|Funding Agency||National Science Foundation|
With support from the NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, this Track 1: Scholarships and Stipends project aims to serve the national need for preparing high quality biology and mathematics teachers. A recent assessment by the Pennsylvania Department of Education indicates significant teacher shortages in mathematics and in life and physical sciences. The shortages are most acute in high-need school districts, which disproportionately serve students from low-income and underrepresented populations. This project will help to address these shortages by recruiting, preparing, and supporting 20 diverse, academically-talented STEM students to teach mathematics and science in high-need school districts. The resulting Scholars will earn a bachelor's degree in biology or mathematics, and will meet the eligibility qualifications for Pennsylvania secondary teaching certification in biology or mathematics. The project will achieve these outcomes by providing biology and mathematics majors with scholarships and other support including: significant field service in a high-need local education agency; professional identity development; seminars and workshops on cultural, linguistic, and academic disparity delivered by experienced teachers from the partnering school districts; intensive mentoring that extends into the first two years of each Scholar's teaching career; and, early, expanded student-teaching experiences, including an innovative, three-week "Maymester" immersion at the beginning of Scholars' junior year.
Over a five-year period, the project aims to (1) recruit, retain, and graduate 20 high-quality and diverse biology and mathematics majors with secondary education certification; (2) enrich and prepare highly effective STEM teachers who are specifically trained to work in high-need schools; (3) place 100% of project graduates in high-need schools; and (4) institutionalize the project's successful supplemental and programmatic elements. Scholars will be recruited from Marywood's mathematics and biology undergraduates, as well as from students who transferred from community colleges in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Susquehanna Counties. In addition to collaborating with community colleges, Marywood is also partnering with high need school districts of Carbondale, Forest City, Riverside, and Scranton. As the project progresses, the project will evaluate the new teacher preparation curriculum and activities, with emphasis on the efficacy of the early student-teaching experience provided by the innovative Maymester activity. This project will also examine the effects of the Maymester activity on the Scholar's view of their preparedness for practicum and student teaching and their view of teaching in a high-need district. Studying the impact of the Maymester activity will add to the knowledge of best practices in preparing future STEM teachers for the classroom. Through publications and both regional and national meetings, the PIs will disseminate findings from the curriculum assessment, Maymester field experience, and other project activities. Long-term, the project is positioned to help address Pennsylvania's shortage of STEM teachers and its educational disparities for low-income and underrepresented students. The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers, and supports experienced, exemplary K-12 STEM teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. It also supports research on the persistence, retention, and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.