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Conference: "Preparing Virginia's K-8 Teachers in Math and Science"

Feb. 26, 1999 -- More than 200 college faculty members from around Virginia will gather in Charlottesville, March 5-6, to discuss the math and science courses needed for the state's new licensing requirements for K-8 teachers.

Along with raising the academic expectations for students under the new and demanding Standards of Learning (SOLs), Virginia lawmakers also have tightened the state accreditation standards for institutions of higher learning and created tougher teacher licensing standards for core courses, including math and science. These new licensing standards pose challenges to students desiring to be teachers as well as to faculty members at Virginia's colleges and universities who are training the next generation of teachers.

Stephen Thornton, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia, who is organizing the conference with U.Va.'s Center for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education, believes time is short to put the needed changes in place by the fall of 2000, when the new licensing requirements take effect for entering college freshmen. "The content requirement will be much higher. Teachers will need much more in-depth knowledge of their subjects than they do now in order to meet the teacher competencies established by the state of Virginia," Thornton said. "It is likely that new interdisciplinary programs and degrees will be needed to train teachers for grades K-8."

The goal of the conference is to outline the issues and discuss potential approaches, including highlighting schools that have successful courses and programs already in place. An agenda for the conference follows.

Besides the University of Virginia, the conference is supported by the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition, the Virginia Collaboration for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers, and the Eisenhower Regional Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education at AEL (Appalachian Education Laboratory).

Reporters are invited to cover any of the sessions, which are not open to the public. They are welcome to attend the dinner at Newcomb Hall Ballroom at 7 p.m. on Friday evening, but are asked to reserve a seat by calling Stephen Thornton by noon on March 3.

For more information, call Stephen Thornton at (804) 924-6808.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Top news site edited by Jane Ford (jford@virginia.edu); maintained by Karen Asher (kac@virginia.edu); releases posted by Suzanne Raileanu (sr3r@virginia.edu).
Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-Jun-1999 11:57:59 EDT
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