Five local school districts were selected to participate in the Wipro Science Education Fellowship (SEF) program at Montclair State University. Clifton, Orange, Montclair, Kearny and Paramus school districts participated in the program sponsored by Wipro Ltd (NYSE: WIT) a leading global IT company with significant presence across North America, including New Jersey.
The Wipro SEF program was a teacher-leadership program that supported experienced K to 12 science teachers to deepen their practice while staying in the classroom. The program used a model of teacher support and development to increase the capacity of teacher-leadership in their respective districts. This model included a comprehensive set of activities designed to enhance teachers’ abilities to increase achievement in science for underperforming students. Twenty experienced teachers were selected from five school districts (Clifton, Kearny, Montclair, Orange, Paramus) to join the first of three cohorts. Each teacher participated for two years received up to a stipend of $10,000 for their work.
The program at Montclair State University is in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Boston and Mercy College. The three universities run parallel programs in northern New Jersey, New York and the Boston area, extending the community of participating teachers to these areas. View the original press release.
About the Program
To improve science education in New Jersey schools, a team of five Montclair State faculty members will implement a five-year project starting in 2013 that will train science teachers and support scientific research in the classroom.
The project, the WIPRO Science Education Fellowship Program, is supported by a $1.3 million grant from WIPRO, an India-based IT corporation.
The team includes:
- Mika Munakata
- Jackie Willis
- Collette Killian
- Emily Klein
- Monica Taylor
Teachers engage in a two-year professional development program that will “nurture classroom research and the implementation of new methods of teaching,” Munakata says. “We want teachers to focus not only on the content but also how you work with the content.”
Another aim is to improve teacher retention by preparing veteran teachers to train new teachers.
The project involves more than 60 teachers from high-needs schools in Clifton, Montclair, Kearny, Paramus and Orange, who were chosen “on the strength of their applications, enthusiasm and past relationship with the University,” says Taylor. In addition to the research conducted by the external evaluation team, the Montclair State faculty will research the impact of the program on teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and practices. As a partnership with the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Mercy College, the project promotes collaboration throughout its duration, culminating in an end-of-the-year conference with participating teachers from both universities.
We hope to form a professional community of science teachers, where they are encouraged to share their research and form ties in professional organizations. By the end, we hope they will say ‘this program allowed me to implement an education method I never would have tried without the support.’
“The ultimate goal is to strengthen the school districts through a grassroots approach that will allow teachers to become leaders within the classroom,” Munakata says.