- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1950112
- First Name Corinne
- Last Name Lardy
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics
Jenna Porter, Deidre Sessoms, & Kelly McDonald
Corinne Lardy, California State University, Sacramento; Jenna Porter, California State University, Sacramento
Sacramento County in California has a population of almost 1.5 million people, and faces many issues with the recruitment, retention, and ethnicity of STEM teachers which are similar to issues faced nationwide. All school districts in Sacramento County report teacher shortages, with between 5% and 34% of new hires in 2017-18 having “substandard” credentials (Sutcher et al., 2018). Of these, low income schools and those with high percentages of minority students report the highest percentages of non-credentialed teachers. Moreover, STEM teachers with credentials who enter the profession do not reflect the racial and cultural diversity of their students (Banilower et al., 2018). Finally, about 8% of teachers nationwide leave the profession every year (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond 2017a). As a consequence, many students fail to receive inspiring and rigorous STEM education that only a highly qualified teacher can provide – a problem that is particularly acute for low income and ethnically diverse children (Carver-Thomas & Darling-Hammond 2017b).The goal of this Track 1 Noyce project is to address the above problems by increasing the number, diversity, and quality of preservice teachers entering Sacramento State’s Single Subject Teaching Credential Program (which prepares future middle and high school teachers) in science and mathematics.
A goal of this project is to gain much needed evidence about how to most effectively recruit, retain, and prepare qualified and diverse STEM teachers for Linked Learning Pathways in high-needs secondary schools. Outcomes so far (the project has just completed Year 2) are measured by the impact perceived by Scholars and work they completed as part of the program. Additionally, this project is working to provide knowledge of how Scholars’ participation in a community of educators, including former Noyce Scholars, current Noyce Master Teaching Fellows, and mentor Linked Learning teachers, contributes to the development and retention of new STEM teachers serving in high-needs Linked Learning Pathway schools. Specific questions include:(1) In what ways do the demographic characteristics of Scholars relate to the decision to pursue teaching as a career, teacher effectiveness, or other outcomes?(2) Which activities and strategies are most successful for recruiting and retaining a large and diverse pool of math and science Noyce Scholars? Which strategies do Noyce Scholars view as key to their decision to enter and stay in the teaching profession?(3)How effective do Noyce Scholars perceive their preparation to be when they exit the credential program? Which support activities do Noyce Scholars perceive to be most and least effective in preparing them to teach STEM in high needs schools, particularly in Linked Learning Pathways?
The overall goals of this NSF Noyce award are to increase the number, diversity, and quality of preservice teachers entering Sacramento State’s Single Subject Teaching Credential Program. Over the course of the program, which has just completed its second year, we will recruit and support 33 talented and motivated STEM majors to give them a financially feasible option to become a teacher and commit to teaching STEM in high-needs secondary schools. Key project activities to support these goals include:•Implement a revised recruitment plan to encourage qualified and diverse STEM majors to complete their STEM degrees and enroll in a one year post-baccalaureate credential program. The program is recruiting undergraduate STEM majors in the junior or senior years and providing support to allow them to complete their undergraduate major and Sacramento State’s one-year post-baccalaureate credentialing program. •Provide scholarships to financially support participants (for up to 3 years) as they earn degrees and teaching certification •Support preservice teachers to explore and understand both STEM teaching and culturally relevant pedagogy with special attention to Linked Learning college and career preparation settings; •Follow and support participants as they proceed through their first year of teaching in a high-needs LEA/district through a revised induction plan that includes university support.
Results from the project will provide important insights into how to most effectively recruit, retain, and prepare qualified and diverse STEM teachers for pathways to career readiness in high-needs secondary schools. Following are some of our current outcomes, from the first two years of the project: •So far, the project has supported 12 Noyce Scholars, 10 of which have completed their teaching credential program in math or science, and 2 are continuing next year. •We have piloted a new structure of mentorship, “mentorship trios,” that has the potential to be a very valuable strategy for mentoring preservice STEM teachers and recruiting them into the teaching profession. In this strategy, we have grouped an experienced in-service teacher mentor (a Noyce Track 3 MTF, when possible) with an undergraduate STEM major and a STEM preservice teacher credential candidate.•All Scholars who have completed the teaching credential program have earned an additional Career Pathways Certificate, and demonstrated their knowledge in Linked Learning through an annual Showcase presentation.•Post-COVID recruitment of undergraduates into the program has been challenging. We have been working with the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to counteract this challenge.
This project will increase the number of highly qualified STEM teachers serving high-needs schools in the Sacramento region and beyond, with particular skill connecting STEM education in the classroom to real-life career applications in Linked Learning pathways. Consequently, this project will improve STEM education equity for the thousands of secondary students who will be taught by Scholars, providing higher quality STEM education as well as exposure to STEM-related careers for traditionally underserved students. This project will also strengthen bonds between Sacramento State, local high needs schools, and community business partners dedicated to improving STEM education, particularly in Linked Learning settings, thus facilitating future collaborations that will benefit additional students.Our next steps are to build on the knowledge we have gained during the first two years of the project, especially related to successful mentorship and recruitment strategies, in order to continue to build our Noyce Scholar community. Additionally, with two Scholars from Year 1 having just completed their first year of teaching and eight Scholars beginning their first year of teaching in August 2022, we will explore additional mentorship networking strategies to contribute to the knowledge base of recruiting, training, and supporting STEM teachers.