- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1340107
- First Name Ruth
- Last Name Cossey
- Discipline Mathematics, Science
Kathy Shultz, Mills College, firstname.lastname@example.org; Barbara A LiSanti, Mills College, email@example.com
Karen Mayfield-Ingram, Lawrence Hall of Science, firstname.lastname@example.org; Steve Luntz, Mills College, email@example.com; Eli Kirshbaum, Oakland Unified School District, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oakland Unified School District in California, like many other urban school districts, has had a difficult time attracting and retaining effective middle school and high school STEM teachers. A partnership of Oakland Unified School District, Mills College, the Lawrence Hall of Science at University of California, Berkeley, SERP, KQED and others formed to create the Oakland Urban Teacher Residency program (OUTR) that recruited, prepared, mentors and sustains 18 STEM teachers for Oakland classroom. These teaching fellows draw on their strong content knowledge as they develop equitable, effective instructional practices. Their teaching practices are continuously enhanced by close, research-based mentoring that began in their credential year and continue for their first four years “of full-time classroom teaching.” OUTR is making a significant contribution to the effort of Oakland Unified School District to reduce the achievement disparities among student groups in mathematics and science education. Through the provision of well-prepared teachers who remain in the classroom for at least four years, OUTR will help the District provide pathways to college and careers for students in high needs secondary schools.
OUTR was designed and implemented to achieve the following goals.
We hoped to cultivate, recruit and support through a five-year induction 20 diverse Teaching Fellows with STEM college degrees and strong academic records.
We wanted to provide Teaching Fellows with integrated coursework and fieldwork that prepared them to begin successful STEM teaching in Oakland. During the first year, Teaching Fellows served an apprenticeship with a team of mentors from Mills College, Oakland Unified School District and the Lawrence Hall of Science that resulted in a STEM Preliminary Single Subject California Credentials and employment as teacher of record for the District.
During the second and third year, Teaching Fellows are continue coursework and research leading to a Clear California Single Subject STEM credential, tenure and a master’s degree while they are teaching full-time.
During the fourth and fifth year, the Teaching Fellows will continue to develop leadership capacity in Oakland as they participate in and learn to lead in professional earning activities at the district and school site level.
In order to achieve our objectives and goals, we:
** Provide financial tuition support to Teaching Fellows during their credential and MA years, plus an additional stipend of $15,000 in the credential year. In their subsequent four years as classroom teachers, they receive salary supplements of $10,000 per year. Financial support will come in the form of a forgivable loan.
** Select and prepare the Mentor Teachers who will play a critical role in the preparation of new teachers through co-planning, coaching the Teaching Fellow during teaching activities, and debriefing afterwards.
** Provide modest salary supplements of $2,000 to Mentor Teachers.
** Induct Teaching Fellows and Mentor Teachers into Lesson Study and Mills Teacher Scholar groups that will foster and support an inquiry stance towards STEM teaching, thus integrating research and practice.
** Provide customized Teacher Induction and PO coaching during the years when Fellows are teachers of record.
** Collaborate closely with complementary initiatives within OUSD to create and sustain a critical mass of OUSD middle and high school STEM teachers with strong content background and pedagogical tools appropriate to the needs of students of OUSD.
** Extend and sustain the culture of inquiry-based pedagogy and mutual support among OUSD STEM teachers.
OUTR is a partnership a partnership between the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics and the School of Education at Mills College, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and the Lawrence Hall of Science.
The OUTR program aims to affect the culture of teaching in mathematics and science in all of OUSD by involving participating teachers and their mentors in professional learning communities. The OUTR model complements the instructional rounds model that OUSD has implemented in each of their secondary schools (cf., City, Elmore, Fiarman & Teitel, 2009). OUTR’s innovative curriculum and professional learning activities are closely attuned to the affordances and challenges of the particular needs of the participating schools and OUSD as a whole. The program is consistent with research-based practices about teaching, teacher preparation and professional learning communities in diverse urban environments.
Mills Preservice Mathematics and science content course work and fieldwork have been re-aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the current research about the Next Generation Science. Each Teaching Fellow has acquired the knowledge to teach with precision, reasoning, and coherence. Fellows also possess the necessary components to assist in the successful acquisition of conceptual mathematics and science knowledge, along with specific skills and procedural fluency by their students. A key component of OUTR is engaging the Teaching Fellow, the Fellow’s mentors, and the program’s partners in a research project to study the teacher residency model in order to determine how the skills and knowledge of STEM pre-service teachers develop over time within connected, coherent learning communities. Teaching fellows and their mentors advance the scholarship of teaching within the fields of mathematics and science education through their skills as teacher-researchers who ask scholarly questions arising from complex curricular and pedagogical issues that require examination of their practice.
The partnership is learning how to navigate the complex pathways between raw talent and good intentions to highly efficient and culturally competent STEM teacher in Oakland Unified School District. Providing sufficient orchestrated support to novice teachers while they learn their craft requires deep and careful coordination of many different entities within the District, Mills College, and the Lawrence Hall of Science. This coordination is taking place against a background of personnel and policy changes.
Through the development of a more stable teaching staff in selected schools, better-prepared novice teachers, and the added value of their STEM professional expertise, we anticipate that after six years, there will be enhanced student achievement and a more stable teaching force in OUSD.
At the conclusion of our project a report will be disseminated that will serve as a tool for reviewing program development and guiding the expansion of OUTR into new OUSD schools. This report will include illustrative profiles and will distill lessons learned from the project, including elucidation of effective features of the project’s design and implementation, as well as challenges the project faced and strategies for solving them.
Our plan is to disseminate widely the lessons learned from this project in building the STEM teaching capacity and teaching retention in a high poverty urban district. Examining and publishing in-depth cases that describe how the Teaching Fellows’ skills, knowledge and dispositions are developed over time will benefit the profession by documenting a model of teacher education that graduates highly qualified mathematics and science teachers who stay in the schools that need them most.