New Mexico is in dire need of qualified math and science teachers in all districts throughout the state. Not only is the need great in New Mexico, but also across the United States. To help address the need, the College of Education at the University of New Mexico has developed and implemented a new teacher preparation program, Accelerated Alternative Licensure Program (AALP), designed to help meet that need.
The collaboration with the Albuquerque Public Schools and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, funded by the New Mexico Department of Education, will recruit highly motivated STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals and veterans into the middle and secondary education to become licensed teachers in the field of STEM education.
“This university/school partnership program, with Albuquerque Public Schools and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, will begin to address the teacher shortage in the field of science and mathematics at the middle and high school level,” said Professor and PNM Endowed Chair in Education Vi Florez.
This one-year program, initiated by the Public Education Department, was designed to look at high need areas in New Mexico public schools. It begins with its first cohort in January 2015. The program has an intensive field component, supported by course work, and intense mentoring and supervision from faculty in the COE and master teachers from the Albuquerque Public School who will serve as partners with this initiative.
Students admitted will begin in the spring and will be placed with a math and science teacher, similar to a co-teaching type of model where they will immediately begin teaching in the spring and fall semester and take courses in the summer.
“What’s unique about this program is that it’s recruiting professionals already in the fields of math and science,” Florez said. “Participants will already have a degree in the fields of math or science so they are professionals in their fields.”
Part of the program also involves embedding faculty from UNM in the classrooms and working with the schools. APS has designated supervisors working with these students where the field experiences and the supervision will definitely be more intensive.
“The students will be teaching, observing, working individually with students, working with a classroom teacher,” Florez said. “They really do become two teachers within the classroom. The student teachers will take courses in the spring, summer and the fall, which is actually their student teaching year, and they will finish in December. It really is an accelerated and very comprehensive program.”
Another interesting aspect about this program is that it is targeting veterans. Many veterans have a degree in math or science, but they’re not licensed Florez says. “If they would like to go into the teaching profession, then this is really an excellent program for them as well.”
The program offers scholarships to students for tuition, books, and fees; intensive field- experiences; master teacher supervision and mentoring; immediate participation as co-teachers; excellent content and curriculum preparation; mentoring and coaching during and after program completion; national/regional networking opportunities; and job placement in Albuquerque School District upon completion of AALP licensure program.
Students admitted into the AALP program will meet all requirements for admission into the University and the College of Education Secondary Education Program. Students will be interviewed and selected for participation in the program by college program faculty and APS educators participating with the AALP program. Additional cohorts are already being planned.