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Warner School receives a $3.25 million NSF grant to launch the Northeast Noyce Professional Learning Network

Warner receives NSF grant to launch the Northeast Noyce Professional Learning Network.
Advancing STEM education and supporting teachers in high-need schools

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $3.25 million grant to the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education to support the creation of a regional professional learning network in the Northeast United States. The new Northeast Noyce Professional Learning Network, an innovative initiative designed to foster the growth and support of highly effective STEM educators, will serve as a hub for early-career STEM teachers to connect and collaborate with STEM colleagues across the region, including experienced master teachers, providing professional development opportunities to enhance K-12 teaching and learning. 

This network will complement STEM teacher development efforts at individual universities and school districts with professional learning activities that support the persistence and success of early-career STEM teachers, with a particular focus on high-need school districts, where many students from historically marginalized populations attend. Promoting a sense of community, the network will facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional growth among early-career STEM teachers from institutions across the northeast with NSF Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Programs. 

Notably, alumni of the Northeast Master Teaching Fellowship (MTF) programs, including those from the University of Rochester, will play a pivotal role in leading professional learning activities and guiding and mentoring early-career STEM teachers, leveraging their extensive experience to support teaching and learning success. The Noyce MTF program alumni will actively participate in and lead the network’s programs and initiatives, contributing to their development, facilitation and effectiveness. 

The project, a partnership between the University of Rochester’s Warner School, the University of Massachusetts at Boston and St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania, will establish this network to offer a wide array of professional learning opportunities over three years, including:

  • Regional Noyce Conferences: Two annual regional conferences will bring together 300 Noyce scholars, fellows and leaders to exchange ideas and best practices. 
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): More than 60 PLCs will provide opportunities for 250 teachers to collaborate and share insights monthly on enhancing STEM teaching practices.
  • Video Clubs: Over 60 video clubs will offer 250 early-career STEM teachers, particularly Noyce teachers, a platform to share lessons learned from NSF-funded projects and strengthen their teaching methods. 
  • Coaching: 400 hours of one-on-one coaching will provide early-career STEM teachers with additional personalized support and guidance.
  • Local Professional Learning Institutes: Nine local institutes will evolve from the regional conferences, providing opportunities for Noyce scholars, fellows, and alumni to engage in professional learning locally. 

The project will be led by the Warner School’s Center for Professional Development and Education Reform with its director, Michael Daley, who will serve as the principal investigator, leading the network with co-principal investigators Cynthia Callard, professor and associate dean for graduate studies (Warner School), Lisa Gonsalves, (UMass at Boston), and Tetyana Berezovski (St. Joseph’s University). This transformative project is set to make significant contributions to the development and support of STEM educators and, in turn, enhance the quality of STEM education, particularly in underserved communities. 

“This initiative is poised to advance STEM education by providing a platform for science and math teachers to connect, collaborate and innovate,” says Daley, “and to give them the support they need to grow and thrive in the classroom. By empowering early-career teachers and leveraging evidence-based best practices in STEM education, we’re not only enhancing the learning experiences of their students, but also driving societal progress through the translation of knowledge into practical solutions. The project underscores our continued commitment to making a lasting impact on STEM education, particularly in high-need schools, in the region and beyond.” 

The project is funded through the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program (award 2320386) and contributes to the NSF’s mission of increasing the number of K-12 teachers with strong STEM content knowledge who teach in high-need school districts. A national leader in STEM education research and STEM teacher development in high-need settings, the Warner School has spearheaded several regional Noyce MTF, Noyce scholars, and Noyce research programs over the past 15 years.

Daley emphasizes, “Our Noyce initiatives have played a vital role in enhancing STEM teacher leadership regionally, as well as in equipping a substantial number of highly qualified STEM teachers — a significant portion of whom teach at East Upper & Lower Schools and various other schools within the Rochester area — all prepared to excel in high-need settings. This new NSF award allows us to extend our influence in promoting STEM teacher growth throughout the entire Northeastern region.” 

Contact Michael Daley to learn more or to get involved with the Northeast Noyce Professional Learning Network.