The Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers is a five-year award available to outstanding science and/or mathematics teachers in the North Carolina public primary and secondary schools. The purpose of this award is to recognize teachers who have demonstrated solid knowledge of science and/or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children. This five-year award presents opportunities for professional development and collaboration with other master science and/or mathematics teachers who will help to ensure their success as teachers and their satisfaction with the field of teaching. Special consideration will be given to teachers working in hard-to-staff, economically deprived classrooms in North Carolina. The award also offers schools and school districts the opportunity to fully develop teachers as leaders in the field.
Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers provide $175,000 over a period of five years ($35,000 per year) to eligible teachers in the North Carolina public school system. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) will support up to six awards with annual installments as allocated below.
• $10,000 stipend will be provided to the school district to supplement the teacher’s annual salary or for fringe benefits, such as retirement or insurance. (In most instances, taxes and benefits will be deducted from the stipend by the school district.)
• $5,000 will be held annually by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to be given to the teacher at the end of the five-year award, if the teaching professional remains in the K-12 classroom in a North Carolina public school.
• The State Board of Education will provide extra salary support to ensure that award recipients will receive a 12-month contract. The Department of Public Instruction will send these funds to the appropriate LEA beginning July 1 of each year.
School or School District
• $10,000 will be provided to purchase needed equipment and supplies for the teacher’s classroom or laboratory or may be designated by the teacher to be shared with the school or school district.
• $10,000 will be provided for professional development activities, travel and registration to meetings or conferences, hiring substitutes, networking with colleagues, and capacity building for the teacher or may be designated by the teacher to support a team of teachers.
The award is flexible in allowing teachers to reach beyond their school to build stronger learning communities within the district or region, stimulate collective learning among teacher teams, and develop strategies to build their own capacity as teaching professionals.
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the State Board of Education recognizes that improving science and mathematics education in North Carolina will require systemic reform of K-12 instruction. Essential components of improving students’ abilities to understand science and mathematics subjects are to produce and reward a cadre of well-prepared teachers who have both content knowledge and the pedagogical skills to serve as change agents for the state and to make a difference in the lives students by awakening their passion for these subjects. The largest hurdle in accomplishing these goals has been a disproportionately severe shortage of teachers in science and mathematics (even beyond North Carolina’s ongoing teacher shortage). Just 12 percent of the University of North Carolina system’s 4,003 newly-prepared teachers in recent years were certified in science and mathematics.