Contact: Roy Summerford, 334-844-9999 (summero@auburn.edu)
David M. Granger, 334-844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)


AUBURN - Auburn University and Tuskegee University will send 13 graduate students into classrooms in five Lee and Macon county schools this fall to assist science and mathematics teachers.

The two universities will send the students into East Alabama schools through a partnership with Lee County Schools and Macon County Schools with support from a three-year, $2 million grant by the National Science Foundation.

Working with grades 9-12, the GK-12 Fellows in Science and Mathematics for Schools in East Alabama program will focus on Beauregard, Beulah and Loachapoka schools in Lee County and Booker T. Washington and Notasulga schools in Macon County.

The letters “GK-12” refer to graduate students, called “Fellows,” on the NSF fellowships and participating teachers in K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) school systems. GK-12 Fellows will take a course in pedagogy in the AU College of Education the summer before entering the classroom, and GK-12 Teachers will attend a two-week professional development workshop.

Jack Feminella and Anotida Madzvamuse at Auburn and Mohammed Qazi and Roberta Troy at Tuskegee University are co-principal investigators on the project. In AU’s College of Sciences and Mathematics, Feminella is an associate professor of biological sciences, and Madzvamuse is an assistant professor of mathematics and statistics.

Supervised by teachers at the participating Macon County and Lee County schools, the AU and Tuskegee graduate students will assist in laboratories, develop curriculum modules and design research activities and demonstrations.

Overtoun Jenda, AU associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs, said the graduate students will bring their scientific research experience to the schools, explain concepts to individual students, participate in after-school enrichment activities, serve as mentors and role models for students and assist teachers with related duties.

“Many times teachers have heavy teaching loads and cannot provide as much individual attention to each student as they would like during a problem-solving session,” said Jenda, the GK-12 project director. “The GK-12 Program will give teachers a rare opportunity to provide individual attention to each student and present the opportunity for students in general to receive more high-quality, one-on-one instruction. Teachers will now have much-needed help in utilizing more challenging science and mathematics instructional strategies.”

Jenda said the graduate students will gain teaching experience to complement their research, and the participating teachers will learn more about the subject matter as they participate in workshops and work with the graduate fellows.

Students in the participating Macon and Lee County schools will be the program’s primary beneficiaries, Jenda said.

“Benefits to the students will include better knowledge of subject matter and, hence, better academic performance on ACT, SAT and high school graduation exams in sciences and mathematics.”

Auburn University is a preeminent land-grant and comprehensive research institution with more than 23,000 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama’s largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.

(Contributed by Roy Summerford.)

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