Now in Phase III, the Montclair State University Wipro Science Education Fellowship (SEF) is a professional development program designed to support experienced K–12 science teachers as teacher leaders within their districts. The program was originally developed by UMass Boston and was implemented in similar ways across seven universities. The program works with teachers of various disciplines and grade levels from five high-need school districts. It is funded by Wipro Limited, a global information technology and consulting corporation with a vested interest in public education in both India and the US. The $561,630 funded for Phase III, running March 1, 2022 through June 30, 2026, will allow the program to expand its reach to more teachers, additional disciplines, and new districts, all with the goal of creating sustainable structures for teacher leadership within districts.
- Mika Munakata
- Colette Killian
- Emily Klein
- Monica Taylor
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.