HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) — Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) has awarded Fort Hays State University (FHSU) with a $1.2 million federal grant to recruit and prepare Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) teachers to work in rural areas with a high need for STEM educators.

“Effective and passionate teachers play an important role in inspiring young people to pursue careers in STEM, and these fields are critical to American competitiveness on the global stage,” Moran said in a news release. “This federal grant will increase the number of science teachers equipped to teach in Kansas’ rural school districts while also contributing to national research on how to better train STEM educators to serve in rural America.”

The Science Teachers for Rural America: Post-Baccalaureate STEM Teacher Licensure Project aims to address the challenges that rural STEM teachers face by helping prepare them with the following four goals:

  1. The project will recruit, provide scholarships, and prepare thirty STEM majors
  2. Place new teachers in rural schools and implement an online mentorship program to assist in retention
  3. Project team members will engage a feeback process aimed at program improvement
  4. Explore models and develop a model for high quality rural science teacher preperation
    • Models will include context with an emphasis on rural settings, cirriculum with place-based pedagogies, and conveyance that will feature in-person and online access to teacher prep programs

According to the grants website, the prospective teachers will also complete a one-year post-bachelor program to prepare them to teach in high-need school districts.

The grant is funded by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program. March 15 is the designated start date, with an estimated end date of Feb. 28, 2027.

This project at FHSU includes partnerships with the Southwest Plains Regional Service Center at Sublette, Deerfield High School and Deerfield School District (USD 216), along with Dighton School District (USD 482).

“I have a been a longtime supporter of STEM education, and this federal grant will contribute to making certain more of our next generation of engineers, scientists, and technology professionals call rural Kansas home,” said Moran.