- Year 2017
- NSF Noyce Award # 1540848
- First Name Charles
- Last Name Granger
- Discipline Other: STEM, STEM
Keith Miller, University of MO – St. Louis, email@example.com
Nicolle von der Heyde, University of MO – St. Louis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phyllis Balcerzak, University of MO – St. Louis, email@example.com
The need for high quality STEM teachers in high need secondary schools persists. There are 4,850 STEM secondary teachers in the state of Missouri with an average annual turnover rate of 6.4%, resulting in a demand of 310 new STEM teachers each year. The need is especially immediate in the school districts located in a 5-mile radius of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), an urban campus whose on-going service to these districts, with a STEM teacher turnover rate of 15%, is responding to a renewed sense of urgency prompted by the recent events in Ferguson, MO. These populations of students and the surrounding communities, joined by UMSL?s initiation of major efforts, are highly motivated to recover from civic unrest and build on strengths.
The goals for the UMSL Noyce Scholars: Building Excellence in STEM Talent (BEST) Program include meeting the following objectives:
* Objective 1 – Increase recruitment and retention of STEM educators in high need school districts.
* Objective 2 – Construct collaborations between STEM professors in the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S), College of Education (COE) faculty, corporate outreach educators, and secondary teachers/administrators to improve the effectiveness of educators to prepare students for STEM careers.
* Objective 3 – Establish a mentor support system for UMSL BEST scholars from year-1 in the program through a two-year induction period in high need schools.
* Objective 4 – Implement a research plan that articulates a model for the preparation and improvement of STEM teaching and learning in dynamic high need schools.
The UMSL BEST program is preparing up to 21 new post-baccalaureate students in three cadres for careers as secondary STEM educators in high need local education agencies. Each semester, in addition to the COE Studio School model, the UMSL BEST scholars attend a bi-weekly seminar called InnoLab, which allows them to deepen their research experience from A&S STEM courses, practice the instructional design component of the COE courses, and strengthen lesson collaboration and reflection between the scholars. The UMSL BEST program incorporates the Studio School and InnoLab so that Scholars can meet for collaborative lesson design, exchange, feedback, and reflection, thus helping build collaborative lessons/projects for their students. The InnoLab brings those with expertise in STEM content, teaching, career, and community into the lesson design and instruction process of the novice teacher candidates.
The UMSL BEST program finishes year 2 having recruited 20 of the targeted 21 new STEM teachers. Five are full time teachers in high need schools, two have left the program and 14 are in the teacher preparation pipeline. Building on year 1, document analysis of teacher candidate scholars’ reflections at the beginning, middle, and end of year show how collaborative planning, feedback, and reflection increased their capacity to produce relevant, engaging lessons for students. For the five Noyce scholars hired as full-time teachers in high needs schools, data focused on the impact of two support structures, ?in situ? mentoring and video reflection of early classroom experiences using the Teaching Channel. Early findings indicate growth in both disposition and confidence in their ability to connect content objectives with student learning. Partnerships with Studio Schools (St. Louis Public, Ferguson-Florissant SD) have led to the hiring of three pre-service Noyce scholar teachers.
The UMSL BEST Noyce Scholarship program will impact STEM teacher preparation in the COE and ultimately students? STEM learning and access to STEM careers. Involving a broad community of stakeholders in the collaborative design of relevant instructional projects will impact pre- and in-service teachers as well as university faculty. Twenty one newly certified STEM teachers with on-going access to professional support from COE and CAS will be in high need classrooms. The project will impact the local community through partnerships with Studio Schools and community outreach programs such as the Association of Black Scientists. The research will produce and disseminate a model for the co-construction of STEM projects that reach from classrooms to community, with a plan to transfer this model to other high need schools. This project will advance our understanding of how collaborative processes can bring diverse stakeholders to bear on the improvement of STEM teaching and learning.