Each state collects and develops annual staffing lists of teachers in their schools. Some parts of these lists are public, some are obtainable through open records requests, and others must be licensed from secure educational databases. By assigning a unique identifier to each teacher, we are able to track their employment in schools in that state over time and identify districts that have a higher science teacher retention rate.
In particular, the project aims to uncover successful practices that retain teachers of color, teachers in high-need schools, and prior recipients of Noyce Scholarships. We begin with an initial list of districts that have been identified in the top 5% of science teacher retention, and from this list, we assemble a list of invitee districts that best address the aims of the research.
The primary request we are making of districts is to designate a district liaison who will help coordinate the one-day site visit by the research team. The team will wish to meet with district administration (including a secondary science supervisor), the district-level supervisor for any induction or mentoring programs, and if possible, novice science teachers and teacher mentors.
This project is primarily concerned with science teacher retention, and therefore no student-level data will be collected. However, it is expected that researchers will be in district schools at some point during the site visit. All of the site team members are certified science teachers in the state of New Jersey, have passed necessary background checks, and are frequently present in schools for the purpose of teacher education and teacher development.
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, first authorized under the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-368) and reauthorized in 2007 under the America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 responds to the critical need for K-12 teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by encouraging talented STEM students and professionals to pursue teaching careers in elementary and secondary schools.
The program provides funding to institutions of higher education to provide scholarships, stipends, and programmatic support to recruit and prepare STEM majors and professionals to become K-12 teachers. Scholarship and stipend recipients are required to complete two years of teaching in a high-need school district for each year of support. The program seeks to increase the number of K-12 teachers with strong STEM content knowledge who teach in high-need school districts.
In addition, the program supports the recruitment and development of NSF Teaching Fellows who receive salary supplements while fulfilling a 4-year teaching requirement and supports the development of NSF Master Teaching Fellows by providing professional development and salary supplements while they are teaching for five years in a high need school district. A goal of the program is to recruit individuals with strong STEM backgrounds who might otherwise not have considered a career in K-12 teaching.
The IMPREST project is funded under a Noyce Track 4 grant, which is designed to support research examining issues related to the recruitment, preparation, and retention of STEM teachers. More information is available at https://www.nsfnoyce.org/