- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1339601
- First Name Lillie
- Last Name Albert
- Discipline Math
Solomon Friedberg, Boston College, firstname.lastname@example.org; Chi-Keung Cheung, Boston College, email@example.com
Lillie Albert, Boston College, firstname.lastname@example.org; Solomon Friedberg, Boston College, email@example.com
This project addresses the supply of well-qualified mathematics teachers for high-needs schools. There is a documented shortage of such teachers and retention of teachers is also an issue. Our project, involving both new teachers and master teachers, has focussed on addressing this shortage.
We had the following key questions: 1) How can we support teachers of mathematics as they enter and teach in high-needs schools, and how can we retain them during those first difficult years of teaching? 2) How can we support Master Teachers of mathematics and encourage them to develop into teacher-leaders? 3) How can we develop a community of mathematics teachers, both new and experienced, in high-needs districts, giving them a combination of mathematical and pedagogical experiences that will allow them to better teach their students? 4) How can university mathematics educators and mathematicians and area non-profits work together to support math teachers in high-needs districts?
We developed a program which included the following features: a) Cohorts of both new and master teachers who met once a month, carried out joint projects, and worked on math problems together; b) For new teachers, study leading to a Master’s degree; c) Systematic mentoring of new teachers by master teachers and by mathematicians; d) Opportunities for professional growth through classes and a summer program; e) Opportunities for professional growth through a wide-ranging Math Colloquium featuring dynamic speakers
For new teachers, our program was highly successful. For example, one participant reported that she would have left the teaching profession without it, while she is now a highly motivated and successful teacher. Our Master Teachers developed leadership and mentorship skills; for example, one is now a Vice Principal and another is a Department Head. All teachers said that they valued the opportunity to have content specific professional development, to mentor or be mentored, and to learn from outside speakers.
This project made a great difference to its participants and to the students they teach, and so has impacted literally thousands of students in the greater Boston area. It should be possible to replicate. Our leadership team hopes to initiate a project focused on equity (supporting teachers in helping all students in reaching a high level of mathematics) and leadership (supporting teachers in becoming content experts and leaders in the profession)