Innovative non-profit taps knowledge of Retirees for future generations
EnCorps Addresses Math/Science Disparity; Begins 2010 Teacher Recruitment
San Francisco California, Oct.28, 2009 – Today EnCorps, a non-profit organization that recruits retiring math, science, and technology professionals to teach at California’s under-resourced public high schools, begins its 2010 recruitment season. Recently released national test scores place California near the bottom in science and math education. In light of these scores and consistent research demonstrating teacher quality as the most important factor in student achievement, radical new thinking is needed to improve math and science teaching. EnCorps tackles this crisis in California public education, by tapping the knowledge of experienced math and science professionals to teach a new generation. In 2009, EnCorps attracted over 1,100 applicants and recruited over 100 math and science professionals. The organization plans to recruit 200 new teachers for fall of 2010.
According to a 2007 study by the National Assessment of Education Progress, California ranks 45th for 8th Grad Math and 42nd in 8th grade science. Low-income students particularly struggle, with only 12% testing proficient or above in 8th grade math. Furthermore, only seven out of ten California high school students graduate in four years and of those only 25% are college-ready according to University of California standards.
EnCorps addresses these disparities by attracting individuals with a dramatically different perspective of math and science connections in the real world—professionals with math and science expertise. EnCorps believes mathematicians, scientists, engineers and technology experts with years of applied knowledge have unique abilities to show kids how their fields work and inspire them pursue similar careers. With the help of EnCorps, professionals can become teachers in as little as a year. EnCorps also provides assistance, support and mentoring to these new teachers for the first two years of their teaching careers.
"In these difficult economic times, California has an even greater responsibility to provide core math and science skills to students who are most neglected," said Jennifer Anastasoff, founding CEO of EnCorps. "Many students don’t realize that applied math and science careers, like engineering, pay good salaries and are viable options for them. Teachers recruited by EnCorps can open up a whole new future to California students they might not have considered. Forty years ago, kids watched Americans land on the moon and were inspired. We want to rekindle that intense inspiration in a new generation with the help of those motivated by the moon landing to bring about the technology revolution we have seen since the moon landing."
Among the professionals EnCorps has recruited is Sharon White. Sharon grew up in Compton, California in a low income household. After graduating college she went on to work for Boeing for thirty years in a variety of fields including finance and engineering. Crediting her success to the encouragement and support she received from others, Sharon wanted to "pay forward" her gratitude: "To pay them back I had to ‘pay it forward’ give unto others what had been given to me…So, I paid off everything I could, so I could afford to retire and now I have the opportunity to teach." Sharon is currently a full time Math teacher at Locke High School in LA.
Beth Keer, another EnCorps recruit, worked at HP for 20 years in a variety of technical and supervisory positions, including a role in the launch of a new computer science research center in St. Petersburg Russia. After retiring from HP, Beth began volunteering at her local Elementary School where she developed a program with the computer lab administrator to link science and computer lab curriculum for 4th and 5th graders. With the support of EnCorps, Beth is now in a teacher credentialing program at Mills College, preparing take the science CSET and plans to become a middle school science teacher.
"Every student, no matter their circumstances deserves a high quality education and nothing is more important to providing high quality education than having strong teachers in the classroom," says Ted Mitchell, Chair of the California Board of Education. "With the help of EnCorps, impassioned professionals are finding a new calling in education and are now empowering youth to achieve in math and science. These teachers are tremendous assets to our schools and communities."
EnCorps was developed with guidance of the Governor’s Committee on Educational Excellence. To learn more about EnCorps visit http://www.EnCorpsTeachers.org/