- Year 2016
- NSF Noyce Award # 1035273
- First Name Allan
- Last Name Feldman
- Discipline Mathematics, Science
Jeffrey Ryan, University of South Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mile Krajcevski, University of South Florida, email@example.com
Allan Feldman, University of South Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of South Florida (USF) Robert Noyce Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Program addresses the need for meeting the demand for highly qualified and effective teachers in mathematics and science. For the past ten years, the Florida State Board of Education has continued to report critical teacher shortages of middle and high school mathematics and science teachers. The USF Robert Noyce STEM Scholars Program has provided stipends of $30,000 each to 31 graduating seniors, recent graduates, and career changers, interested in earning a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and becoming certified to teach secondary (grades 6-12) math or science. The stipends allow individuals with a strong content background in science (biology, chemistry, earth/space science, and physics) or mathematics, and a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field, to become certified and eligible to be employed in Florida schools.
The objectives of the USF Robert Noyce STEM Scholars program are to:
** Recruit content knowledgeable STEM professionals to participate in a state-approved initial teacher certification MAT program for mathematics or science at the secondary level (grades 6-12).
** Prepare STEM professionals to be effective mathematics or science teachers of diverse learners in one of the following Tampa Bay area school districts (Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, or Sarasota).
** Provide pedagogical supports to USF Robert Noyce STEM Fellows throughout their first two years of teaching and engage USF STEM Fellows in ongoing professional development through non-coursework activities and experiences.
The MAT is completed in four semesters: 3 semesters of course work and a 1-semester internship. Preparation emphasizes the following parameters:
** Teaching science and mathematics with a focus on facilitating student learning, guided by evidence-based practices and by state and national standards (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2006, National Research Council, 1996, and Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Mathematics and Science, 2007).
** Developing a deep understanding of teaching and learning, especially with regards to teaching approaches and learning difficulties associated with learning particular topics in mathematics or science.
** Improving the science and mathematics majors’ ability to engage in and help others use tools and resources specific to math and science courses (e.g., graphing calculators, data analysis software, scientific probes, etc.).
** Providing institutional support throughout the required semester long Teaching Internship. During the internship, Noyce STEM Scholars receive support from a cooperating teacher at the local site as well as a supervisor from USF. This parallel supervision model allows scholars to receive feedback from experienced teachers and teacher educators with diverse perspectives.
** Engaging USF Scholars in ongoing professional development through non-coursework activities designed to develop a professional learning community that would provide long- term peer support. As a required part of the program, scholars complete a Practicum in Mathematics/Science Education course designed to give them opportunities to interact with peers, public school personnel, and university faculty regarding middle school and high-school instructional issues and related early field-based experiences. This seminar provides a support network for discussing concerns, sharing experiences, and assisting Scholars as they engaged in the process of becoming mathematics or science teachers.
To date, the USF Robert Noyce STEM Scholars Program has supplied 27 (20 science and 7 mathematics) teachers for Tampa Bay area school districts. The majority of Scholars employed in high needs schools reported feel well-prepared for teaching mathematics or science because of their Noyce program participation, mentioning the practicum experience as a critical element of their preparation. The almost unanimous belief of program participants that their own teacher preparation far exceed that of their teaching colleagues who were alternatively certified through other avenues is strong indication of the success of this program at USF.
The USF Robert Noyce STEM Scholars Program is providing a model for providing science and mathematics professionals with an attractive, viable and rewarding career path in secondary science or mathematics teaching. The program is also supplying high needs schools with exemplary science and mathematics teachers who deeply understand how to facilitate student learning especially with regards to teaching approaches and learning difficulties associated with learning particular topics in mathematics or science.