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  1. Bo Idsardi
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Eastern Washington University
  1. Jacqueline Coomes
  2. Associate Dean, Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Eastern Washington University
  1. Ashley Lamm
  2. Associate Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Eastern Washington University

Developing and Supporting Excellence in STEM Teaching: A Regional Collaborati...

NSF Awards: 1660606

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Adult learners

This video presents Eastern Washington University's Track 1 NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Our project recruits and supports highly qualified math and science students to become highly effective teachers in high-needs schools. We present a brief overview of the project, with a focus on the support we provide graduates in their first two years in the classroom. This aspect of the project is an induction program, and supports early career teachers through a continuation of the learning community fostered during teachers’ undergraduate programs and a focus on Bridging Practices. Bridging Practices are central tasks that support preservice and early career teachers as they transition from being students to teachers during their first years in the classroom. These practices emphasize student learning, content taught in the classroom, collaborative work with peers, and deliberate instructional decisions. The project aims to prepare early career teachers to be life-long learners by providing them skills to develop various knowledge bases needed for teaching in high-needs schools.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (20 posts)
  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 10, 2021 | 08:03 p.m.

    Hi all,

    Thank you for joining our presentation on recruiting and supporting secondary STEM teachers. This project focuses on developing future STEM teachers that can support students in high needs schools. The 5-year project is currently in year 4, and so far we have supported 35 STEM education students through scholarships and program activities!

    We welcome any discussion on our project and/or topics related to recruiting and supporting STEM preservice teachers. We’re also interested in hearing about participants’ experiences with effective recruiting practices for preservice STEM teachers, and your experiences working with early career teachers in high needs schools.

    Thank you!

     
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    Ateng' Ogwel
    Catherine Horn
  • Icon for: Ateng' Ogwel

    Ateng' Ogwel

    Researcher
    May 18, 2021 | 02:07 p.m.

    Thanks Bo and team for sharing your project on empowering teachers to support STEM learning. I'll be visiting your project site to learn on how you conceptualized 'high needs schools' and how you balanced supply and demand parameters in the project 

  • Icon for: Christine Royce

    Christine Royce

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 07:23 a.m.

    Hi Bo and all NOYCE scholars at Eastern Washington University. 

    Congrats on a successful program to prepare STEM educators for a rural, high needs area.  The challenges associated with finding, preparing, and supporting educators who are committed bringing engaging and rigorous instruction to ALL students are many and you named a few of them in your narrative. 

    In your overall description, you discussed "bridging" practices and Natasha described several activities in which they've become involved in both the regional area and within the school such as Science Olympiad.  I'm curious to know if any of your graduates have identified specific bridging activities from their preservice days that they found to be the most useful in their transition into a classroom?  Also, can you describe if you’ve brought graduates back to work with those currently in the program and how that went as well. 

    Thank you in advance.

    Christine

     
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    Janelle Johnson
    Bo Idsardi
    Catherine Horn
  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 08:34 p.m.

    Hi Christine, 

    We have regularly had alumni come back to share with current Noyce scholars during monthly meetings we host. Alumni have shared about their experiences during student teaching, applying for jobs, and their first years as teachers, often sharing video or activities they implemented. Scholars have enjoyed and learned a lot from those discussions. 

    Based on informal discussions with scholars, early field experiences and opportunities to get exposure to diverse ideas (e.g., teaching assistantships in non-majors courses, outreach events, summer STEM camps) have been particularly formative activities to develop the Bridging Practices. Both activities are enhanced with structured reflection or discussion on the specific bridging practices, with one practice usually emphasized in an instance. For example, we encourage scholars in biology to TA in introductory biology labs and have weekly meetings with TAs to analyze the previous lab and prepare for the upcoming lab. These field experiences often expose scholars to a range of different ways of thinking about concepts that may vary substantially from how scholars thought about these concepts as high school or undergraduate students. We have a project planned for the next several years that will look at various resources (e.g., social, material, human, etc.) that scholars use in their initial years teaching that should shed more light on this question!

