- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1557326
- First Name M. Kathleen
- Last Name Heid
- Discipline Math
Gina Foletta, Pennsylvania State University, firstname.lastname@example.org; Rose Mary Zbiek, Pennsylvania State University, email@example.com; James Sellers, Pennsylvania State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gina Foletta, Pennsylvania State University, email@example.com
The mathematics teacher shortage is even more problematic in urban and rural settings. Prospective rural teachers are thought to be more likely than urban or suburban teachers to out-migrate to a suburban or urban school (Eppley, 2009). Rural education researchers advise that this out-migration of rural teachers must be addressed through collaborations between ‘local’ universities and rural schools and that recruiting locally is key to addressing the issue (Eppley, 2009; McCaw, Freeman, & Pilhower, 2002; National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, 2007). Teachers leave high poverty, high minority, and urban schools at a rate higher than those leaving wealthy schools (Ingersoll, 2011). Preservice teachers’ beliefs about urban teaching settings, social justice, and diversity are important factors in developing commitments to teach, and perhaps to remain teaching, in urban schools (Aragon, Culpepper, McKee, & Perkins, 2013).
The Penn State University Secondary Mathematics Noyce Scholars Program has four major goals: (a) Increase number of math majors who become certified to teach secondary mathematics. (b) Enhance the understanding by prospective secondary mathematics students of teaching mathematics in high-need rural and urban schools. (c) Identify factors of the program that may lead to mathematics majors in the Penn State Noyce program accepting or not accepting positions teaching mathematics in high-need rural and urban schools. (d) Identify factors that may lead to the retention or lack of retention of mathematics majors in the Penn State Noyce program teaching mathematics in high-need rural and urban schools.
The Program will identify, and prepare as secondary mathematics teachers, undergraduates with interest and ability in mathematics and interest in teaching in high-need rural or urban-centered school districts. Each student who completes the program, a Noyce Scholar, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics as well as with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education (mathematics) or a master’s degree in mathematics education. Framing the Project is the construct of place-based education, which provides principles for teaching that apply to the nuances of high-need urban and rural schools. The framework informs seminars unique in that they bring the expertise of scholars in urban education, rural education, poverty, identity, and place-based curriculum. The connection to mathematics is made through the direct relationship of place-based education to mathematical modeling as mathematical practice.
The first Noyce scholars began the Program in August 2017. Key deliverables include the seminar curriculum, partnerships of university and at least five urban and rural school districts. Anticipated outcomes and findings will include a detailed description of the preparation and the enduring understandings of teachers who enter teaching positions in high-need urban and rural school. The project will inform the field about the effects on prospective and beginning teachers in high-need urban and rural schools of intensive practicum experiences in those schools; a philosophical orientation of teaching as place-based; and extensive integrated background in mathematics, technology, mathematics education. It will provide information on factors that influence the desire to teach in and remain teaching in high-need schools, especially in the context of a program that gives concerted attention to place-based instruction in rural and urban settings.
The project will have a broader impact in that each of the Noyce Scholars who takes a position in a high-need school is likely to have a positive effect on more than 150 students per year, in settings that regularly experience shortages of secondary mathematics teachers. The careful selection of Scholars who have an interest in or background in urban-centered or rural schools, the extensive mentoring program, initial experience working with students from high-need schools, and extensive preparation in both mathematics and mathematics education, is designed to increase the likelihood of Noyce Scholars to continue to teach in a high-need school. The leadership experience that the Noyce Scholars have in planning and presenting to colleagues and to groups of teachers at conferences will better position them to take on leadership roles in mathematics teaching at their schools.