- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1339963
- First Name Anne
- Last Name Seitsinger
- Discipline STEM, Teacher Education
David Byrd, University of Rhode Island; Bryan Dewsbury, University of Rhode Island; Cornelis de Groot, University of Rhode Island; Jay Fogleman, University of Rhode Island; Joan Peckham, University of Rhode Island; Kathy Peno, University of Rhode Island
Lori Ciccomascolo, University of Rhode Island, email@example.com
Nationally, the need exists for more highly-qualified teachers with STEM backgrounds to teach children in elementary and secondary schools, particularly in high-need school-districts (National Commission on Mathematics & Science Teaching, 2000; National Science Board, 2008; Samueli, 2010). In Rhode Island, proficiency scores on statewide assessments in mathematics and science are in need of improvement. In mathematics, only 60% of elementary, 58% of middle school, and 35% of high school students scored at or above proficiency on the statewide assessments (Rhode Island Department of Education, 2014). Scores in sciences were even lower (i.e., 41% of 4th graders, 30% of 8th graders, and 30% of 11th graders). Scores for students in high-need, urban districts were significantly lower. In addition, less than 20% of the University of Rhode Island’s secondary teacher education candidates and only 2% of elementary teacher education candidates major in mathematics or a science.
The University of Rhode Island (URI) is the first and only institution of higher education in Rhode Island to be awarded a National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Award. The program seeks to increase the overall number, diversity, and percentage of teacher candidates with strong STEM backgrounds by recruiting undergraduate STEM majors and STEM career changers who might otherwise not have considered a career in K-12 teaching and supporting them through their induction years.
We are recruiting 20 undergraduate STEM majors and 5 STEM professionals to teach in high-need, urban school districts. Scholarships of $10,000 each support juniors and seniors over 5 years. One-year stipends for $40,000 are offered to STEM professionals seeking teacher certification. The program mentors Scholars during their first 3 years of teaching. In return, Scholars agree to teach in a high-need school district for 2 years for each year of support within 8 years of completing of their degrees. In addition, the program is supporting 50 freshman and sophomores with paid 10-week summer internships in informal STEM education areas, providing critical opportunities for them to engage in teaching experiences. Internships are coordinated through URI’s Center for Career and Experiential Education. Internship sites include Providence Boys and Girls Clubs, Roger Williams Park, Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art, Rhode Island Audubon Society, and Save the Bay, as well as other sites in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. The summer interns participate in a guided reading of Ron Suskind’s (1998) A Hope in the Unseen managed through URI’s Learning Management System, Sakai. A range of recruitment strategies are used including a new website (http://web.uri.edu/noyce/), flyers, posters, presentations, and news releases.
Going into Year 4, we have 17 Scholars (12 undergraduates and five STEM professionals). Six Scholars were former Noyce summer interns. Nine Scholars have graduated from URI’s School of Education; three of whom are finishing their first year of teaching science in three different urban middle schools in RI.
We are increasing the diversity of our STEM teacher education candidates. Thirteen URI Noyce Scholars are female; two are racial minorities. We are recruiting more STEM career changers. Five STEM career changers are/have been supported. All Noyce Scholars complete practicum and student teaching in high-need school districts. Our 17 summer interns provide valuable impact for 18 partner agencies and the children and youth they serve in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. News releases featuring our Noyce Scholars and national and regiional conference presentations are the main means of dissemination.