    Thank you for your comments, and we’d welcome you or others to share activities or experiences you’ve found to be formative in supporting the transition from preservice to early career teacher.

    Bo

     
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    Janelle Johnson
    Catherine Horn
  • Icon for: Christine Royce

    Christine Royce

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 01:32 p.m.

    Thanks Bo for the response -- it sounds like there is a good "give back" "feedback" loop as part of the program that has been implemented.

    Christine

     
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    Janelle Johnson
  • Icon for: Janelle Johnson

    Janelle Johnson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2021 | 04:28 p.m.

    I really appreciate this discussion thread. I know I always struggle with finding the balance between making theories of teaching and learning accessible to teacher candidates, and making sure they can identify the theoretical bases of the practices they are employing. Do you have any specific advice for this challenge?

    Janelle

  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 18, 2021 | 06:03 p.m.

    Hi Janelle, 

    This is a struggle we have as well, especially since the timing of our initial STEM methods courses is often before students are placed in K-12 classrooms. We currently have students conduct weekly reflections when they are placed during a science education capstone course. This course is in winter quarter when they are spending ~18 hours in their placement, but before full time student teaching in spring. The rubric explicitly asks students to connect their observations to the concepts and theories in the methods courses, which helps but there are many opportunities for connections that students don't identify in their reflections (though they may still understand the underlying theory). In the course we usually start each class session having students share reflections, and then I share particular experiences, challenges, celebrations, etc. from reflections that were not already shared by the students that I think would serve valuable learning experiences for the class to discuss. I let students know beforehand so they can note if they'd like an experience kept out of the class discussion, and always keep the experiences I share anonymous. 

    I'm also interested in what others do during student teaching or post-methods courses (perhaps even into induction programs) to help support early career teachers in developing these connections between theory from methods courses and practice in the classroom!

     
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    Janelle Johnson
  • Icon for: Janelle Johnson

    Janelle Johnson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2021 | 06:58 p.m.

    Hi Bo, 

    Just for context, your cohort model is much different than ours. Students at our university often work full time and/or have families, take 6-8 years to complete their degree, and/or come to us as post-bacs. It does add some challenges to our program design. 

    I teach the secondary science methods class just before student teaching and this is the exact issue I've been wrestling with, especially as I reflect on the challenges our student teachers face. In our preparation program, they do lots of lesson and unit planning, but they have limited opportunities to try those out until they are student teaching. Also, the units are pretty big-picture focused, and candidates often report that schools don't teach in the same kind of 3-4 week units we coach them in. The three clinical fields they have prior to student teaching give them a bit of exposure, but there is a lot of room for growth in helping them feel truly prepared for student teaching, in my opinion.

    I want to completely overhaul my methods syllabus. What I am hoping to do is help them apply theoretical readings to modifying actual lesson plan segments, then doing peer mini-teach sessions so they can practice and get feedback. I *think* that could help make the practice/theory connections more explicit and concrete. Does that make sense? I'd love to hear your thoughts (or anyone else reading this.) : )

    Gratefully,

    Janelle

  • Icon for: Jill Berg

    Jill Berg

    Facilitator
    Leadership Coach, School Improvement Consultant & Author
    May 12, 2021 | 09:08 a.m.

    This project make novel use of NSTA resources and extends candidates’ learning with Bridging Practices in a way that promises to serve prospective STEM teachers well.  

    As I think about the title of your project, I’m intrigued to learn more about your strategies for diversifying the teaching pipeline, as well as for ensuring your grads are satisfied and retained in the profession.  Have you thought about forging partnerships with the districts in which they’re likely to be hired? 

    best,

     

    Jill

     
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    Bo Idsardi
    Catherine Horn
  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 08:10 p.m.

    Thank you Jill!

