- Year 2019
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660653
- First Name Katherine
- Last Name Stickney
- Discipline Biology, Chemistry, Math
Kimberly Baker, University of Indianapolis, firstname.lastname@example.org; Deborah Sachs, University of Indianapolis, email@example.com
Kimberly Baker, University of Indianapolis, firstname.lastname@example.org; Katherine Stickney, University of Indianapolis, email@example.com; Deborah Sachs, University of Indianapolis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentors represent the critical point of contact for support of new teachers. In a study of beginning math and science teachers, participants reported that assigned mentors were the greatest source of support (Friedrichsen, Chval, & Teuscher, 2007) and scholars with high levels of support were more likely to remain in high-need schools beyond program requirements (Kirchhoff & Lawrenz, 2011). Mentors also help novice teachers acquire skills that contribute to their teaching efficacy, which also contributes to their retention (Moseley et al., 2014). Once UIndy Noyce scholars are hired in an urban high-need school, the UIndy (STEM)^3 Program supports their development as highly effective secondary STEM teachers who can positively impact student engagement and achievement by providing two years of mentoring which serves as an extension of their urban clinical residency.
As stated above, mentors represent the critical point of contact for support of new teachers and contribute to the retention of new teachers.
Each candidate is assigned a content-area mentor, a practicing or retired master science or math teacher, who maintains regular contact with that candidate via in-person observations and/or through various technologies. Charlotte Danielson’s Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching (23) provides the framework for the mentoring sessions. Candidates also participate in two Saturday sessions per semester that feature workshops and critical conversations around pedagogy, content, successes, and challenges. Throughout the two years of required mentoring, the UIndy TS3 faculty and staff remain in regular contact with the leaders of the schools that have hired program graduates. Those school leaders receive a letter describing the candidate’s required mentoring component as a UIndy TS3 graduate and are invited to share concerns and opportunities (via a survey collected three times a year) with the candidate?s mentor.
Our current clinical residency program requires graduates to teach for two years in a high-need school and to participate in UIndy-provided mentoring for two years. In the past nine years of our mentoring-supported clinical residency program, we have graduated 87 new STEM teachers and followed their progression in their teaching career. Our overall three-year retention rate of 93% compares favorably to the three-year retention rate of 87.7% reported by the Beginner Teacher Longitudinal Study (BTLS) for public school teachers from 2007-2010. We will continue to track the retention of our graduates and collect their feedback about the mentoring process.
Numerous sources describe the growing teacher shortages and concerns with teacher retention as summarized by Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, and Carver-Thomas. Our Noyce scholars, as STEM teachers in high-need schools, have impacted over 450 students in just one year. Thus supporting and retaining these high impact teachers will ensure that multiple additional cohorts of students will receive high quality STEM instruction.