- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1758353
- First Name Tanya
- Last Name Berezovski
- Discipline Chemistry, Computer Science, Data Science, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, STEM Education (general)
Victor Donnay, Bryn Mawr College; Greer Richardson, La Salle University; Susan Varnum, Temple U; Augusto Macalalag, Arcadia U
The shortage of STEM teachers and the attrition rate for those who do enter the profession is widely recognized and well researched. NSF spends a lot of money to recruit STEM teachers for high need schools and there should be a large focus on retaining those teachers so that the funds invested are not wasted.
What are the components of an effective new teacher support program with the goal of retaining STEM teachers?
PRNP-S has developed a new teacher support program model using a set of components that has been successful in retaining teachers who have gone through its program. Using a cohort-based professional learning community model that met monthly throughout the school year, teachers engaged education for sustainability/culturally responsive teaching content; formed a supportive social network; explored their identity as STEM teachers and learned how to engage their students in content that was relevant for their lives. In addition they were supported by facilitators and mentors who focused on self-care/wellness and the issues for growth identified by individual teachers.
By putting teachers in the drivers seat and helping them develop a strong, caring and rich social/professional network, we have been able to retain 90% of our new teachers and have seen a number of these teachers step up to leadership roles in their schools and the wider educational community.
If designing and delivering an effective new teacher support program can contribute to the retention of new STEM teachers, this could have a great impact on the STEM teacher shortage and could be scaled up and expanded around the country. School Districts could adopt this approach so that their induction programs can be more successful. By focusing on culturally responsive sustainable teaching, STEM becomes more relevant for students and can have impacts on their communities as they use what they learn to make better decisions about their lives and those of their neighbors.