- Year 2022
- NSF Noyce Award # 1950255
- First Name Sharon
- Last Name Vestal
- Discipline Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Larry Browning, Matt Miller, Madhav Nepal, & P. Troy White
Sharon Vestal, South Dakota State University
Given that our program is in a rural setting, the lessons learned will be helpful to other rural Noyce programs as our struggles are likely different than those programs in urban areas. Our program has spanned 14 years and has had continued success. While we have had to make adjustments throughout our program, building community has remained a central focus of the project and is our biggest strength.
How can we continue to recruit and support highly-qualified math and science teachers?How can we strengthen our partnerships with districts and state agencies?What impact has Covid had on our Noyce program and alumni?
Our conference survey data shows that teachers encounter more daily stress in their jobs, leading us to ask, “How can we help them cope with the added stress and support them so that they remain in the classroom?” Perhaps somewhat unique to South Dakota is that many of our alumni maintained in-person teaching during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years. This brought unique challenges to these teachers so we are concerned about their stress levels. We plan to have our alumni complete an online survey about the impact of COVID-19 and how they have coped in the face of adversity.
We will illustrate our alumni numbers, those still in teaching, and those with graduate degrees. We will present some of our results of our alumni survey. We will also discuss our school district partnerships and state agency partnerships and outcomes of those. In addition, we will share outreach activities to encourage preservice teachers and recruit new teachers.
As a rural Noyce program, our retention rate in teaching and in other educational roles is high. We hope that our survey and work with state agency partners in building a data warehouse on teacher retention may offer some insights as to the aspects of our program that drive these numbers. Additionally, since many of our rural teachers taught in-person during the pandemic, we have the opportunity to retrospectively understand their unique stressors and the impact of these on their personal and professional lives.