New awards connect higher education and K-12 classrooms

October 24, 1999

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made a first round of grants to researchers at 31 institutions nationwide under an innovative educational program enabling talented graduate students and advanced undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering and technology to serve as teaching fellows in K-12 schools.

The grants, made under the NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) program, will go to institutions in 24 states from New York to Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico. The multi-year awards were made after reviewing proposals from 157 institutions in 46 states. Collectively, the 31 new grants, totaling $13.4 million for the first year, will fund about 300 graduate and 100 undergraduate students annually. Planned as a pilot effort in1999, the program received such a positive response from colleges and universities that NSF allocated more funds than originally planned.

A formal program was requested and approved by Congress as part of NSF's 2000 budget.

"The GK-12 program will boost the content of elementary and secondary education and the quality of graduate and undergraduate education at the same time," Rita Colwell, NSF director said recently to the GK-12 review panel. "This is a very practical approach: graduate and advanced undergraduate students will get direct classroom experience; young scientists will get involved in the educational process at an early stage in their careers; and the program gives recognition to teaching in a scientific career."

Colwell said that the collaboration between universities and local school districts will strengthen relationships between universities and communities, and the balance of give-and-take between all educational levels gives the program promise of "a classic win-win."

Graduate students in the GK-12 program will receive annual stipends of $18,000, plus a cost-of-education allowance. Undergraduate students will receive as much as $5,000 per academic year, plus up to an additional $5,000 for service in the summer.

Academic institutions that offer graduate degrees in science, mathematics, engineering and technology can apply for two-to three-year awards ranging from $200,000 up to $500,000 per year. The institutions are responsible for selecting the teaching fellows.
Attachment: List of GK-12 awards.


National Science Foundation

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