- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1759454
- First Name Paige
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geosciences, Math, Physics
Mariam Manuel, University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org; Leah McAlister-Shields, University of Houston, lymcalis@Central.UH.EDU; Jennifer Chauvot, University of Houston, jchauvot@Central.UH.EDU
Paige Evans, University of Houston, email@example.com; Leah McAlister-Shields, University of Houston, lymcalis@Central.UH.EDU
Although teacher education programs and professional development for practicing teachers provide preparation for teaching children from historically underrepresented cultures, application of that knowledge in the classroom is often inconsistent and ineffective because a theory-practice disconnect frequently occurs. The missing component is professional development in culturally relevant pedagogy, paired with on-site training with teachers. The Greater Houston area consists of an urban core surrounded by satellite communities and, as such, the need to develop and retain quality secondary STEM teachers within this region is critical. Moreover, in the most diverse city in the U.S., that is home to significant numbers of students living in poverty (85% or more in Houston), there also exists a need for secondary STEM teachers steeped in the knowledge of culturally responsive teaching.
Major goals of LEAD Houston accomplished through the master’s coursework, professional development and partnership with NMSI include the following: (1) incorporating culturally responsive teaching (CRT) in secondary STEM preparation and professional development; (2) cultivating MTFs’ leadership skills through instructional coaching; and (3) developing and assessing MTF’s abilities to be change agents in professional development and CRT in their schools/districts.
This Noyce Track 3 grant is grounded in the conceptual framework of Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT). CRT is a major concept in urban and multicultural education and uses cultural knowledge, prior experience, frames of reference, and performance styles of underrepresented students to make learning encounters more relevant. In partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NSMI) and the Greater Houston high-need school districts, this project will recruit and prepare 30 secondary STEM teachers to serve as teacher-leaders on campuses populated with underrepresented students. The experiences of designing/delivering professional development locally will prepare MTFs to transition to the national stage through the partnership and support of NMSI. Through the master’s program in STEM Education, professional development opportunities, and instructional coaching, MTFs will be better prepared to teach in local urban classrooms and support both preservice and in-service teachers.
Fifteen Master Teacher Fellows (MTFs) were selected for the first cohort with the following demographics: 60% Hispanic; 30% White; 7% African American; 73% Female; and 27% Male. The second cohort was recently selected and consists of 16 MTS with the following demographics: 38% White; 31% African American; 31% Hispanic; 56% Female and 44% Male. The first cohort will complete their master’s degree in August of 2019. Both cohorts will assume leadership roles in facilitating culturally responsive teaching infused with effective pedagogies in STEM through mentoring both preservice teachers and in-service teachers in their schools/districts; and collaborate with NMSI to provide MTF’s with STEM pedagogical content knowledge courses that MTFs will later infuse with culturally responsive teaching.
LEAD Houston has the potential to annually impact over 150,000 students in the Greater Houston Area and beyond through cultivating 30 STEM teacher-leaders equipped to shape both pre- and in-service teachers with whom they will collaborate. Through the programmatic goals, MTFs will be better prepared to teach in Houston’s high-need classrooms and support both pre- and in-service teachers in adopting the CRT philosophy which suits underrepresented learners. Moreover, the experiences of designing and delivering professional development locally will prepare fellows to transition to the national stage through the partnership and support of NMSI. The combination of grounding STEM instruction in culturally responsive pedagogies and utilizing this knowledge to address equity and learning disparities in STEM education will form a model of instruction for other UTeach replication sites and elsewhere. UH researchers will evaluate the impact of LEAD Houston which will be shared.