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CBS student Holly Koslowski (right) at Itasca this summer with her mentor Candida Braun, a biology teacher at Grand Rapids High School.

Training the next generation of biology teachers

From eNews, March 4, 2004

Holly Koslowski loves biology and wants to be a teacher. Last fall, the University of Minnesota senior got a taste of teaching high school biology through a new mentorship program that pairs University students with science teachers in northwestern Minnesota. "If you are interested in being a teacher, I cannot think of a better opportunity for you to get an idea of what it would be like," says Koslowski, who was paired with a teacher in Grand Rapids High School. In addition to learning about classroom management and preparing lessons, she learned "many little secrets to make my life as a teacher easier, such as manipulating the computerized grade book." The Science Education Partnership for Greater Minnesota stems from a conversation between College of Biological Sciences dean Robert Elde and Steven Yussen, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, about the large number of Minnesota middle and high school science teachers approaching retirement. The two began brainstorming ways to encourage a new generation to teach in this field, especially in smaller Minnesota towns. Need led to vision, vision--with input from educators and school administrators--led to a plan, and the plan led to a $1.7 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "For our undergraduate students, there's an opportunity to investigate a career," says program coordinator Ken Jeddeloh. "For the teachers, it's a real payoff to learn about cutting-edge biology content [from the students and the workshops we offer]. And for the school district, there's the chance to entice a student to be a teacher in their district." Last year, the program enrolled six students and an equal number of science teachers as their mentors. Next year, program developers hope to have twice as many pairs on board. To learn more about the Science Education Partnership for Greater Minnesota, see http://www.cbs.umn.edu/sepgm/RTAP.html.

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