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Warner School receives $2 million grant for STEM education

Warner School Receives $2 Million Grant for STEM Education
NSF Funding will Support the Professional Development of Master Teachers in Math and Science

A $2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Noyce Phase II grant has been awarded to the Center for Professional Development and Education Reform at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education to enhance and expand current efforts to prepare K-12 master teachers and teacher leaders in math and science in urban settings. Over the course of the five-year project, 14 teachers will assume leadership positions and roles in improving mathematics and science teaching and learning through the UR Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellows (MTF) Program. The funding will provide intensive professional development to teachers to engage in school reform efforts and provide leadership in math and science in high-need schools.
A partnership with the University’s Warner School of Education and College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering, Rochester City School District, and Rochester Museum & Science Center, the UR Noyce MTF Program will support and engage a cohort of experienced K-12 math and science master teachers through a combination of coursework and mentored experiences.
Launched in 2010, the Phase I program was initially supported by a five-year Noyce MTF grant for $3 million. The combined funding of $5 million now allows the partnership to continue the systemic work of preparing teacher leaders in the Rochester City School District (RCSD), as well as to include two additional high-need districts in the region—the Geneva City School District and Newark Central School District—as partners. The goal is to achieve greater systemic impact and collaboration across districts. In addition to expanding to two new districts, the program will include a new focus on online teaching and learning as well as a new emphasis on serving English Language Learners (ELLs) and supporting teachers with the rollout of the Common Core State Standards and potential new national standards in science.
Over the next five years, the Phase II Noyce MTF grant will provide intensive training to a total of 14 experienced teachers who will serve as master teaching fellows in these three districts. As part of the program, fellows will complete 36 post-master’s credits of graduate coursework at the Warner School, attend monthly leadership seminars, and engage in mentored field experiences. They will also receive a stipend of $10,000 annually from the grant, in addition to their teaching salaries, for the five years of the program as well as a full-tuition waiver for the graduate coursework completed as part of the training. Some fellows will also have the opportunity to complete additional requirements needed to obtain New York State certification as a school/district leader, a certificate in online teaching and learning, or a doctorate in education. Teaching fellows are being recruited to start the program in January 2016.
The Phase II grant follows the successful completion of the Phase I Noyce MTF grant. In this project, the 19 Fellows developed and provided professional development to more than 725 teachers in the RCSD, mentored over 175 new teachers, and taken on coaching roles for more than 215 of their teaching colleagues.
“Receiving this new grant will allow us to continue to work to address the critical need to improve STEM instruction in urban classrooms,” said Cynthia Callard, executive director of the Center for Professional Development and Education Reform who serves as the principal investigator on the project.  “We are pleased that the National Science Foundation shares our commitment to the support of science and math teachers and has recognized the University’s success with a grant that will enable the program to grow and expand its work. Together, both grants will allow us to increase the number of STEM master teachers in the region who can teach and mentor other educators and have an immediate impact on their students.”
The Phase II Noyce MTF Program has the potential to become a new model for universities across the country working to support the development of similar cadres of STEM master teachers, Callard added.  Partners of the UR Robert Noyce MTF Program will continue to disseminate results and lessons learned at conferences and through journal articles.
The Phase II Noyce MTF funding is the fourth NSF-funded grant, totaling over $6.5 million, awarded to the Warner School under the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program over the past decade. The NSF Teaching Fellowship/Master Teaching Fellowship Track supports the development of NSF Master Teaching Fellows by providing professional development and salary supplements for exemplary mathematics and science teachers to become master teachers in high-need school districts.