- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1759454
- First Name Paige
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline STEM Education (general)
Jennifer Chauvot, Mariam Manuel
Paige Evans, Alissandre Robbins
Although teacher education programs and professional development for practicing teachers provide preparation for teaching children from historically underrepresented cultures, application of that knowledge in the classroom is often inconsistent and ineffective because a theory-practice disconnect frequently occurs. The missing component is professional development in culturally relevant pedagogy, paired with on-site training with teachers. The Greater Houston area consists of an urban core surrounded by satellite communities and, as such, the need to develop and retain quality secondary STEM teachers within this region is critical. Moreover, in the most diverse city in the U.S., that is home to significant numbers of students living in poverty (85% or more in Houston), there also exists a need for secondary STEM teachers steeped in the knowledge of culturally responsive teaching. This Noyce MTF program will address these disparities through the following objectives: (1) retain STEM teachers in high-need school districts; (2) cultivate teacher leaders in high-needs districts to mentor preservice teachers and work collaboratively with in-service teachers who are focused on implementing STEM disciplines through culturally responsive teaching in secondary classrooms; and (3) build a cadre of STEM teacher leaders that are equipped to advocate for change at the local, regional and national platform.
UH-LEAD’s objectives are to retain STEM teachers in high-need school districts; to cultivate teacher leaders in high-need school districts to mentor preservice teachers and work collaboratively with in-service teachers; and to build a cadre of STEM teacher leaders in high-need school districts who are equipped to be advocates of change at the local, regional and national levels. Goals will be met through: (1) providing support for 30 Master Teacher Fellows (MTFs) with tuition and fees of $18,000 through a 14-month master’s program with an emphasis in STEM Education; (2) providing MTFs an annual salary supplement of $10,000 for four years subsequent to completing the master’s program; (3) providing ongoing face-to-face and virtual professional development that includes culturally responsive teaching in STEM and instructional coaching in STEM; (4) creating a UH-LEAD Academy where MTFs will assume leadership roles in facilitating culturally responsive teaching with preservice STEM teachers and in-service teachers in their schools/districts; and (5) collaborating with NMSI to provide professional development on a national stage.
This Noyce Track 3 grant is grounded in the conceptual framework of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP). CRP is a major concept in urban and multicultural education and uses cultural knowledge, prior experience, frames of reference, and performance styles of underrepresented students to make learning encounters more relevant. In partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative (NSMI) and the Greater Houston high-need school districts, this project recruited and prepared 30 secondary STEM teachers to serve as teacher-leaders on campuses populated with underrepresented students. The experiences of designing/delivering professional development locally is preparing MTFs to transition to the national stage through the partnership and support of NMSI. Through the master’s program in STEM Education, professional development opportunities, and instructional coaching, MTFs are better prepared to teach in local urban classrooms and support both preservice and in-service teachers.
During the past year, MTFs were provided with a variety of face-to-face and virtual professional development opportunities during Spring 2022, Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023. To demonstrate various practices they are employing in their classrooms, MTFs submitted artifacts of classroom enactments, providing evidence of the infusion of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) and STEM pedagogical practices. We provided leadership opportunities for MTFs to mentor culturally responsive pedagogy as well as STEM and pedagogical knowledge through mentorship opportunities with both pre-service and in-service teachers. These leadership opportunities occurred through a variety of events. For example, our MTFs presented at the New Teacher Academy, a key part of the teachHOUSTON induction program, in training and supporting both pre-service and novice teachers in CRP, inquiry instruction, and other STEM related research-based practices. Additionally, MTFs were afforded the opportunity to present at the UH-REACH summer professional development events, which included submitting a conference proposal to the UTeach Summer Conference, present at the STEM RISE professional development for pre-service STEM teachers, and the BIORETS professional development for in-service science teachers.
Results have been shared through conference presentations, digital stories, and book chapters (published and in-press). The MTFs have also designed and conducted professional developments for their schools/districts. In the past year, there were 3 publications, 6 publications in review, and 13 conference presentations.
In the upcoming year, we will plan and host the LEAD Houston Summer 2023 Professional Development Institute where MTFs will get exposure into policy and policy advocacy. They will be asked to schedule a meeting with local and state-level professionals engaged in educational policy. Prior to this actual meeting the MTFs will share which individual/organization they are targeting and what questions they intend to ask and why it is important to them. MTFs will also conduct professional development for Summer 2023.
UH-LEAD has the potential to provide 30 STEM teacher-leaders in the Greater Houston Area with rich opportunities to engage in innovative STEM teaching by embedding culturally responsive teaching in their classrooms. Through the master’s program in STEM Education, professional development opportunities, and instructional coaching, MTFs will be better prepared to teach in Houston’s urban classrooms and support both preservice and in-service teachers in adopting the culturally responsive teaching philosophy, which resonates well with underserved learners who tend to be diverse and from high poverty households. Moreover, the experiences of designing and delivering professional development locally will prepare fellows to transition to the national stage through the partnership and support of NMSI. Thus, other preservice teacher education programs, including but not limited to the forty-five national UTeach replication sites, will be better informed with practiced-based and research-informed methods to address equity in their programs. The combination of grounding STEM instruction in culturally responsive pedagogies, and utilizing this knowledge to address equity and learning disparities in STEM education will form a model of instruction for other UTeach replication sites and elsewhere, given NMSI’s platform, focus and reach. The next step in this program is to prepare fellows in policy and advocacy development at the state level.