- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 2153754
- First Name Paige
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline STEM Education (general)
Rebecca Forrest, Ramona Mateer, Leah McAlister-Shields, Virginial Rangel
STEMPro will advance knowledge of recruiting, preparing, and retaining STEM professionals as secondary STEM teachers to teach in high-need school districts. With the critical need for highly effective secondary STEM teachers in the Houston area and across the nation coupled with the decrease in STEM teacher production in the Houston area, the need for teachers with expertise in these areas is burgeoning. The goal is to prepare a diverse group of teachers who will inspire students to become the next generation of the U.S.’s highly diverse STEM workforce. The components of the STEMPro program will expose preservice teachers enrolled in the accelerated teacher certification program to diverse environments early via ongoing field experiences, and through the culturally responsive and inquiry-based curriculum inclusive of a foundational classroom management course. This will better prepare preservice teachers to work with underserved populations. Preservice teacher Noyce recipients will receive mentoring and support for adopting and enacting a culturally responsive pedagogy into their STEM classes from Master Teacher Fellows of a Noyce track 3 grant and from teacher leaders from a UH Multicultural Grant who are specially prepared to teach in Houston’s urban classrooms. Moreover, the STEM Learning Community will create an atmosphere of support as they matriculate through the teacher preparation program. In addition, Noyce recipients certified from STEMPro, will be supported for the first three years of their careers through an induction program.
The grant team will add to the knowledge base in the following critically important areas: 1) classroom management; 2) STEM Learning Communities; and 3) inclusion of inquiry-based learning and more strategically infusing culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP), focusing on teaching materials and strategies that are aimed at social justice, global citizenry, and sociopolitical knowledge and action.
Both formative (years 1-4) and summative (year 5) evaluation will be used to assess the extent to which the project goals are met subsequent to and during implementation of program components, utilizing intertwined qualitative/quantitative methods. Formative evaluation will ensure effective program revisions during implementation; summative evaluation will determine the degree to which the program achieved its proposed outcomes, qualitatively and quantitatively.
Efforts are underway to recruit teachHOUSTON students to enroll in the accelerated pathway for teacher certification (ACP). teachHOUSTON staff hosted two virtual informational webinars detailing the ACP process and engaged participants in a question and answering session (See artifact 1). teachHOUSTON team members have also conducted classroom visits, hosted registration parties, participated in multiple career fairs and have sent out targeted emails and social media posts. Additionally, we hosted a VIP luncheon for partner districts that also provided information about our ACP program. Finally, we have presented our program to various district principals so they are informed and can share the ACP program with those on their campus and within their district. As a part of our recruitment efforts, we have also offered our applicants the opportunity to participate in the Vetted Teacher Program, a paid, year-long teacher residency with partner districts. This provides students an additional opportunity to receive funding on top of the scholarship money they would receive. They would receive an additional $20,000 in funding. Such a benefit will aid in our recruitment. We currently have 15 candidates that we have conditionally accepted and are waiting on the candidates to finalize the steps of the formal admittance process set out by the University of Houston. During the next year we will evaluate the recruiting strategies for effectiveness in recruiting highly qualified, diverse STEM professionals into the ACP program; examine student artifacts and gather interview/focus group data to determine to what extent the classroom management course improves students the ability to plan and execute classroom management that is culturally responsive and inquiry-based; determine what ways the STEM Learning Community (SLC) impacts our students’ ability to implement culturally responsive pedagogy; and survey our students about the SLC to determine how students’ self-efficacy has grown in working with underserved populations.
Through STEMPro partnerships, teachHOUSTON will provide 58 highly qualified STEM teachers to teach in high-need school districts in Greater Houston. In particular, the program will produce five cohorts of teachers for a total of 58 secondary STEM teachers. With over 500 hours of field-based experiences in high-need school districts, upon completion of the program, Noyce recipients will serve as teacher leaders in their schools/districts in incorporating pedagogy that is both inquiry-based and culturally responsive along with a classroom management system that aligns with these pedagogical approaches. Grant researchers will evaluate the impact of including a classroom management course that is both inquiry-based and culturally responsive and add missing pieces to the STEM education knowledge base. In addition, they will determine how a STEM Learning Community (SLC) supports teacher preparation and retention. Products developed from the accelerated pathway including the Classroom Management Course, the SLC, recruiting endeavors, and induction events will be disseminated locally, nationally, and internationally through presentations, demonstrations, and publications at education and STEM conferences. Faculty will collaboratively work with the Noyce recipients to ensure that they employ research-based promising practices to deepen their knowledge and positively influence the career paths of young students, especially underserved students of color, to be a part of the future STEM workforce.