Berkshire Community College (BCC) will host a STEM Starter Academy and new MassTeach program Open House on Monday, October 22 at 6:00 PM in room G-12 off of the cafeteria on its main campus.
STEM Starter Academy is an exciting statewide Massachusetts Community College Initiative funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education that is designed to promote STEM fields of study. The Academy provides an amazing opportunity for promising incoming college students to explore cutting-edge careers, gain college classroom experience, and focus on important success skills in a supportive environment.
STEM Starter Academy is a great place for students entering college to learn more about the STEM fields they’ll be studying and join a cohort of their peers in similar fields. This program helps prepare students to transition on to four-year schools and get themselves ready for the many available STEM related career fields available.
The MassTeach program is a new model for increasing and diversifying the ranks of educators who are prepared to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in high-need school districts. The program is funded with $1.5 million through the National Science Foundation’s Robert F. Noyce Scholarship fund and was awarded to the MA Department of Higher Education. It is the first of its kind awarded to a state higher education system and will be used to simultaneously address two critical issues: the overall shortage of trained and licensed STEM instructors and the lack of under-represented minorities currently teaching in the Commonwealth’s K12 classrooms.
The new program, intended to be both sustainable and scalable, will utilize “A2B” (Associate to Bachelor’s) degree pathways that are part of the statewide MassTransfer system. MassTransfer allows students to begin their undergraduate education at one of the state’s community colleges and then transfer to any state university at a substantial cost savings and without a loss of credit.
The MassTeach Scholars will receive $20,000 scholarships as well as academic advising to keep them on track to transfer, graduate with a STEM degree and obtain a STEM teaching license. By drawing from the highly diverse community college population, MassTeach will cultivate a culturally rich pool of potential educators who are often the first in their family to attend college and likely to reside in economically disadvantaged districts where the need for qualified and diversified STEM instructors is most acute.
BCC is excited to be offering its students a chance to take advantage of the newly created MassTeach program. A $20,000 stipend will help reduce these costs for our future, more diverse teachers across the Commonwealth, and it will also help incentivize the transition to four year schools for our current community college students.
BCC, MCLA and the Pittsfield Public Schools are one of the three regional partnership team pilots for this funding. Many of the students who will be recruited to take advantage of the MassTeach program will also already have prepared through the STEM Starter Academy.