- Year 2023
- NSF Noyce Award # 1660713
- First Name John
- Last Name Stewart
- Discipline Chemistry, Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics
Nancy Spillane, Matt Campbell, Jeffrey Carver, Gay Stewart
West Virginia is chronically on of the most educationally and economically disadvantaged state in the US. The need to move the WV economy into the 21st century is critical and requires a STEM trained workforce. This proposal will support at least 25 additional new high school teachers with $14,500 scholarships annually, up to two years. It leverages the internal expertise in the WVU Center for Excellence in STEM Education, coupled with the implementation of a UTeach replication site (WVUteach), to fulfill an institutional commitment to increase the number of STEM teachers produced both in the short and long term.
This project seeks to answer the following questions: 1) How does Noyce scholarship support affect the growth of the teacher preparation program in an economically challenged state? 2) Is NAPE micromessaging training effective in preparing teachers for rural classrooms? 3) Do highly qualified teachers improve student success in the rural classroom?
WVUteach-Noyce implements a promising strategy for preparing teachers to serve in high-need classrooms and will aid in its dissemination. The project supports the rapid expansion of WVU’s new four-year STEM teacher preparation program, WVUteach, by providing scholarships to STEM majors to go into teaching while also implementing a partnership to provide relevant cultural competence, pedagogical knowledge and disposition to our students and the mentor teachers that will support them as they learn to teach in high-need Appalachian schools. Both lead to sustainable outcomes that will be addressed in this proposal. WVUteach is supported by a leadership team with a proven record of successful recruitment and retention of STEM teacher candidates, particularly in the high shortage areas of physics and chemistry.
In its fifth year, WVUteach has graduated its second full cohort of teachers. However, attrition due to the financial challenges all too common to WV students is a barrier to program growth. Financial challenges are often encountered because WV students do not receive adequate preparation at the high school level to enter calculus their freshman year. This extends their time to degree which causes them to exhaust their four-year scholarships before graduation. WVUteach-Noyce will provide a financial solution for some students in the short term while WVUteach provides the long-term solution of a better trained STEM teacher workforce. The NAPE micromessaging curriculum is fully integrated in the WVUteach program. We began evaluation of its effectiveness with qualitative and quantitative research this year.
The project will support 25 desperately needed math and science teachers while integrating a promising professional development activity for teaching in the high needs classroom into the UTeach curriculum.
The 25 teachers (and the support for the growth of the program which will produce more teachers) will dramatically impact the educational outcomes of the children of West Virginia. The micro-messaging professional development, if proven efficacious, could be disseminated to all UTeach replication sites.
Five years of evaluation data show the NAPE micromessaging curriculum embedded in the UTeach model produces significant increases in the students understand of equity and privilege. The curriculum alignment with the UTeach model could be replicated at other UTeach institutions.
Twenty-three STEM future teachers (nine mathematics, four chemistry, eight biology, and two physics; eleven men and twelve women) have been supported to date. Sixteen have graduated and have received certification. These teachers are impacting students across the Appalachian region. The NAPE micromessaging curriculum integrated into UTeach provides a possible model to increase equity at many institutions.