Noyce at Montclair: Preparing the Effective Elementary Mathematics Teacher

Project Summary

Noyce Math Logo

The project, Noyce at Montclair: Preparing the Effective Elementary Mathematics Teacher (PE2MT), is a Capacity Building project designed to increase the number of elementary teachers with extraordinary preparation for teaching mathematics. Drawing on shared resources and the ongoing collaborations between faculty in the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Education and Human Services, this project will develop an “enhanced” degree program leading to a bachelor of arts in mathematics with a concentration in K-6 teaching. The enhancing feature of the degree program that will prepare students for effective elementary mathematics teaching and leadership is an integration of the following experiences with coursework:

  1. Academic support for advanced content courses
  2. Enriched methods and specialized content courses
  3. Early and ongoing field experiences
  4. Undergraduate research experience
  5. In-service induction support.

The overall goal of the PE2MT project is to develop a program that prepares professionals equipped with urban teaching experiences and committed to equity and excellence for all students. By creating an academically rigorous program with transformative opportunities to do and learn mathematics through inquiry-oriented coursework and research experiences, students will acquire the specialized mathematical knowledge that will prepare them to understand and navigate the challenges, complexities, and diversity of schools and classrooms. The PE2MT project will recruit current students interested in mathematics as well as those who are interested in elementary education. Project directors will actively recruit from within the university and also from among students completing associates degrees at local community colleges.

Goal 1:
Establish a degree program featuring coursework that prepares preservice elementary teachers for effective mathematics teaching.
B.S. in Mathematics with K-6 Teaching Certification
Goal 2:
Establish inquiry-oriented academic support and research experiences that prepare preservice elementary teachers for effective mathematics teaching.
Inquiry-based Instructional Supplement
Undergraduate
Research Experience
Goal 3:
Establish early and ongoing field experiences that prepare and support elementary teachers for effective mathematics teaching.
Early and Ongoing
Field Experience
Induction
Support
Goal 4:
Establish the infrastructure and institutional collaborations necessary for program recruitment and sustainability.
Noyce Math infrastructure diagram, Montclair crest linked to colored circles

Intellectual Merit

The PE2MT project proposes to develop the first four-year STEM degree with elementary teaching certification at Montclair State University. Although STEM programs with teacher certification exist at the secondary level – most notably the UTeach program developed at The University of Texas at Austin – there are few of programs of this kind at the elementary level. The development of this program provides a response to decades of appeals for the increased preparation of elementary mathematics teachers and addresses the high number of elementary schools in New Jersey identified as “Priority” or “Focus” schools due to relatively low rates of proficiency and/or relatively large achievement gaps that have persisted over time. The program is described as “enhanced,” because it engages students in a range of pedagogically, psychologically, and epistemologically informing professional development experiences in addition to their coursework requirements. Specifically, these experiences are designed to support preservice teachers’ steady progression through “difficult” mathematics courses, to develop their mathematical knowledge for teaching, and to inform their beliefs about mathematics and what it means to know and teach it.

Broader Impacts

The PE2MT project will create a mathematics degree program with full elementary teacher certification that prepares teachers not only for effective teaching in their own classrooms but also for additional department-, school-, and district-based opportunities such as mentoring other teachers, modeling lessons, collaborative planning, conducting professional development, attending and presenting at conferences, and making contributions to the development of curriculum, assessment, or policy. This innovative teacher education program will serve as a model to other colleges and universities interested in the extraordinary preparation of STEM elementary teaching. All program and curricular materials developed to support and sustain this program will be made available to interested colleges, universities, school districts, and policymakers.

Acknowledgements

  • NSF (National Science Foundation)
  • CSAM (College of Science and Mathematics)
  • CEHS (College Education and Human Services)
  • MSU (Montclair State University)
  • Dr. Steven Greenstein (CSAM) PI of PE2MT
  • Dr. Erin Krupa (CSAM) Co PI of PE2MT
  • Dr. Jennifer Robinson (CEHS) Co PI of PE2MT
  • Trina Wooten, Graduate Student