LeoTeach, Educate to Innovate

By: Bailey Phillips

According to the National Math & Science Initiative (NMS), experts estimate that our country will need 100,000 more math and science teachers by 2020. The LeoTeach program at A&M-Commerce provides students with an enticing opportunity to answer the urgent call and is devoted to recruiting, developing and retaining a new generation of secondary mathematics and science teachers. LeoTeach features early field experience in K-12 schools and guidance from Master Teachers for students studying in those critical STEM-area fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) who are willing to give teaching a try. LeoTeach aims to produce teachers who are more confident and competent in their subject matter and who want to stay in the classroom.

The innovative LeoTeach program is a collaborative effort between the university’s Curriculum & Instruction department and the College of Science, Engineering, and Agriculture (CoSEA), and is led by a council made of members from science and education departments. The council meets monthly and is dedicated to the program’s success and also generating unprecedented support from academic, corporate, philanthropic, and policymaker communities. Through LeoTeach, partnerships are also being created with local school districts, providing students with intensive field experiences in their first year of the program and providing school districts with fresh talent and perspectives. According to Dr. Carole Walker in the Curriculum & Instruction department, LeoTeach inspires students to teach by encouraging them to reflect on their own learning experiences. “Think about the best teacher you ever had. What did they do that was good? Does everyone deserve that kind of teacher? Could you be that teacher?”

The new global economy demands a workforce made up of problem solvers, innovators, and inventors who are self-reliant and able to think logically. “LeoTeach is an initiative to recruit and prepare STEM teachers to encourage sophisticated thinking in K-12 classrooms and focus on designing a more individualized “learning platform” approach. Our goal is to support today’s teachers in designing instruction in K-12 classrooms that will lead learners to have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they’ll need for tomorrow’s careers in the STEM fields.” -Dr. Martha Foote, Curriculum & Instruction Department Chair.

“There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” — George Washington, address to Congress, Jan. 8, 1790. Help our student’s fix the nation’s math and science education deficit with your gift today. For more information, contact LeoTEACH advisor Donna Tavener at [email protected] or call 903.886.5505.