- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1439866
- First Name Heather
- Last Name Johnson
- Discipline All
David Weintraub, Vanderbilt University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Mark Ellingham, Vanderbilt University, mark.ellingham@Vanderbilt.Edu;
Isaac Thompson, Fisk University, email@example.com
Heather Johnson, Vanderbilt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently, there have been concerns that a “leaky K-12 STEM talent pipeline” has compromised US competitiveness in STEM fields. High-priority urban schools struggle to find STEM qualified teachers and uneven preparation has constrained the pool of STEM majors. In turn, the number of STEM candidates who seek teacher licensure has reduced. Teacher education programs need to work harder to attract STEM talent and design more viable pathways to licensure.
A collaborative Noyce program involving two universities and one school district are attracting two populations of STEM students into teaching: upper-level undergraduate STEM majors and STEM professionals.
To meet the needs of these candidates, three licensure pathways were developed: a 5th year MEd/licensure, a traditional two-year MEd with licensure, and an alternative licensure path for graduate students. Paramount to all three trajectories are urban practice-rich experiences that enable STEM teacher candidates to reconstruct and apply their STEM content knowledge into STEM knowledge for teaching. This model of graduated entry into urban teaching allows for the development of the skills required to more effectively reach under-represented student populations, and widen the net of future STEM talent.
This presentation will discuss the recruitment efforts and construction of supportive licensure pathways to improve STEM teaching in urban schools. Our key outcomes are that we have developed new pathways for STEM talent from various areas that are now approved by the accredited teacher education institution, as well as the state licensing office. Currently, we have students enrolled in all pathways so we will report on the progress these students are making and what is coming next for them and the program. A challenge that we would like to discuss is the recruitment and retention of more racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse candidates into STEM teaching. We have diversity in STEM backgrounds, but we are struggling in meeting our diversity goals elsewhere.
Increasing the number of well prepared teachers in secondary STEM areas should help plug the leaks in the STEM pipeline by improving student achievement and interest in STEM disciplines, ultimately increasing the number of STEM majors and STEM careers. In addition to ameliorating obstacles of time and money, the new pathways to licensure will enable STEM teacher candidates to reconstruct and apply their STEM content knowledge into STEM knowledge for teaching in an urban context. In both years of our program, STEM candidates will collaborate on planning and instructional teams with practicing teachers, enriching STEM teaching and learning in partner schools. This model of graduated entry into urban teaching will enable professionals to develop the skills required to more effectively reach under-represented student populations, and thus widen the net of future STEM talent.