- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439789
- First Name Sharon
- Last Name Vestal
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Larry Browning, South Dakota State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Matt Miller, South Dakota State University, email@example.com;
Madhav Nepal, South Dakota State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Troy White, South Dakota State University, email@example.com
Sharon Vestal, South Dakota State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Robert Burke, Burke Consulting Services, email@example.com
Rural American schools are challenged to attract and retain competent STEM teachers. In our Phase II project, the REMAST Scholarship Program at South Dakota State University (SDSU) is conducting an in-depth evaluation to more fully understand how recruitment, scholarship selection, training, mentoring, and post-graduation support impact teacher resilience in high-needs, rural schools.
What are the unique needs and challenges of teachers in these schools? What factors contribute to excellence, to persistence, to change of careers, and to overall resilience as a teaching professional? The Phase I goals of the SDSU REMAST Scholarship Program were to attract and select competent students for scholarships, to mentor them, to provide professional pre-service opportunities, and to follow and support them in their early teaching career.
One unique aspect that was added to our Phase I program is an annual summer conference, which provides continued affiliation with the program and offers STEM professional development to alumni and scholars. Our data gathering efforts have included traditional survey techniques and focus group interviews. We have a database of STEM teachers from SDSU who were awarded scholarships in Phase I, and two contrast groups who also graduated from SDSU – STEM teachers not awarded Noyce scholarships and other non-STEM teachers.
In our poster, we will report on assessment results of the fifth annual conference, struggles with adequately tracking student graduates, preliminary analysis of persistence data, and factors that appear to be influencing rural STEM teachers.
The success of the REMAST Scholarship Program could serve as a model for STEM teacher recruitment and retention in rural areas. Our dissemination efforts have been poster presentations at regional and national Noyce conferences. We are currently preparing manuscripts for publication.