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NMSI Announces $6.1 Million Grant to Expand Training, Support to Atlanta-Area Teachers

The National Math and Science Initiative has secured a $6.1 million grant to train and drive retention of outstanding math, science and English teachers in two of Georgia’s largest school districts.

NMSI board member and incoming CEO Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. is set to announce the Department of Education SEED grant on Thursday at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, where NMSI will celebrate its 10th anniversary and unveil a five-year plan to dramatically increase the number of students, teachers and schools it serves across the country. The NMSI Next strategy is aimed at helping all students reach their highest potentials, driving community level benefits and eliminating STEM Deserts.

“We’ve seen the tremendous impact that well-trained and supported teachers have on their schools and, most importantly, the benefit they provide their students,” said Harris, a medical doctor and a history-making NASA astronaut. “We’ve been honored to serve more than 2 million students, 50,000 teachers and thousands of schools, and we look forward to expanding our work in the DeKalb and Clayton County public school systems.”
NMSI announced a campaign in November to eradicate STEM Deserts, where students have no access to advanced math and science education in high school. NMSI believes the country’s knowledge-based economy makes STEM education imperative, regardless of a student’s career aspirations.

“STEM Deserts limit students by denying them critical skills and exposure to STEM-based career opportunities,” Harris said. “That’s a disservice to them and to our country’s economy and security.”

The U.S. Department of Education SEED grant will fund NMSI’s College Readiness Program. Through the program, NMSI works with administrators to set and support campus, course and class goals for access and achievement, particularly among traditionally under-served student populations. The Dallas-based nonprofit also provides unique training for AP and non-AP teachers, as well as mentoring opportunities and classroom and lab resources. 

Students who take AP math, science and English in the program schools have access to 36 additional hours of study time each school year with additional teachers who have track records of preparing students for success on the AP exams. Those teachers model different instructional methods for teachers in the program.

The DeKalb County school system has 22 high schools and 6,600 total teachers; Clayton County has 11 high schools and more than 3,400 teachers. NMSI expects to work with administrators, teachers and students at roughly 20 of those campuses. Five Atlanta public schools are in the College Readiness Program through a separate Department of Education grant and five of Georgia’s military-connected schools participate through Department of Defense and defense contractor funding.

“We are increasing teacher satisfaction and effectiveness, transforming the culture of schools to include high expectations for all students and changing the trajectory of life for students,” Harris said.