- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1852735
- First Name Gretchen
- Last Name Andreasen
- Discipline Other: science and math teacher recruitment/preparation/retention
Daniel Greene, Salinas Union High School District; Sherri Kilkenny & Steve McDowell, Santa Cruz City Schools; Soleste Hilberg & Molly Shaw, UC Santa Cruz
Gretchen Andreasen, UC Santa Cruz
The shortage of math and science teachers affects all our partner districts. Regional community colleges and universities want to play a role in addressing the shortage.
What gaps exist in the existing infrastructure for math and science teacher recruitment, preparation, and retention? How can existing efforts be expanded to improve our impact?
We brought together community college, university, and school district faculty and staff who support the science and math teacher pipeline for regular meetings to better understand and assist each other and to better help our students and early career teachers succeed as they move through the pipeline. We identified three broad areas of focus (developing a STEM teacher identity and providing academic supports, recruitment and pathways into STEM teaching, and teacher needs and intern support) and divided into three subgroups to advance regional collaborations around these topics. We were guided by ideas and processes for advancing innovation and problem solving in “Networked Improvement Communities” (NICs).
In 2021-22, our NIC project groups have advanced efforts in each of the three areas of focus. Project 1, Recruitment and Pathways into STEM Teaching, worked on improving information about pathways into math and science teaching that is available to high school, community college, and university students in the region. The group developed, tested, and recorded a webinar about regional pathways into math and science teaching targeting high school and community college students developed a listserv to support communication among partners, with the specific goal to improve outreach to prospective teachers regionally created and started to explore the use of Discord and Slack to communicate among ourselves and to support communication and information sharing with prospective teachers began to develop a website assembling information from all the partners about pathways into math and science teaching Project 2, New Teacher Support, focused on assembling and sharing outstanding existing resources to support new teachers in order to make them available around the region and beyond. They began to develop a Google site with a menu of resources and practices for new teachers and those who support them. Project 3, Academic Supports and Opportunities to Develop a Teacher Identity, built on existing, highly effective peer-tutoring programs that both enhance instructional effectiveness and foster interest in teaching careers. The group created documents and template.
The project emphasizes “growing our own” teacher workforce, explicitly recruiting from our local population of high school and community college students. This approach will lead to a more diverse teacher population and teachers who understand the needs of the communities they came from. In the fourth year we plan to continue this collaborative work and to begin to develop strategies to sustain the work for the long term.