Strengthening Mathematics Instructions for Elementary and Middle Schools
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With support from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce), this Track 1: Scholarships and Stipends project at Texas A&M University (TAMU) aims to serve the national need of preparing high-quality teachers for high-need school districts. Elementary and middle school instruction is critical for fostering student interest in STEM subjects at early stages, and mathematics lies at the core and foundation of most STEM fields. However, many elementary and middle school teachers feel unprepared and lack confidence in teaching mathematics. This project will specifically respond to this need. The work will be done through a collaboration between the Mathematics Department and the College of Education at TAMU and in partnership with the Grand Prairie Independent Scholl District. It will provide solid preparation in mathematics and pedagogy that are aligned with school mathematics. Noyce Scholars will have opportunities to work with K-8 students through the mathematics department Summer Education Enrichment Math Camp and academic year Math Circle. Clinical practice in high-need schools will be provided through a partnership with the Grand Prairie Independent School District and other high-need schools. All TAMU Noyce Scholars at the undergraduate level will obtain a baccalaureate degree in mathematics as well as teacher certification upon graduation. Individuals who already have a STEM degree will be supported in a post-baccalaureate year as they complete teacher licensure. Over the five-year duration of the award, the project aims to produce 37 new, certified mathematics teachers who will teach in high-need elementary and middle schools in urban and rural regions of Texas. The project will recruit potential Noyce Scholars through multiple channels: 1) by providing informal teaching experiences to potential first and second year STEM undergraduates and STEM post-baccalaureates to gain initial teaching experience; 2) by working with Blinn College, Houston Community College, Lone Star College and the University of Houston to provide information for prospective teachers interested in coming to Texas A&M University; and 3) by utilizing the expansive network of the Association of Former Students to contact former STEM graduates of Texas A&M. The project will provide a strong mathematical and culturally responsive pedagogical training. This is particularly important in Texas where 68.5% or more teachers have no major or certification in mathematics and more than 65% of the school age population are students of color. The project will continue to support Noyce Scholars in their first-year of teaching through a partnership with the high-need school district. The results from this project will be disseminated broadly through research conferences and high-impact journals, practitioner conferences, and school administrator conferences and meetings. The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and 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.