- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1657755
- First Name Irina
- Last Name Lyublinskaya
- Discipline Other: Elementary science
Bethany Rogers, College of Staten Island, Bethany.Rogers@csi.cuny.edu
Kenneth Gold, College of Staten Island, Kenneth.Gold@csi.cuny.edu
Abdeslem El Idrissi, College of Staten Island, Abdeslem.ElIdrissi@csi.cuny.edu
Irina Lyublinskaya, College of Staten Island, email@example.com
Sharon Cameron, P.S. 45, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Thompson, P.S. 78, email@example.com
There is a powerful need in New York City schools for teachers who are knowledgeable in the disciplines of mathematics and science and who are prepared to effectively engage students in exploring this knowledge, especially in high-need elementary schools. New York City recently released new science curriculum guidelines for what elementary students ought to be learning. The 92-page outline incorporates state science standards with benchmarks from Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, and Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines. Given these new demands, it is particularly imperative that science teachers be provided professional development to help them adjust their teaching to the new standards; it will be equally important to equip top science teachers with the skills and knowledge to act as teacher-leaders who can spearhead the improvement of science education in elementary schools across the city.
The major goal of the project is to develop 15 science teacher-leaders in high-need elementary schools on Staten Island and in Brooklyn, to deepen their science content knowledge, and to develop their leadership skills through custom designed academic courses and professional development opportunities. By providing rich and targeted learning opportunities for teachers, the Discovery Institute at the College of Staten Island aims to transform their teaching with the ultimate goal of providing all students access to the high quality science instruction. It is equally important to equip top science teachers with the skills and knowledge to act as teacher-leaders who can spearhead the improvement of science education in elementary schools across the city. As stated in our proposal, the fundamental goal of this project is to build a solid underpinning for science learning in the elementary grades, which will set students up for success in science during middle and high school.
During the year 1 of the program the main focus of the project was on increasing MTFs’ capacity for implementing strong STEM pedagogical content knowledge, to build professional learning community of MTFs who can lead implementation of new K-12 science standards and model effective practices for in-service and pre-service teachers, and to Orient MTFs to leadership concepts and practices, focusing on self-awareness and its role in developing successful teaching and leading relationships. The second year of the program will focus on building the MTFs’ community awareness, engagement, and advocacy capabilities for working in high needs schools. Specifically, year two workshops are designed to support MTFs in analyzing the high needs context and community in which they are teaching; identifying opportunities to link STEM topics with local resources and needs; and learning and practicing culturally relevant STEM pedagogy.
The first-year professional development included a 3-day summer institute and ten after school 3-hour workshops. Training also included a graduate level course, ?Science Experiment Design in Elementary School,? co-taught by education and science faculty over two semesters, and 6 full-day Saturday labs focusing on projects and research. The Summer Institute focused on exploration of learning processes and science inquiry; and practice of observational skills to be used in the classroom. The workshops focused on areas of need identified by MTFs in their individualized action plans with content, pedagogical, and leadership goals for the first year. The graduate course focused on the nature of science and role of experimental design in teaching and learning science. The Saturday labs were coordinated with graduate course content and included science research experiences, engineering experiences, as well as presentations and collaborative reflections.
We?ve just completed first year of the project and have not disseminated results yet but continue to collect data on MTFs development as science teachers and teacher-leaders, as well as data on their students? achievement and STEM attitudes and intend to present preliminary findings in upcoming conferences. At this point we can report that the program led to the creation of MTFs professional learning communities as evidenced from online and face-to-face collaboration in the graduate course as well as outside the college classroom. The teachers share resources, professional development opportunities, and ideas on a regular basis. This PLC is the core of the future network of science elementary school teachers in the district.
Our project is already having an impact on society because the MTFs are implementing the process of inquiry with their students. Thus, their students are experiencing science in classrooms in ways that are likely more effective than their previous experiences. This project will also have citywide impact because we are producing teacher leaders who can disseminate this new model of teaching science to their peers in their schools, in the district, and in the city. Two of our MTFs have been invited to lead workshops in the city summer program Engineering is Elementary. Seven of our MTFs revised school science curriculum. These seven teachers are STEM cluster teachers in their schools: they provide science instruction to all students. Two MTFs integrated project-based learning into their after-school STEM program. Seven MTFs developed STEM projects that were fully funded through Donors Choose, bringing high-tech resources for teaching STEM into high-need elementary schools.