The Gevirtz School awarded $1.1 million NSF grant to prepare high-quality science teachers for high-need school districts

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
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Darby Feldwinn of the Departments of Education and Chemistry at UC Santa Barbara is the lead PI for a new, five-year National Science Foundation Noyce Teacher Scholarship grant for $1,134,605. The project, entitled COASTAL: Collaboration for Opportunities in and Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning, aims to serve the national need to prepare high-quality science teachers for high-need school districts. The Co-PIs on the award are Julie Bianchini and Danielle Harlow in the Gevirtz School, Melissa Woods at the Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy, and Jens-Uwe Kuhn at Santa Barbara City College.

In partnership with Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara Unified School District, and the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation (MOXI), UCSB intends to develop science teachers who will be highly effective in teaching both science and engineering to culturally and linguistically diverse students. Through field placements and coursework, the project will engage undergraduate interns and Teacher Candidate Scholars to be effective in using the Next Generation Science Standards. This goal will be accomplished by emphasizing convergent science, which includes the merging of ideas, approaches, and technologies among the disciplines of science and engineering.

Approximately 12 Noyce COASTAL Undergraduate Internships will be awarded for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year. Interns will engage in three experiences to learn firsthand about the processes of teaching and learning science and engineering. Each of these experiences lasts 10 weeks and requires approximately 5 hours per week. Interns will engage with informal science educators at MOXI, high school teachers and their students in science and engineering classes held at the Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy, and science educators in an introduction-to-science-education-course at UCSB. They will receive a stipend of up to $2,600 for serving as a docent and teaching assistant, and 3 units of course credit for completing ED 131. Interested candidates should submit an application by 5 pm on Friday, September 13, 2019.

Through these efforts, the project aims to produce reform-based, equity-minded science teachers who will provide California’s diverse secondary school students with greater access to an excellent and innovative STEM education.

The expected outcomes of the project include: (1) encouraging STEM undergraduates to consider teaching as a career and supporting post-baccalaureate students with degrees in a STEM discipline to become certified as teachers; (2) increasing UCSB's production of thoroughly trained, highly respected science teachers; (3) graduating Scholars with the knowledge and skills needed to grow innovative science programs in their own high-need schools; and (4) disseminating strategies found effective in both preparing exceptional science teachers and teaching convergent science to all students in high-need schools.

Over its five-year duration, the project aims to support 24 STEM undergraduates in internships and produce 52 beginning secondary science teachers with baccalaureate STEM degrees and teaching certification. The project will make a concerted effort to attract high-achieving students who are first generation college students, underrepresented students, English learners, and/or transfer students from community colleges.

The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and experienced, exemplary K-12 STEM teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. It also supports research on the persistence, retention, and effectiveness of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts. This grant is the third Noyce program at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School.

[The grants PIs are available for interview; contact George Yatchisin at 805-893-5789.]