Eleven Central New York math and science teachers and seven members of the SUNY Cortland Noyce Project Steering Committee met at SUNY Cortland on Feb. 12 to plan a future pilot workshop for 19 SUNY Cortland Noyce Scholars.
The plan for the pilot workshop resulted from a brainstorming session and group discussion, explained one workshop planner, Kerri Freese, Noyce Project coordinator.
The Saturday, March 26, workshop will address areas above and beyond what the 19 future educators already receive, or will receive, in the College’s teacher preparation programs, Freese explained.
These students are studying at the College on Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships, which encourage talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science educators.
In accepting this scholarship, the juniors and seniors who receive $12,500 and graduate students who receive $15,000 agree to teach for at least two years at a high-needs school.
A high-needs school is defined by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as “a local educational agency that serves an elementary or secondary school located in an area in which there is a high percentage of individuals from families with incomes below the poverty line; a high percentage of secondary school teachers not teaching in the content area in which the teachers were trained to teach; or a high teacher turnover rate.”
The workshop will address issues related to successfully teaching in a high-needs school, organizers explained.
Topics to be covered are: “Motivation and Classroom Success: Building Professional Relationships,” “Motivation and Classroom Success: Sensitivity to Student Needs,” “What is Collegiality: Building Healthy Relationships with Teachers” and “What is Collegiality: Building Healthy Relationships with ‘Everyone Else.’”
“If the pilot workshop is successful, the Noyce Project will host a series of workshops,” noted another workshop planner, Gregory Phelan, the project principal investigator and an associate professor and chair of chemistry. “These will be not only for Noyce Scholars but for students enrolled in Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) Program who are science and math majors and for SUNY Cortland students interested in applying for the Noyce Scholarship.”
"By participating in a series of interactive workshops, the Noyce Steering Committee hopes the pre-service math and science teachers will be more prepared to successfully enter a high-needs environment by acquiring additional knowledge or expanding on current knowledge on topics,” Freese noted.
The students will have an opportunity to interact with and learn from successful STEM teachers working in high-needs districts, she noted. They also will begin a network of support among fellow Noyce Scholars, teachers and SUNY Cortland faculty.
Teacher participants in the Feb. 12 planning session included Abbey Albright, mathematics, Cortland Junior-Senior High School; Chad DeVoe, seventh grade life science, Groton Middle School; Kevin Douglass, eighth grade physical science, Homer Middle School; Sandy Francis, mathematics, Grant Middle School, Syracuse; Paula Jones, chemistry, Homer High School; Richard Lajza, mathematics, Dewitt Middle School.
The teacher participants also included Nicholas LeFort, physics, Lafayette Junior-Senior High School; Michael Osborn, earth science, Fayetteville-Manlius High School; Gary Podsiedlik, mathematics, Homer High School; Ron Reed, biology, Cortland Junior-Senior High School; and Kurt Schmidt, earth science, Cincinnatus Central School.
SUNY Cortland faculty and staff who joined the planning session included five project co-principal investigators: Anne Burns Thomas, assistant professor, foundations and social advocacy, and coordinator, C.U.R.E. Program; Mary Gfeller, associate professor, mathematics; Rena Janke, associate professor, biological sciences; Larry Klotz, distinguished teaching professor, biological sciences; and Andrea Lachance, professor and chair, childhood/early childhood education.
The SUNY Cortland Noyce Scholarship Project is named after the late Robert Noyce, the co-inventor of the integrated circuit or microchip, who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968. The National Science Foundation funded Cortland’s program with a five-year grant of $900,000 in 2009-10.