- Year 2017
- NSF Noyce Award # 1136392
- First Name Sandra
- Last Name Madden
- Discipline Math
Stephen Schneider, UMass Amherst, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paula Rees, UMass Amherst, email@example.com
Sandra Madden, UMass Amherst, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ilya Parker, Springfield Public Schools, email@example.com
The project benefits multiple layers in the western Massachusetts area. By building the capacity of mathematics and science teachers to facilitate high quality, ambitious learning environments and practices, our work benefits teachers, their students, their schools and their communities. We also increase the number of high quality placements for future STEM teachers in high need schools through our work with STEM mentor teachers. Finally, our concerted effort to develop virtual communities of practice has evolved to thinking out teachers’ professional learning networks (PLNs).
Goals for the project include:
1) Provide inservice secondary mathematics and science teachers (MTFs) with professional development in effective inquiry-, place-based, and culturally responsive instructional practices and leadership and mentoring skills.
2) In collaboration with MTFs and partnership schools, revise and implement an initial licensure teacher program for secondary mathematics and science teachers in order to better ensure their retention in the profession and successful instruction.
3) Develop virtual and face-to-face communities of practice to provide MTFs, TFs and other teachers with support for effective instruction and to lessen the traditional isolation of teachers.
4) Develop mathematics and science content courses to improve teacher content knowledge for teaching.
STEM Teaching and Learning through Communities respond to the critical need for middle and high school teachers of science and mathematics through a collaboration between the UMA Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies (TECS), the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) and College of Engineering (COE), local high-need middle and high schools in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts (Springfield Public Schools, Holyoke Public Schools, Greenfield Public Schools and Mahar Regional School), and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, a nonprofit organization focused on the professional development of teachers and the education of youth in the sciences. We seek to encourage talented science and mathematics students and professionals to pursue teaching careers and develop a long-term commitment to teaching students in high needs secondary schools. We envision a program that supports a dynamic and interactive community of 20 Master Teacher Fellows (MTFs) and 20 Teacher Fellows (TFs) with professional development, community support, licensure, graduate degrees/certificates and salary supplements while they teach in high needs schools. S2TLC is designed to: 1) Provide inservice secondary mathematics and science teachers (MTFs) with professional development in effective inquiry-, place-based, and culturally responsive instructional practices and leadership and mentoring skills; 2) In collaboration with MTFs and partnership schools, revise and implement an initial licensure teacher program for secondary mathematics and science teachers in order to better ensure their retention in the profession and successful instruction; 3) Develop virtual and face-to-face communities of practice to provide MTFs, TFs and other teachers with support for effective instruction and to lessen the traditional isolation of classroom teachers; 4) Develop mathematics and science content courses that integrate the use of cognitive technological tools to facilitate learning.
Key activities include:
1) Coursework for Master’s degrees; 2) Day long school year and week long summer institutes; 3) F2F and Virtual Communities of Practice; 4) MTF Two year Projects; 5) Professional licensure courses; and 6) Summer research experiences for teachers.
Our school and community partnerships provide a strong foundation for our NCATE-approved initial and advanced licensure programs in secondary education. Both the MTF and TF aspects of the S2TLC project are grounded in theory and practice that supports 1) shared learning, 2) leadership, 3) challenges to beliefs about science, mathematics, and learning, and 4) attention to the lives of students. These shared visions manifest as research based understandings of: 1) teacher learning, 2) development of communities of practice, 3) engagement of teachers in authentic use of mathematics and science in research, and 4) development of counter-narratives to negative perceptions of low SES and diverse students.
Project outcomes include:
* STEM teaching practices that are culturally responsive
* Vibrant CoPs
* Improved STEM teacher knowledge for teaching
* New models of mentoring and teacher leadership
* High quality STEM teachers attracted to and retained in high needs school districts
* STEM teachers connected to community and UMA resources
* Reflective communities of practice become a norm for MTFs, TFs and colleagues
* Community adoption of counter-narratives to the deficit model
* Contributions to educational knowledge base & literature
* Improved student engagement, retention, and achievement in high need schools
* Increased # of high quality STEM teachers for high needs secondary schools
* Supported teachers’ awareness of and connection to communities in which they teach
* Increased teacher content knowledge
* Developed teacher mentoring and leadership in f2f and VCoP environments
* Strengthened the teacher education program
* Recruited talented STEM teachers
The development of communities of practice within schools and across districts allows for long-term support and mutual mentoring beyond the life of the project and creates a major shift in how teachers of mathematics and the sciences understand and enact their practice. The layers of design reflect a complex view of teacher learning and development, which has the potential to offer new models for teacher education, professional development, school administration, and school-community relationships nationally as well as locally. The sustained, coordinated engagement of community partners in mathematics and science teaching and learning will lead to stronger community support for these studies and to shifts in community perceptions about the potential for students in high-needs schools to achieve in STEM fields. These together will support improved student engagement, retention, and achievement that carries from the school classroom, to the college classroom, and beyond.