Grant for teachers dedicated to Valley

The Merced City School District is one of several set to benefit from "Teachers from the Valley for the Valley," a new grant program offered by Cal State University, Stanislaus.

The university has been awarded an $896,000 National Science Foundation grant that will provide scholarships, starting this fall, for future teachers in the Central Valley and the rest of the state.

CSU Stanislaus plans to award scholarships of up to $30,000 each over the next five years to 34 students who plan to teach science or mathematics at "high-need" secondary schools.

Additional $10,000 annual scholarships from the NSF grant can be awarded during students' junior, senior and credentialing years.

In return, the scholarship recipients must commit to teaching a minimum of two years at the seventh through 12th grade at a "high needs" school.

Such schools typically have a high percentage of students from low-income families, high teacher turnover rates and a shortage of teachers qualified to teach science and mathematics.

At MCSD, 74 percent of children qualify for free or reduced-fee lunches, one of the most common ways to calculate need in schools.

The program is part of the CSU system's STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Initiative. Other school districts and agencies participating in the grant include the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Stockton Unified School District, Modesto City Schools, Lodi Unified School District, and the AVID Delta Sierra Region VI program.

-- Danielle Gaines