- Year 2018
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660679
- First Name Patrick
- Last Name McGuire
- Discipline Other: STEM, STEM
Lisa Hines, UCCS, email@example.com
Robert Block, UCCS, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Christensen, UCCS, email@example.com
Christopher Cruz, Sabin Middle School, firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick McGuire, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, email@example.com
(a) The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) Noyce program is designed to equip undergraduate STEM majors and post-bacc STEM professionals with the requisite pedagogical content knowledge to be successful in high needs classrooms. Through this work we are also strengthening the pre- to in-service pipeline from UCCS to high needs classrooms.
(b) This project is important because it represents a mutually beneficial partnership between UCCS and three partner school districts. UCCS benefits include the ability to provide significant scholarship support to talented undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate STEM professionals. In-service mentor teachers from local partner districts, working in tandem with UCCS faculty to design Professional Learning Communities, are able to validate their own professional practice and share expertise with pre-service Noyce scholars.
(a) The goal of this project is to design mutually beneficial PLCs, mainly for our pre-service Noyce scholars, that are held monthly on the UCCS campus or at partner school districts. In addition to the primary goal of supporting Noyce scholars, we are discovering the secondary benefits that in-service STEM teachers (mentors) and university STEM faculty reap by attending and engaging in the monthly learning communities.
(b) PLCs, co-designed by in-service teachers, are being created and implemented to provide Noyce scholars with relevant, timely, and important information regarding teaching in a high needs classroom.
(a) In order to effectively design and implement the PLCs we have adopted a crowdsourced approach. In-service STEM teachers continue to work in tandem with UCCS STEM faculty to best meet the Noyce scholars’ needs. We began by administering a needs assessment survey (conducted in Google Forms) and focus groups to solicit Noyce scholars’ expectations for the PLCs.
(b) Using this data, Noyce project personnel designed a series of PLCs to specifically address scholars’ needs. Year 1 PLC topics evolved organically based on the needs of Noyce scholars, current events from our high-needs partner districts, and suggestions from UCCS Noyce faculty and in-service Noyce mentors.
(c) Year 1 PLC topics included Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), 504s, Analyzing Assessment Data, Classroom Management, and Bullying. A subset of PLCs included in-service guest teacher panels.
(a) The key outcomes of our project in year 1 include uncovering the mutual benefit of the mixed PLC model. Our model not only supports the development of pre-service Noyce scholars, but has also encouraged growth and reflection among the in-service Noyce mentors and affiliated UCCS faculty.
(b) Key deliverables from our program include a set of ten PLCs archived in a Google Drive infrastructure. Each PLC includes a set of Google Slides and associated activities specifically intended to support pre-service Noyce scholars.
(c) In year 2 of the program we intend to build upon the year 1 infrastructure and improve the quality of the PLC offerings. This will include, but is not limited to, adding associated research-based readings or videos (to be completed asynchronously), and extending the duration of the PLCs from 90 minutes to two hours. This was requested by the year 1 PLC participants to allow more time for meaningful interaction.
(a-b) The broader impacts of the mixed PLC model are significant. The primary benefits are reaped by UCCS Noyce scholars (e.g., gaining pedagogical content knowledge to teach in high needs schools). PLCs also provide an excellent opportunity for our scholars to interact with experienced teachers and administrators from high needs classrooms. A secondary, more indirect benefit of the PLCs has been observed by the affiliated in-service STEM teachers and UCCS faculty who have co-designed the activities. Through this work we have validated our our teaching practices or have challenged ourselves to grow professional. Mixed PLCs have also facilitated ‘boundary crossing’ allowing university faculty, in-service STEM teachers, and pre-service scholars to share collective wisdom and learn together.
(c) We will continue to disseminate the results of our PLC model at conferences and in year 2 of the program plan to expand the opportunity for additional pre- and in-service STEM teachers.