- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1759454
- First Name Paige
- Last Name Evans
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematics, Other:STEM Teacher Preparation, Physics
Jennifer Chauvot, Mariam Manuel
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 will recruit and prepare 30 secondary STEM teachers to serve as teacher-leaders on campuses populated with underrepresented students. The experiences of designing/delivering professional development locally will prepare 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 will be better prepared to teach in local urban classrooms and support both preservice and in-service teachers.
For this past year, the Master Teacher Fellows (MTFs) were offered several professional development opportunities. They also extended their leadership by developing and implementing professional development to approximately 30 in-service teachers on culturally relevant pedagogy and inquiry-based instruction.
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.