According to a recent Economic Policy Institute paper, experienced, fully certified teachers are the most critical resource denied to many students, especially in high-needs school districts. Ithaca College’s Michael “Bodhi” Rogers and team recognizes this issue and, with the support of its second Robert Noyce Scholarship Program grant, is looking to counter it.
The more than $1.1 million grant allocated through the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Scholarship Program aims to help increase the number of highly qualified STEM educators. Building on the success of the first grant, this funding will expand recruitment efforts, improve student-centered instruction, foster a culture of continuous professional growth, and study teacher retention and success.
“The declining number of teachers in the STEM field comes at a cost to the kids in K-12,” said Cristina Gomez, an associate professor in IC’s mathematics and education departments. “So, one of our goals is to develop teachers who have a STEM background and understand ways to teach children in these areas.”
Forty-nine STEM bachelor’s degree holders will be provided stipends to complete a 13-month master’s level program, which includes working in local educational agencies that serve at least one high-needs school. Scholars will complete the requirements for teacher licensing in biology, chemistry, earth science, mathematics, physics or childhood education. They will also have the opportunity to participate in enhanced professional development activities such as teaching conferences, workshops for teaching in high-needs schools and a summer teaching workshop.
“We were very successful in recruiting and graduating teachers and supporting high-needs schools with the first grant,” said Peter Martin, an associate professor in the Department of Education. “However, we didn’t have the means to officially study the effect of the program. This grant will allow us to see what is successful and contribute more to the field.”