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Preparing STEM Teachers to Successfully Navigate the Urban to Rural Gradient

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  • MSUM Noyce: Grant Information

    Send us your questions at noyce@mnstate.edu.

    Minnesota State University Moorhead’s Robert Noyce Grant Project Summary

    School districts from rural regions in northwestern Minnesota are looking for secondary teachers with multiple licenses in math and science. High need districts in both urban and select rural communities have increasing numbers of students who need teachers with expertise in ESL The primary outcome of this capacity building proposal is the development of four innovative 5-year undergraduate dual licensure programs to address these needs: math/physics; life science/chemistry; math/ESL; and life science/ESL.

    Notable outcomes of this planning effort include 1) the establishment of strong partnerships between the grant recipient university, three 2-year institutions, a regional service cooperative, and a number of local high need school districts, 2) the development and piloting of a STEM major recruitment plan to consider teaching, and 3) the design of mentoring, administration, and evaluation plans in anticipation of the submission of a phase I teacher scholarship proposal in 2014.

    A team of five content and education faculty, along with science and math representatives from our community college partners and input from high need school districts, will work together to design the new licensure programs, prepare institutional and state approval applications, and establish articulation agreements. The principal investigators will serve as the Partnership Liaisons and facilitate partner interactions, in addition to creating the administration and evaluation plans. A Recruiting Liaison will work with faculty STEM club advisors and outreach coordinators to design and pilot a recruiting plan to attract STEM majors to the education field. A Mentoring Liaison will work with partners, including local high need school districts, to design an effective mentoring plan to ensure future scholarship recipients have the support they will need to teach successfully in a high need school district upon graduation. The Program Evaluator will interact with the participants through interviews and focus groups to ensure that the objectives have been reached in a timely fashion, and that the licensure programs and the recruiting, mentoring, administration, and evaluation plans demonstrate the desired level of effectiveness and compliance with the Noyce phase I teacher scholarship grant requirements.

    Intellectual Merit

    It is well known that there is a shortage of math and science teachers across the nation and in many states, including Minnesota. In addition, changing demographics, enrollments, and local financial challenges are requiring school districts to become more creative in the their choice of new hires in order to maximize their chances for effective, highly qualified teachers in areas of highest need. The proposed dual licensure programs allowing licensure in two areas of science, or math and science, will produce more knowledgeable, versatile teachers who will be able to effectively serve small, rural districts. The proposed licensure programs that combine coursework and field experiences in ESL will produce more skilled teachers able to respond to the current and growing needs of our K-12 student populations in high needs schools.

    Broader Impacts

    This capacity building effort will result in the development of a system of people, programs, and institutions that will work together to increase STEM teacher capacity by producing flexible and effective science and math teachers who are able and willing to teach in high need school districts. Ultimately, these efforts will benefit K-12 students by ensuring they have highly qualified math and science teachers.

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