We are pleased to highlight Noyce alumni who are making a difference in high-need schools. If you would like to recommend an alumni from a Noyce program, please contact Betty Calinger, email@example.com.
South Hills Middle School, Twin Falls, ID; Earth Science (6th grade) and Life Science (7th grade)
In the SWARMS program, we learned to build a student-centered classroom and to reflect on how best to address student diversity. Reflection is key. I try to be open and responsive to all of my students, inviting them to share their culture with one another. Middle school can be a hard place because students do not want to be different or stand out, however, if someone helps them realize that their difference makes them special, this can change their perspective. I try to help them see they are special in a multitude of ways. It’s not always easy, being open has also meant that sometimes I have to challenge my own beliefs and biases. Students in middle school want to learn from someone who makes them feel special. They want to live up to the positive expectations that you have and thrive on positive attention.
Barbara Jordan High School for Careers, Houston, TX; Engineering Math (12th grade) and Geometry (11th grade)
This school year, I am teaching Engineering Math to 12th graders and Geometry to 11th graders at the Barbara Jordan H.S. for Careers. The campus serves 9 Title I high schools in the Houston Independent School District. Students can become certified in specific programs by the time they graduate. The programs include Child Development, Culinary Arts, Marketing Entrepreneurship, Process Technology, Automotive, Welding, Cosmetology, Auto Tech, Health Science, and Government and Diplomacy. Since my students can be in any of these programs, I try to include mathematical examples that are relevant to their fields of study. This year I have learned a lot (and still learning) about teaching virtually and trying to include the enrichment that goes with hands-on learning.
Brainerd High School, Hamilton County (TN) School District; Algebra II, State Dual Credit Pre-calculus
My Noyce program sponsored a professional development opportunity where we discussed meeting students where they are and the importance of being an informed teacher. Many of my students have experienced unbelievable trauma in their lives; many have difficulty expressing themselves. Learning about de-escalation techniques was extremely helpful. I learned to address the root of the emotion rather than the behavior. I learned that many of my students acted out not as a way to make my life difficult, but because they had a hard time coping with other events in their life. Learning how to meet the emotional needs of kids helped me to have better relationships with them and to spend less time correcting behavior and more time teaching.
Hoboken High School, Hoboken, NJ; Biomedical Sciences, grades 9-12
The biggest lesson the teaching program taught me was to make the classroom have the feeling of a community—like a home. Students should feel a sense of responsibility toward each other and to the overall progress of the classroom. By accomplishing individual tasks, the students can experience community, interdependence, group work, and cooperation which will carry over to other aspects of practical living. I believe the key words for describing student tasks are “important” and “constructive.” Students should know whether their actions and opinions impact the classroom or not. Students must be given enough responsibility and see that they are a vital part of the classroom “body.”
Cypress Ridge High School, Cypress-Fairbanks I.S.D, Houston TX; Biology and Biology for ESL students
When teaching in a cross-cultural setting, it is imperative to learn about students: who are they, how do I pronounce their names correctly (apologizing when I mispronounce it the first time and practice to get their name right next time), what are their strengths, what experiences do they bring to my class, how am I going to help all students to learn this content, and other information that helps me to understand the social emotional aspect of my students. In order to ensure that all my students learn, the foundations of learning are established in the first week--for me the most important week of the school year. During this time, my focus is on learning about my students and building relationships.
Baylor College of Medicine Biotech Academy at Rusk, Houston, TX, 7th Grade Scientific Decision-Making
I try to use what I have learned during the Noyce program in my classroom, in particular, those strategies gained during the meetings/trainings. They have been useful for engaging all students and getting everyone to participate in some way. One strategy I use quite often that I learned last summer is the 3-2-1 strategy. This usually comes at the end of a lesson or unit where the students write down three things they learned, two questions (or ideas) they still have, and one thing they are still wondering about. I love this strategy because it is a good way to see how the students felt about the lesson and to clear up any questions or misconceptions they might still have.
Booker T. Washington H.S., Norfolk, VA, Math Interventionist (Algebra 2 and Math Analysis)
Two courses were especially helpful at Virginia Tech. As an undergraduate, “Race, Class, and Gender” opened my eyes to how inequitable our public school system was and encouraged my desire to contribute to change. In graduate school, a course taught by Dr. Pitts Bannister, focused on diversity, forced me to productively struggle with how others see me, how I see others, and the significance of seeing, celebrating, and being able to support all students. The course instilled the importance of researching backgrounds and histories before making judgments.
Northeast Early College High School, Austin, TX, Introduction to Engineering Design, Engineering Design and Problem Solving
The Noyce program allowed me to focus my time on interning in engineering classrooms across several high schools. Gaining firsthand experience with not only the content I was interested in teaching, but also the students, prepared me for my teaching assignment. Engineering classrooms are different from other types of classes, and the students are as well. Our students who have elected to take part in a four-year engineering pathway are doing hands-on work and are in groups 90% of the time. They learn through their failures in a way that is unique to engineering -- not every class will allow you to break a bridge to learn about structural dynamics!
