Tags:From the press release:
The North Carolina New Schools Project is one of 30 organizations nationwide that have been awarded five-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education to train non-education graduates to teach in high-needs schools.
The Education Department has awarded $12.8 million for the first year of the 30 proposals under its Transition to Teaching Program, including nearly $420,000 to the N.C. New Schools Project. The total cost for the full five years of the program is $2.7 million.
NCNSP’s initiative will focus on training teachers in innovative and effective instruction of subjects considered critical for strong high school preparation in the 21stcentury – science, technology, engineering and math – STEM in shorthand. Candidates in the program will receive a year of on-the-job training at a non-traditional school supported by NCNSP, combined with online coursework through WIDE World, a professional development program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“There is a significant shortage of professionals who are skilled and experienced in the fields of science and math, but there is an even more profound shortage of educators who have the talent, interests and background to teach math and science,” said Candis Hagaman, principal of Caldwell Early College High School, one of four NCNSP-affiliated schools that will host the first cohort of STEM teacher-trainees.
Nearly 200 new teachers in STEM-related disciplines would be trained over the full five years of the program. Initially, the teacher apprenticeships will be offered at four schools that form the Learning Laboratory Initiative, a joint effort of the University of North Carolina and NCNSP that is aimed at showcasing the kind of teaching and learning that ensures all students graduate ready for college, careers and life. The four schools have demonstrated success in improving student achievement, eliminating dropouts and increasing the job satisfaction of teachers. Starting this fall, the schools are hosting study visits from educators at other schools to learn about innovative practices that are proving successful in boosting student engagement and outcomes.
Under the Transitions to Teaching initiative, each of the four Learning Lab schools will begin in the fall of 2012 to accommodate four teacher candidates, who will be paired with experienced teachers as mentors during the yearlong apprenticeships. The goal for the first year calls for 16 newly licensed teachers ready for classrooms in NCNSP-affiliated schools.
During each of the following two years, in 2013 and 2014, four additional schools will participate in NCNSP’s Innovative Pathways to STEM Teaching Careers, totaling 12 schools in all. The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare 48 teachers a year for STEM-related courses, primarily in NCNSP-affiliated schools in districts with the highest rates of under-qualified teachers.
Candidates for the tuition-free program will be drawn from recent college graduates and mid-career professionals in STEM-related fields. The program is aimed at ensuring that new teachers are well equipped to deliver integrated, project-based STEM learning experiences. After completing the program and three years of teaching, the new teachers would be licensed under state rules. NCNSP is now working with the Caldwell County school system and the State Board of Education to gain approval of the new alternative entry program.
NCNSP’s Transitions to Teaching program will blend classroom preparation in STEM-related subjects with the kind of innovative approaches followed by the Learning Lab schools now hosting study visits. The schools are characterized by an effective and unique culture in which all adults collaborate to support, deepen and extend student learning, across their schools and into their communities.
Each two-day study visit includes time spent in the rounds model of staff development, patterned after the approach used in training physicians, with focused opportunities for teachers and principals to observe specific teaching strategies in the classroom. The schools demonstrate interdisciplinary projects and community engagement in a context of inquiry and project-based learning that support high levels of learning for all students. Visiting educators also hear from faculty and students sharing their experiences shaped by rigorous academic focus and personalization.
In addition to Caldwell Early College, the other three Learning Lab schools are Cross Creek Early College High School in Fayetteville, Hillside New Tech High School in Durham and Wayne School of Engineering in Goldsboro.
The North Carolina New Schools Project is a statewide public-private partnership that accelerates systemic, sustainable innovation in North Carolina secondary schools. NCNSP works with the state, local school districts, businesses and communities to transform schools and ensure that every student graduates ready for college, careers and life. Visit NCNSP online at newschoolsproject.org.