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Local Educators Devote Summer Vacation to Becoming K-12 Master Teachers, Leaders in Math and Science

2016 master teaching fellowsTeachers from Rochester City School District, Newark Central School District, and Geneva City School District aren't just focused on summer vacation—they are spending part of their summer learning and growing as teachers and leaders. Seventeen experienced teachers have been selected to participate as master teaching fellows in the UR Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellows (MTF) Program at the Warner School. Funded by a recent National Science Foundation (NSF) Noyce Phase II grant, the program is designed to develop teachers as leaders who will engage in school reform efforts and provide leadership in math and science in high-need schools over the next five years.
Throughout their first summer together, the cadre of 17 master teaching fellows will participate in a series of professional development opportunities. In June, fellows spent two days working with national coaching consultant Lucy West, founder of Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities, exploring and reflecting on how they can be leaders within their own classrooms. West’s work with fellows focused on strengthening instructional practices, particularly related to student discourse, developing fellows’ identities as leaders, and building their communication skills in service to supporting positive change in their classrooms and schools.
In mid-July, fellows will continue to develop their skills designing units that focus on “big ideas” in math and science with national consultant Julie Kopp using the text Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011). Kopp has been working with the fellows throughout the spring, and will support the fellows this summer as they continue to explore effective unit design and planning that provides students with meaning making experiences and opportunities to practice transfer.
In July, Margaret Smith, a professor in instruction and learning at the University of Pittsburgh, will also come to Warner to work with fellows. Smith has been developing research-based materials for use in the professional development of mathematics teachers for over 20 years.  Smith’s work with fellows will focus on her book 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussion (coauthored with Mary Kay Stein, 2011) and the companion book for Science (co-authored with Cartier, Stein and Ross, 2013).  Smith will support fellows in improving their discourse practices, including effectively anticipating and using student responses to high-level tasks in order to engage students in rich mathematical and scientific discussions.
Fellows will have a final day of professional learning with the Noyce Phase II leadership team at Warner, comprised of Cynthia Callard, Michael Occhino, Stephanie Martin, and Vicki Cook, synthesizing and reflecting on their summer learning and making plans and commitments for the year ahead.
In addition to these professional learning experiences, fellows will engage in a series of observations in informal learning spaces over the summer months to consider how these are the same and/or different from traditional classroom learning spaces. Fellows will spend a day observing summer learning sessions at the Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC), the Seneca Park Zoo, the Freedom School, and the Horizons at Warner summer enrichment program to better understand teaching and learning in these informal settings. Next summer, these fellows will help to lead a similar experience as they will co-facilitate a summer camp at RMSC, one of the partners on this NSF grant.
Ghandi’s quote “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” resonates among these math and science teachers as they devote their summer to engaging as learners themselves in order to make a positive impact on the students and communities with whom they serve.

Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
585.275.0777; 585.278.6273 (cell)

Tags: Center for Professional Development and Education Reform, Cynthia Callard, Michael Occhino, professional development, STEM, Stephanie Martin, UR Robert Noyce Master Teaching Fellows