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Monday, September 25, 2023


Program trains math teachers

The National Math and Science Initiative has recently invited UH, along with 29 other higher education institutions nationwide to counter the current trends in the declining number of qualified math and science teachers.

NMSI is attempting to replicate UTeach, a mathematics and science training program for teachers established at the University of Texas in Austin. UH is currently a potential candidate to receive a $2.4 million grant to be awarded by NMSI.

"If we are funded, we will welcome the influx of money and all of the benefits that it will ultimately give our students," Chair of the Department of Mathematics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Jeff Morgan said.

The College of Education has partnered with the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to counter the demand of qualified math and science teachers at the local level with a program called Teach Houston founded during spring 2007.

The program offers freshman and sophomore math or science majors an opportunity to also earn a teaching certificate within four years by providing hands-on experience.

"Every school district in the greater Houston area is in need of more math and science teachers, and so the College of Education and the College of Natural Sciences have joined forces to try and respond to that need," Education Associate Professor Susan Williams said.

Spring 2007 was the first time the College of Education and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics have joined together to begin Teach Houston, with 14 students participating. The amount of students is expected to increase to 25 per semester, said Williams.

Students earning a teaching certificate in their field of interest will also have an opportunity to go out to classrooms in elementary, secondary and high schools as a way to give real world experience.

Among the first chosen to participate in Teach Houston, Williams, a master teacher in the program, assigns participating students to local area schools, recruits students to the program and teaches introductory courses required.

This past spring semester Williams worked closely with schools such as Buffalo Creek Elementary.

Valerie Johnson, the school’s principle, said UH students involved in Teach Houston are given an opportunity to discover if teaching is the career path they would want to pursue.

"It always benefits the kids in the classroom if someone is very prepared and excited, and it’s something new for them," Johnson said.

When teachers in the K-12 grade levels leave or retire from their professions, the National Center for Education Statisics estimates that between 1.7 and 2.7 million positions must be filled, leaving 200,000 of them in secondary math and science areas.

"I am confident that Teach Houston will eventually have a significant impact on the quantity and quality of math and science teachers that UH produces for K-12," Morgan said.

"Regardless of the outcome, we are committed to the Teach Houston program and our partnerships with the local school districts," Morgan said.

Students concentrating on earning math or science degrees and are interested in a teaching career can apply online at

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