- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 934972
- First Name Kellie
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline Mathematics
Ivan Cheng, Cal State Northridge, firstname.lastname@example.org; Julie Gainsburg, Cal State Northridge, email@example.com
Kellie Evans, Cal State Northridge, firstname.lastname@example.org, Alina Lee, Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, email@example.com
Most school districts in this area are high-need and have a dearth of secondary mathematics teachers who hold STEM degrees. One open question is whether fellowships such as these can persuade STEM degree holders, who may not have considered teaching careers, to earn credentials and teach in high-need school districts. The program aims to benefit these teachers, by encouraging them to seek rewarding careers in teaching, and then support them as they grow as teachers and develop their leadership skills. It also aims to benefit the students of such teachers, by providing positive and energetic role models who are passionate about their subject matter.
The goal of the program is to support STEM professionals and others with strong math backgrounds who enroll as NSF Teaching Fellows (TFs) in CSUN’s single subject math Credential Program. Participants will fulfill four-year teaching commitments in high-need school districts while participating in professional development activities and they will earn Master’s degrees in Mathematics Education, Curriculum and Instruction, or Educational Technology. A track of Noyce Master Teaching Fellows (MTFs) will also be trained through this program. These expert teachers will receive intensive training in the scholarship of math education and leadership in the Secondary Education Department’s Mathematics Education Master’s Program as well as supplementary professional development in mentoring new math teachers. The project aims to create a net gain of 11 new secondary math teachers and 5 master teachers, all of whom will become teacher leaders knowledgeable of innovative teaching strategies and, because of the support provided by the NSF Teaching Fellows program, more likely than other new and current teachers to remain in the profession.
The program will increase the number of candidates for the Master’s degree in Mathematics Education and the mathematics single subject teaching credential, strengthen the quality of teaching by providing professional development activities such as mentoring, summer workshops, and in-service activities, increase achievement by students in high-need schools by increasing Academic Performance Index (API) scores, and improve the long-term retention of Fellows. It will also develop a pool of local master teachers who can provide classroom environments where CSUN student teachers can observe and practice the research?based pedagogies taught in the credential program and who are specifically trained in mentoring techniques. Further, it will enhance math-education leadership capacity in local schools by enabling more teachers to take advantage of the Secondary Education Department?s math-education master’s program.
CSUN faculty in the Department of Mathematics and Secondary Education recruited TFs and MTFs. TFs earned teaching credentials, working closely with faculty in Secondary Education. TFs and MTFs earned Master’s in Mathematics Education or Curriculum and Instruction and all Fellows worked in high-need school districts. Faculty in the Department of Mathematics organized and implemented professional development activities, which included workshops given by local secondary teachers, CSUN faculty, and travel to conferences.
The program is in its first no-cost rollover year and on track to achieve its goals next year. Thirteen Teaching Fellows were recruited and all earned single subject mathematics teaching credentials. All thirteen are track to complete the requirement to teach in high-need school districts. To date, seven TFs have completed the Master’s Program in Mathematics Education, two have completed the Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, and one is on track to complete the Master’s in Educational Technology next academic year. One TF dropped out of the program due to difficulties completing the credential and finding a teaching position (this was during the recession, when local school districts were handing out pink slips). The TF later completed the credential and continues to work full-time in a high-need school district. Three TFs are planning to either complete a Master’s Program or enter one next academic year. Five MTFs were recruited. Three completed the Master’s in Mathematics Education and all professional development requirements on time and continue to teach in high-need districts. One MTF died and one dropped out of the program.
Teaching Fellows have reported that they would not have considered teaching careers had it not been for this program. In addition, nearly all TFs have said they would not have entered, or would have dropped out of the Master’s Program, had it not been for this program. One Fellow has said he credits where he is as a (very successful) teacher entirely to this program. Not only have Fellows benefitted from this program, but the PI has grown as a teacher and completely transformed her own approaches to teaching as a consequence. Current Noyce scholars (supported by another grant) are also benefitting since they have taken a course with the PI where they learned interactive teaching techniques they are applying in their student teaching. The PI and Noyce scholars have been invited to provide professional development workshops to teachers from local high-need school districts. Together with Noyce scholars, the PI is creating materials for more teachers to use and Noyce scholars are getting numerous job offers.