    One productive strategy has been our partnership with local community colleges to recruit and provide early advising on their campuses to students potentially interested in STEM education. We do provide 2-years of induction support for scholars, including regular virtual meetings and the option for classroom observations, activities, etc. For example, two scholars were having difficulty with classroom management their first year and Noyce faculty went into their classrooms multiple times to support scholars. Our partnerships with local districts are primarily focused on the preservice scholars, but that's a great idea to work more closely with districts on collectively supporting the induction scholars after graduating! Have you used this strategy or do you know of any examples of this partnership? 

    Bo

  • Icon for: Jill Berg

    Jill Berg

    Facilitator
    Leadership Coach, School Improvement Consultant & Author
    May 17, 2021 | 04:11 p.m.

    Hi Bo:

    Yes-- in Massachusetts its increasingly common for institutions of teacher preparation to continue to support career induction after graduation.  They might assign mentors, incentivize participation in reflection cohorts, or have growth-oriented alumni events. 

    As an example, you can read about the Boston Teacher Residency's Early Career Network here.

     

    Best,

    Jill

     
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    Bo Idsardi
  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 18, 2021 | 06:23 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing Jill! I look forward to looking at the Early Career Network in Boston. 

  • Icon for: Catherine Horn

    Catherine Horn

    Facilitator
    Moores Professor and Chair
    May 12, 2021 | 02:22 p.m.

    Thanks for the introduction to the exciting work happening at Eastern Washington University through your Noyce Track 1 grant. I especially appreciated that your video included the voices of several of your scholars; it was great to hear them talk directly to their experiences!

    I have two wonderings from your video. First, you mentioned that scholars encounter early field experiences with mentor teachers as part of the program. I would love to hear more about that. Is it a model similar to UTEACH, for example? Additional details would be welcome as the general approach is well-supported in the empirical literature. 

    The second wondering I have comes from a comment of one of your scholars. What kinds of post-completion collaborations have you seen (if any) among your scholar graduates? Are folks staying connected as a professional network of support, for example?

    Appreciate the work that is ongoing on behalf of students!

     

    Cathy

     
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    Janelle Johnson
    Bo Idsardi
  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 08:39 p.m.

    Hi Cathy, 

    Great questions! At EWU, the education program is set up so that traditionally students complete their content courses prior to their education courses and experiences. For example, a student might have 3 years of general education and science/math courses then a 4th year of education courses. In Noyce, we have scholars enter the field a year early. During this time, their first two quarters are ~18 hours total in the field, initially observing and working with students during classroom activities, and their third quarter is ~30 hours total, with students usually beginning to take on leadership roles in the classroom. Their time and responsibilities then continue to ramp up the following year in the formal education program. Separate from Noyce, I have piloted an Introduction to Science Education course that is a low-stakes, low-credit introduction with a volunteer component in local schools, based on the literature you reference. Students can enroll in this course anytime, so this might be comparable to Step 1 in the UTeach model. 

    For the graduates of our program, we host regular meetings during their first 2 years teaching (~2 per quarter). I think the scholars have found this particularly useful this year, in which they were all learning to teach in a variety of constantly changing contexts. They were able to share resources and effective strategies. We start each meeting with celebrations and challenges to foster those discussions. I could tell most scholars were working with a peer or small group outside these meetings as well (both peers from Noyce and from their general education cohorts). About half are teaching in rural schools where they are the only science teacher, so keeping them connected to a support network is a priority. I am not sure about their broader participation in professional networks, such as NSTA/Washington Science Teaching Association, and that'd be a great point to follow-up with scholars on and encourage in a future meeting with the scholar graduates!

    Thank you, 

    Bo

     
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    Janelle Johnson
  • Icon for: Christine Royce

    Christine Royce

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 14, 2021 | 10:50 a.m.

    Including meetings that bring back scholars sounds like a great idea to develop networks and help form support systems for the students.  

