Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program has been selected as a collaborative partner by Math for America, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in the nation’s public schools. As part of the new partnership, eight members of MAT’s incoming 2006-2007 class have been awarded Math for America Newton Fellowships. The fellowships consist of full-tuition scholarships for the one-year MAT program and a $90,000 stipend that each recipient will receive over five years. Newton Fellows also receive ongoing support, such as mentoring and professional development. Bard joins New York University and Teachers College of Columbia University as one of only three partner sites. Math for America began its efforts in New York City, and Bard’s Newton Fellows are committed to teaching there for the duration of their fellowships. “The ideas that the Bard program has about thinking and learning in the disciplines is, from a philosophical viewpoint, exactly what Math for America is all about,” said Dawn Techow, associate director for Math for America, who also credited the MAT Program for being flexible and introspective. Ric Campbell, director of the MAT Program, said Bard’s program is uniquely structured to integrate the field of education and the field of mathematics because, for two quarters of the year, students are equally immersed in intensive graduate studies in both areas—two mathematics courses and two education courses in each of those quarters, and a fifth course or lab that is cotaught by a mathematics professor and an education professor. -continued- “The lab class engages students to think about both disciplines at once,” Campbell said. “What is mathematics about? What is my own learning as a mathematician about? How does that translate into structuring learning experiences for my students? These are all important questions that our math students tangle with as they go through the program.” Math for America’s long-term goal is to place more than 180 outstanding teachers in New York City classrooms by 2009 and ultimately create a national program based on the New York City model. This goal forges another strong connection with Bard’s MAT Program, which already has research and training partnerships established with a cluster of five innovative New York City public schools: Bard is currently running an institute in mathematics, in which 15 teachers, three from each of these five schools, meet for a full day once a month with MAT mathematics education professor Kelly Gaddis. The teachers also come up to Bard for a week in the summer and continue to work through the following year. The institute is an 18-month project that focuses the teaching of mathematics on a problem-based curriculum. Math for America has also started a Newton Master Teacher program, which recognizes exceptional mathematics educators in New York City. Master Teachers are awarded a $50,000 stipend over a four-year period, participate in professional development with other experienced teachers, mentor Newton Fellows, and conduct math content workshops for math teachers. Math for America was founded in 2004 to address issues related to poor achievement in mathematics in America, compared to the rest of the industrialized world. The organization focuses on finding and keeping good teachers who know their subject and have the skills to teach math. The Newton Fellowship Program takes a "recruit, train, and retain" strategy: through which it gathers mathematically talented candidates, trains them in sound pedagogy before entrusting them with their own classrooms, and attempts to keep these able and well-prepared teachers through substantial support and financial rewards during their first years in the classroom. The organization believes that only solid knowledge of math content, taught by mathematics professors, combined with strong pedagogical preparation, can create outstanding math teachers—a formula nearly identical to Bard's. Math for America expects that, by offering financial incentives and collegial support, the program will attract a cadre of committed math teachers who can prepare young people for a knowledge-based economy. Math for America's long-term goal is to help create a federal initiative that puts money and time into creating better math and science teachers. In February, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Rep. Jim Saxton introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate and House to create a fellowship program to "recruit, train, and retain outstanding math and science teachers." Described as the Math Science Teaching Corps, the bill directly credits Math for America's start-up program in New York City as its model. Bard’s Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program, which takes a year for students to complete, was established in 2003 to address critical issues in the training of teachers of grades 7–12. The program emphasizes subject-matter mastery for teachers, integrated clinical training, and the ability of new teachers to advance and implement innovative teaching methods in the classroom. Many secondary -continued- school teachers in the United States do not hold an undergraduate degree in the subject they teach, and rarely in the course of their training are prospective teachers asked to integrate subject matter and pedagogy courses in a clinically meaningful way, or to research and practice new approaches to teaching. The MAT Program builds on Bard’s long history of innovation in education, from its Institute for Writing and Thinking teacher-training programs to the groundbreaking Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) in New York City. The core of Bard’s yearlong MAT Program is an integrated curriculum leading to a master of arts degree and teaching certificate in adolescent education in one of four subject areas: English, mathematics, biology, or history. In future years the program will be expanded to include certification in other fields, including art, physics, chemistry, foreign languages, and music. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in liberal arts with a major in the elective discipline. Bard MAT students are required to complete four graduate level courses in their elective discipline, while taking education courses that challenge them to apply the results of research and pedagogical analysis to classroom teaching. In each phase of their MAT experience, students must pursue a research question that engages them in the kind of reflective practice that is essential to teaching effectively and growing professionally. Linked to advanced study in their field, the education curriculum helps MAT students to consider how they learn, and how alternative approaches to teaching and learning provide broader access to academic competence. Throughout the 12-month program, all courses are closely integrated with teaching experiences, beginning in the summer as tutors, followed by extensive field experience. Bard has partnerships with mentor teachers in local public school districts, including Red Hook, Chatham, Onteora, Poughkeepsie, and Kingston, as well as six Autonomous Zone schools—a group of experimental public middle and high schools in New York City. Unique to this program, the MAT mentor teachers in the public schools are active partners for school change, engaging in their own classroom research as part of their sustained involvement with the MAT Program. Through a grant from The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, the MAT Program offers full fellowships to select students who are committed to working in New York City public high schools. The Petrie fellowships are part of the MAT Program’s research and training partnerships with New York City public schools. Petrie fellows must commit to work in New York City public high schools for five years after graduating from the MAT Program. In addition, the program offers fellowships to returning Peace Corps volunteers. For more information on the MAT Program’s partnership with Math for America, please call Cecilia Maple at 845-758-7145 or e-mail Prospective MAT applicants should contact Ric Campbell at 845-758-7145 or for information and application materials. Visit the Bard College MAT Program website at # # # (6/15/06)


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This event was last updated on 09-12-2006