An $8 million U.S. Department of Education grant will create a site-based teacher program that will ultimately put 60 highly qualified math and science teachers in Central Louisiana high schools within five years.
The Central Louisiana Academic Residency for Teachers, called CART, will take qualified college graduates and pay their tuition as they pursue a Master of Natural Science degree. In turn, the residents will teach in Central Louisiana high schools as part of their graduate studies, and for another three years after they receive their diploma.
The Rapides Foundation conceptualized the CART project to help Central Louisiana school districts with limited resources offer rigorous education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
It approached LSU, which officially submitted the $8 million federal Teacher Quality Partnership grant that will fund the project. The Rapides Foundation’s partners in this five-year endeavor are The Orchard Foundation, LSU, LSU Alexandria and the public Central Louisiana school districts of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes.
The CART program is designed to increase student achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, in Central Louisiana high schools by improving the quality and quantity of perspective new teachers.
“Research has proven that a strong background in STEM fields leads to more opportunities for our students,” said Joe Rosier, president and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. ”Our foundation maintains a strong commitment to improving the lives of the people in Cenla, and building a better educational system for our youth builds a more solid foundation for the future of this area.”
CART residents will work in Central Louisiana schools while they pursue their master’s degrees, awarded from LSU. They will teach for three years in their assigned districts after they receive their diplomas.
The first CART class will consist of 15 residents this summer. An additional 15 residents will be added each year for a total of 60.
Residents will co‐teach with a highly qualified mentor teacher for one year. They will attend LSU for six weeks during the first and second summers of the residency year. Their tuition, room and board will be paid for. They also will be provided a $35,000 stipend for the one-year residency period. Residents will co-teach Mondays through Fridays and attend professional development each Friday to satisfy their master’s and alternative certification requirements.
Fifteen schools have been designated as host sites for the CART teachers. The schools are Oakdale High in Allen Parish; Avoyelles and Marksville high schools in Avoyelles; Block High in Catahoula; Montgomery High in Grant; LaSalle High in LaSalle; Bolton, Northwood, Peabody Magnet and Tioga high schools in Rapides; Lakeview and Natchitoches Central high schools in Natchitoches; Hornbeck and Rosepine high schools in Vernon Parish; and Winnfield Senior in Winn Parish.
Candidates can be recent college graduates or mid-career changers. They must hold an undergraduate degree in science, mathematics, engineering or a related field with 18 hours math or science content, earned a 3.0+ GPA, possess the qualities needed to teach effectively, and be willing to reside and teach in Central Louisiana for a minimum of three years.
Potential residents will undergo a comprehensive screening process involving all partners prior to selection.
For more information about the CART eligibility requirements, call The Orchard Foundation at 318-767-6561.