  • Icon for: Janelle Johnson

    Janelle Johnson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 12:51 p.m.

    Hello to a fellow Noyce program!

    Please describe how your induction program is structured. We struggle with this since our Teachers end up in a range of school districts that all require their own induction programs that often involve quite a heavy load.

    Thanks,

    Janelle

     
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    Bo Idsardi
  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 08:02 p.m.

    Hi Janelle, 

    Great point about the heavy load for our new teachers. We know they're often overwhelmed those first years, so are very careful about what we expect and how much time we ask of scholars. Our students are primarily in either an urban setting which has a heavier load of induction/PD within their district/school or are in very rural settings which have little demand in those areas but those teachers are often tasked with teaching 5-7 different preps (some across grades 6-12 as the only science or math teacher in their school). 

    With that being said, we focus primarily on maintaining the cohort community formed during Noyce and supporting them in the bridging practices to help them through this transition in ways they may not be getting from their schools/districts. We meet 2-3 times per quarter via Zoom, and I schedule the meetings ~2 weeks in advance to find a time that works for the most scholars. The meetings are set up where we first open the floor for scholars to share celebrations and challenges in their classes since our last meeting. In this time they share resources, commiserate/encourage, and learn from each other's experiences. We then explore one of the bridging practices, with activities/discussion to help apply that practice to their experiences. We also ask scholars if they have anything in particular they'd like us to explore during our meetings so we can prepare support accordingly. 

    Would love to hear what you and/or others are doing as well to help improve induction efforts!

    Bo

     
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    Janelle Johnson
  • Icon for: Janelle Johnson

    Janelle Johnson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2021 | 04:40 p.m.

    I love the combination of a social check-in combined with the bridging practices discussion. How many folks meet at a time? Now that our community has grown so much, we break into smaller discussion groups for more engagement. 

    Our strongest focus during induction is to help the scholars feel connected and supported. We have a Student Success Professional that is our primary contact, and then we use the near-peer visits as well (if you happened to see our video). But I think we will borrow your idea about incorporating bridging practices into our meetings. 

    Thank you!

    Janelle

  • Icon for: Bo Idsardi

    Bo Idsardi

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Professor
    May 18, 2021 | 06:32 p.m.

    Hi Janelle, 

    I enjoyed your video and am excited to share near peer mentoring with our Noyce team! 

    We usually have ~6-10 meeting at a time with the induction scholars. Part of that is the logistics of finding a time when scholars are available, which has been a struggle this year more than ever. We do use breakout rooms in Zoom to facilitate smaller discussions in meetings with current student scholars which are a larger group, but haven't used these with our smaller induction group this year. 

    What does your Student Success Professional entail? Do they conduct classroom observations, or more of someone who checks in with scholars regularly during their first year(s)? 

    Thanks for sharing!

    Bo

     
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    Janelle Johnson
  • Icon for: Janelle Johnson

    Janelle Johnson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2021 | 07:18 p.m.

    Hi Bo,

    I'm copying directly from the job description. We had one previous round and this is after revision: 

    "This person will provide direct service and support to Noyce U-STEM Scholars prior to and through the admission process, program completion, secondary teacher licensure, and during teaching service. Supporting the mission of the grant will include: developing strategies to recruit and retain STEM majors as potential teachers; providing guidance and mentoring for students pursuing STEM secondary teacher licensure and placement in high-need schools; and participating in relevant activities hosted by the Center for Advanced STEM Education (CASE). This is a three-quarter time, benefited position which is grant-funded, renewed annually based upon performance, and dependent on the availability of grant funds. The University is particularly interested in applicants who have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to broadening access to STEM pathways for under-represented groups."

    It was her voice on our video interviewing the scholars. She is...AMAZING. She actually went through our teacher licensure program relatively recently so she knows it and the institution well. I would informally describe her role as Mama Bear or a Scholar Shepard. But she has definitely been key to the success of our efforts so far.

    Janelle

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