The California Mathematics Project Supporting Teachers to Increase Retention (CMP STIR) is a project funded by the California Postsecondary Education Commission Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) grant. Many national and state reports cite a dangerous fact: neither the state nor the nation have enough qualified mathematics and science teachers. In fact, a report from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing shows that California’s demand for qualified STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teachers exceeds the supply by many thousands of teachers each year. One solution-California’s Science-Mathematics Initiative-commits the University of California and California State University to train 1,500 new STEM teachers annually. The ITQ Science and Mathematics Teacher Retention Initiative (Winter 2006) sought to increase STEM teacher numbers by employing a different strategy: using quality professional development programs to reduce teacher attrition.
In Fall 2006, CMP STIR as the master grantee held an internal competition and awarded 10 out its 19 regional sites with subgrants to provide a coherent and comprehensive induction and/or support program for new teachers or teachers in hard-to-staff schools. Each CMP STIR site provided intensive development (PD) (15 days) and systematic and sustained support for teachers (5 days) at the school site (e.g., administrative support, mentoring and coaching, Lesson Study, school site networking, data reflection, or access to resources) for at least 27 teachers (retention cohort) in the first three project years. In 2010-2011, the fourth project year, the sites focused on increasing leadership roles and/or education advancement of the retention cohort and provided PD for 10 additional teachers. In year 5, another 10 teachers at each site will be provided PD focusing on teacher retention. On March 22-24, 2012, CMP STIR plans to hold the Mathematics Teacher Retention Symposium gearing toward audience nationwide to address the teacher retention issue on a national scale and to disseminate the findings of CMP STIR.