- Year 2017
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660719
- First Name Erin
- Last Name Krupa
- Discipline Math
Steven Greenstein, Montclair State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Krupa, Montclair State University, email@example.com
Steven Greenstein, Montclair State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
This Track 1 Scholarship and Stipend grant is a collaboration between Montclair State University and the County College of Morris, in partnership with Newark Public Schools. The goal of the Noyce @ Montclair: Preparing the Effective Elementary Mathematics Teacher (PE2MT) Scholarship Program is to provide exemplary preparation to 30 pre-service teachers for effective elementary mathematics teaching in classrooms in New Jersey’s high-need K-12 schools. Through their participation in an innovative degree program featuring experiences beyond coursework that were developed as part of our Noyce Capacity Building Grant, these students will obtain an undergraduate degree in mathematics along with a K-6 elementary teaching certificate. The university currently produces zero STEM graduates certified to teach at the elementary level. Therefore, we hope to attract 30 students into this program and subsequently represent a significant contribution of well-prepared elementary mathematics teachers.
The program goals are as follows:
1. To Recruit High-Quality Preservice Elementary Teachers for Effective Mathematics Teaching.
2. To Prepare High-Quality Preservice Elementary Teachers for a Career of Effective Mathematics Teaching in a High-Need School.
3. To Promote the Retention of High-Quality Elementary Math Teachers in High-Need Schools.
To develop successful elementary mathematics teachers, Noyce Scholars will take part in the six enhancing components of our scholarship program: Inquiry-Based Instructional Support (IBIS) academic support for advanced content courses, enriched methods and specialized content courses, early and ongoing field experiences, undergraduate research experience, in-service induction support, and seminars.
IBIS will immerse potential Noyce Scholars in inquiry-oriented mathematics learning while also developing their pedagogical model of effective groupwork. IBIS will run in parallel with Calculus I and II, because their successor courses, Calculus II and III, have been identified as historically difficult due to a history of high failure and withdrawal rates.
Scholars will complete the Bachelors of Science in Mathematics Degree with K-6 Certification. As they complete their education requirements, they will simultaneously be enrolled in courses to complete their mathematics degree. They are expected to complete the same core mathematics courses all mathematics students take (Calculus I, II, & III, Linear Algebra, and Probability), a carefully selected set of specialized courses (Transitions to Advanced Mathematics, College Geometry, Theory of Numbers, and two Mathematics in Elementary School courses).
Despite the benefits of community-based experiences in teacher preparation, they are rarely found in teacher preparation programs. In contrast, Noyce Scholars will engage in community-oriented field experiences throughout their teacher preparation coursework. The purpose of these activities is to prepare Scholars to build on their students’ family, community, and cultural knowledge in their instruction and to wisely navigate the challenges, complexities, and diversity of schools and classrooms.
Noyce Scholars will be required to take Research in Mathematics Education, which counts towards their mathematics electives. They will conduct authentic research in a local elementary mathematics classroom. Scholars will identify an area of interest, review the relevant literature, formulate an actionable research question, secure approval to conduct research, collect and analyze data, and present their findings at either the on-campus student research symposium or at a local mathematics education conference.
We have devised a one-year induction program that will support each Scholar’s transition into full-time teaching and promote their retention. This program features 8 site-based visits from experienced induction coaches. In addition, we will provide these coaches with an on-site orientation to our program and ongoing professional development that keeps them ‘close’ to program activities. PI Krupa and Co-PI Greenstein will provide two additional site-based visits, for a total of 10 visits per scholar. In addition to site-based coaching support, in-service scholars will participate in a professional learning community with their peers and meet on campus 9 times at monthly seminars and 9 times through an online web-based portal.
Throughout their pre-service coursework and their in-service induction years, current and alumni Scholars will participate in 9 monthly seminars on campus each year. These seminars will establish a professional learning community that provides additional connection and support to pre-service teachers and induction support to in-service teachers. Seminars will serve as a place where current Scholars draw on their research experience, advanced mathematical knowledge, and coursework to reflect on and discuss their classroom and community field experiences.
This Noyce Scholarship proposal aims to address two significant problems in mathematics education. First, research indicates that elementary teachers do not possess the requisite knowledge of mathematics for teaching. Consequently, students at the elementary level tend to learn mathematics via pedagogies that develop only procedural forms of knowledge that are of limited use to them outside of school and in unfamiliar situations (Ball, et al., 2001). The second problem is one of a variety of equity issues that have been made a priority focus of national organizations that support mathematics teacher education (Gutierrez et al., 2008). In particular, we aim to address the consistent and considerable ‘opportunity to learn’ gap (Flores, 2007) between students of color and of lower socio-economic class and their white counterparts who are more likely to have teachers who emphasize high-quality mathematics instruction.
As this is a new project, the goal of the Montclair Elementary Mathematics Education Study (MEMES) research project is to develop case studies (Stake, 1995) of individuals learning to teach elementary mathematics for equity and understanding. Specifically, we will answer these research questions: (1) What changes, if any, are there in Scholars’ beliefs about mathematics and mathematics teaching over the course of the Scholarship Program and during their induction years? (2) What gains are there in Scholars’ pedagogical content knowledge and mathematics content knowledge compared to non-Scholars? (3) How do Scholars draw on their advanced mathematical knowledge in their preparation for and teaching of elementary mathematics? (4) What are graduating Scholars’ models of teaching elementary mathematics for and understanding and how do their program experiences inform these models?
The broader impacts of this project stem from its stated purpose, which is to recruit, prepare, and retain high-quality elementary mathematics teachers with particular capacities, not only for the engagement and cultivation of students’ STEM interests and aptitudes, but also for additional school- and district-based leadership opportunities such as professional mentoring, conducting professional development, presenting at conferences, developing curriculum, and influencing policy. Accordingly, this project broadens participation to under-represented groups in mathematics by recruiting new elementary mathematics teachers to the profession, providing them with extraordinary preparation experiences, and placing them in the schools where they are needed most. Finally, the elementary teacher preparation program developed for this project is unique in its design and can therefore serve as a potential model for other programs seeking to prepare elementary mathematics teachers.