O'Donnell Middle School, Stoughton, MA, 8th grade mathematics and Algebra
My Noyce cohort had regular discussions about culturally responsive teaching; these discussions became more meaningful once I was in my own classroom. These opportunities for discussion and to remain connected with cohort members and the Noyce team continued after graduation. I am very fortunate to be able to participate in the Noyce Program Community of Practice at Stonehill College as a Noyce Scholar Graduate and then take “best practices” back to my own classroom.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, STEM Programs Manager, Young Scientists Program
Drs. Frederick Freking and Anthony Maddox were my science pedagogy professors during the USC Noyce program that awarded the MAT@USC to science majors. I learned about inquiry-based science instruction and flipping the classroom; I became more of a facilitator of science learning aka the “guide on the side” in contrast to the “sage on the stage” model. One of my favorite classes in the program--Framing the Social Context of High Needs Schools-- looked closely at the assumptions you make about your students. In part, it’s due to this class that I am devoting my career to leveling the playing field for low-income students of color in STEM.
John Greenleaf Whittier Middle School, Haverhill School District, Haverhill, MA, 5th grade science and math
The Noyce program at Bridgewater State University provided a strong foundation for understanding and working with students in high-need districts. I developed an Action Research project that identified a need in my student teaching school, located in an immigrant community, based on disadvantages that the student population might face. To prepare, I read Start Where You Are but Don’t Stay There: Understanding Diversity, Opportunity Gaps, and Teaching in Today’s Classrooms (Milner, 2010). This book gave me a better understanding of the needs of my students when I was placed in a high-need school.
Shiprock High School, Shiprock, NM on the Navajo Nation, Algebra 1-2, Geometry, Financial Literacy, AP Calculus AB, College Success II
The Noyce program has taught me to jump for any opportunities that come my way. I did not do this in my first years of teaching, but now that I am confident stepping outside of my comfort zone, I have been able to attend conferences and workshops and meet many great educators. I am always on the lookout for math workshops in the area. I am currently applying for the Rural School Leadership Academy. If selected, I would travel to schools in rural communities across the southwest and learn about administrative roles in school leadership.
Innovation Early College High School at East Carolina University, Pitt County Schools, Greenville, NC, Biology, Physics, Earth Science
The Noyce program helped reinforce what I learned during my Master’s program--that all students are different and come from various backgrounds and that I need to be aware of and sensitive to this while I am in the classroom. I was taught different exercises that would help students learn on a visual, auditory, and kinesthetic level. I practiced this during my internship to see what worked and what students preferred and found a way to incorporate all styles into the classroom.
High Tech High, San Diego, CA, Instructional Coach
I always wanted to be a science teacher. When I got to college, I realized I wanted to teach from personal experiences, not the text book. This would be difficult without becoming a biologist first. I met a professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, who talked to me about opportunities through the Noyce Scholars Program. The Noyce STEM Teachers and Researchers (STAR) Program would allow me to conduct research in the summers and transform the research into lessons for my students during the school year as a “teacher-researcher.” I applied to become a Noyce Scholar and have been a teacher-researcher ever since.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College, Denver Public Schools, Denver, CO, Integrated Math 3
When drafting my weekly lesson plans, I reflect on what I learned as a Noyce scholar. I was surrounded by professors who walked the walk. Seeing them implement strategies informed by research helped me to develop strategies and routines that transform my own classroom into a safe, collaborative, positive learning environment.
STEAM Academy, Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, KY, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, College Prep Math
Through its summer summits, University of Kentucky Noyce prepared me to venture outside of the textbook and tackle rigorous projects and problems. Our annual summer summits include nationally recognized STEM professors from the university who introduce us to these unique projects and provide the resources to incorporate them into our classes. By utilizing these projects, I have helped my students to become more engaged with the curriculum.
Madison High School, Portland Public Schools, Portland, OR, Forensic Science and Chemistry
I went into teaching later in life, after deciding that I wanted to share my love of science and the outdoors with youth. I started graduate school with a goal of becoming an environmental educator until the Noyce Program gave me the opportunity to get a teaching credential. Now, I am passionate about encouraging underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM fields and teaching students critical thinking skills so that they can be informed global citizens.
Del Valle Opportunity Center, Del Valle ISD, Del Valle, TX; Bilingual End-of-Course Biology; Biology Credit Recovery
I carry the things that I learned from Noyce into class every day. Regarding content, I am constantly looking for new and exciting ways to engage my students in their work. Noyce has instilled in me a desire to share my love of science with my students and to inspire them to (at the very least) develop an appreciation and understanding of the natural world.