A Noyce Program for Elementary and Middle School Mathematics Teachers
Funded by the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, Track 3: Master Teaching Fellowship
This NSF Noyce Track 3 project aims to serve the national interest by providing novel and important information regarding the impact of K-12 STEM teachers with a doctorate degree as instructional leaders in their schools and district. By applying research-informed and equitable policies, practices, and structures, the project intends to increase the capacity and expertise of K-8 mathematics teachers to serve as leaders in their schools and districts. The project has the potential to incentivize, build precedence for, and professionalize the value of mathematics teachers with doctoral degrees in K-12 school settings, where research and practice can be readily linked. The 15 participating teachers (known as the Noyce Fellows) will earn an EdD in Curriculum and Instruction with a Specialization in K-8 Mathematics Education. They will also comprise the University of Central Florida-Orange County Public Schools Noyce Teacher Leader Academy.
This project aims to advance the impact of the Noyce Fellows by increasing their:
- ability, knowledge, and social justice mindset;
- mathematical content knowledge;
- pedagogical content knowledge, and;
- leadership capacity.
This project at the University of Central Florida includes partnerships with Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), and City Year Orlando. The project is a transformative endeavor that will, through the 15 Noyce Fellows’ dissertation studies, produce a broad collection needed studies to inform the practical implementation of the four key recommendations outlined in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Catalyzing Change framework. The project will serve as an innovative model for empowering STEM teachers with earned doctorates and increasing diversity of teachers in STEM fields. The UCF-OCPS Noyce Teacher Leader Academy aims to directly impact more than 200 additional K-8 mathematics teachers, more than 30 administrators, the estimated 9000 students in the schools where the Noyce Fellows teach, more than 200 City Year Orlando young adults, and 2000 students served by City Year Orlando.
The K-8 Mathematics Education Specialization within the Curriculum and Instruction EdD is designed for teachers, teacher leaders, coaches, and administrators with positions connected to elementary/middle school mathematics who desire to improve the quality of teaching and learning in grades K-8 mathematics. The specialization is structured as cohorts of graduate students who engage in synchronous learning in a virtual setting. The cohorts are guided by faculty who are nationally recognized experts in the fields of mathematics education and integrated STEM education.
The program is designed to be completed in three years and includes 57 credit hours of course work and dissertation hours. The specialization in K-8 Mathematics Education is built on the foundational belief that each and every student deserves an education that is equitable, just, and inclusive.
K-8 Mathematics Education graduates will be:
- Equipped to serve as leaders in elementary/middle school mathematics education.
- Prepared and positioned with the tools needed to contest injustices in their educational settings.
- Able to work as change agents for the systemic restructuring necessary in schools, districts, and public policies related to elementary/middle school mathematics education.
- MAE 7805 Policies, Practices, and Structures in K-8 Mathematics Education
- MAE 7817 Content Knowledge for Teaching K-8 Mathematics I
- MAE 7930 Seminar in K-8 Mathematics Education
- MAE 7804 Content Knowledge for Teaching K-8 Mathematics II
- MAE 7367 Instructional Coaching in K-8 Mathematics
- MAE 7819 Professional Leadership in K-8 Mathematics
UCF-OCPS Noyce Teacher Leader Academy
The UCF-OCPS Noyce Teacher Leader Academy is organized by three interconnected and synergistic components: Multilayered Coaching Cycles, Repositioning Mathematics as a Gateway, and Mentoring Underrepresented STEM Education Professionals. The Teacher Leader Academy provides a structure and support for teachers to apply what they have learned in the EdD program in their urban classroom settings. The UCF-OCPS Noyce Teacher Leader Academy aims to directly impact K-8 mathematics teachers, administrators, students in the schools where the Fellows teach, City Year Orlando Corps Members, and students served by City Year Orlando.
The Teacher Leader Academy provides a scaffolded approach to Fellows leading professional development through a long-term, sustained, and iterative plan. Application of research and development of practice will occur in the Fellows’ own classrooms and also within the City Year Orlando program. Through the partnership with City Year Orlando, Fellows will have the opportunity to apply their learning as professionals in STEM with City Year Orlando Corps Members who work with small groups of students in a supportive setting.
The multilayering within the iterative coaching cycles includes:
- Fellows as Researchers developing expertise and conducting research related to their practice
- Fellows as Catalysts for Coherence working with administrators and instructional coaches
- Fellows as Peer Coaches providing mentoring for colleagues and City Year Orlando Corps Members
The Teacher Leader Academy positions fellows to positively impact mathematics education in the K-8 setting through development of the specific tools and techniques necessary to catalyze change. Fellows engage in professional development focused on actualizing K-8 mathematics as a cornerstone to secondary mathematics by positioning students as critical thinkers and doers of mathematics.
Fellows receive professional development and support in the following areas:
- Establishing learning environments that cultivate deeper understandings of mathematics.
- Strengthening problem solving skills to provide all students entry points and access to build solutions to a variety of mathematical problems.
- Developing productive persistence in K-8 students that positions students as capable to overcome minor setbacks.
- Improving communication skills, so that mathematical ideas may be explored appropriately.
Over the course of the five-year project, Fellows in the Teacher Leader Academy engage in a series of mentoring opportunities at UCF, their school sites, and within the school district. Fellows recruited for the program come from underrepresented populations in STEM and receive intentional support through targeted mentoring from the UCF-OCPS Noyce STEM Leadership team. The Fellows, in turn, are guided to mentor their building-level colleagues, as well as City Year Orlando Corps Members, many of whom are also from underrepresented populations. Through the utilization of a gradual release model, by the end of the five years, Fellows are positively positioned to continue the cycle of mentorship with teachers and City Year Orlando Corps Members. This positioning of the Fellows, their teacher colleagues, and the City Year Orlando Corps Members will impact the STEM field in tangible ways (e.g., all students having access to challenging mathematics and science courses in K12, more teachers with an equity and excellence mindset for STEM and STEM education, etc.)
Yeidi Diaz ReyesFellow
Joslyn M. VilabreraFellow
National Science Foundation (NSF), Award Abstract #2050606
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the project team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation