniques.

- Written by Greg Pederson

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