Appendix D
Programs to Strengthen Connections Between Professions and K-12 Education

This appendix describes four programs that have been implemented in recent years to strengthen the connections between the science, mathematics, and engineering professions and K-12 education. Three of them are national programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF); the fourth is a small, local program sponsored jointly by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Montgomery (Maryland) County Public Schools (MCPS). Only the last one is designed to lead to secondary school teaching. However, all three are examples of programs to strengthen the science, mathematics, and technology infrastructure of the nation’s schools.

These programs have the potential to play significant roles in the improvement of K-12 education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. They are similar to the demonstration program proposed in this report because they target PhDs or graduate students in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, explicitly support standards-based K-12 science and mathematics instruction, and are predicated on some kind of partnership between higher education and school districts. The MCPS/NIH program had not been evaluated at the time of this report. The goals of other programs are significantly different from the one proposed in this report, and their available evaluation information provided no specific guidance to the committee.



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Attracting PhDs to K-12 Education: A Demonstration Program for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Appendix D Programs to Strengthen Connections Between Professions and K-12 Education This appendix describes four programs that have been implemented in recent years to strengthen the connections between the science, mathematics, and engineering professions and K-12 education. Three of them are national programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF); the fourth is a small, local program sponsored jointly by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Montgomery (Maryland) County Public Schools (MCPS). Only the last one is designed to lead to secondary school teaching. However, all three are examples of programs to strengthen the science, mathematics, and technology infrastructure of the nation’s schools. These programs have the potential to play significant roles in the improvement of K-12 education in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. They are similar to the demonstration program proposed in this report because they target PhDs or graduate students in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, explicitly support standards-based K-12 science and mathematics instruction, and are predicated on some kind of partnership between higher education and school districts. The MCPS/NIH program had not been evaluated at the time of this report. The goals of other programs are significantly different from the one proposed in this report, and their available evaluation information provided no specific guidance to the committee.

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Attracting PhDs to K-12 Education: A Demonstration Program for Science, Mathematics, and Technology NSF PROGRAMS The NSF has supported three programs over the last 5 years that are designed to provide pre- and postdoctoral experiences in K-12 education for scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. The programs are the Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education (see NSF, 2001a and http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/dge/programs/pfsmete/), the Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education (see NSF, 2001b and http://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/gk12/start.htm), and the Centers for Learning and Teaching (see NSF, 2001c and http://www.ehr.nsf.gov/esie/resources/centers.asp). Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education The NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education (PFSMETE) have two goals: to prepare PhD graduates in science, mathematics, engineering or technology with the necessary skills to assume leadership roles in science education in the nation’s diverse academic institutions, and to provide opportunities for outstanding PhD graduates to develop expertise in a facet of science education research that would qualify them for the new range of academic positions that will come with the 21st century. The fellowships, which were first awarded in fiscal 1997, are given to academic institutions. The first awards were used to support 63 fellowships for PhDs in the earth sciences, engineering, chemistry, the life sciences, mathematics, physics, and psychology. The fellows’ projects included work in cognition and learning, community-based research, curriculum development, educational technology, evaluation and assessment in K-12 education, and teacher education. Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education The primary objective of the Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education Program (GK-12) is to provide fellowships to highly qualified graduate and advanced undergraduate students in science, mathematics,

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Attracting PhDs to K-12 Education: A Demonstration Program for Science, Mathematics, and Technology and engineering to serve as resources in the nation’s K-12 schools. GK-12 fellows work directly with teachers on many activities, including: demonstrating key concepts in science or mathematics; modeling for students the habits and skills needed to pursue future study in science, mathematics, and engineering; serving as role models for future science, mathematics, and engineering professionals; enhancing teachers’ content knowledge and understanding of principles of science and mathematics; and assisting in science and mathematics instruction. Most of the GK-12 projects do not provide the fellows with classroom teaching experience. However, one project—a partnership between Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School— does provide the fellows with formal preparation for classroom teaching and student teaching experience. That project has only four fellows, and it is not explicitly intended as a way for GK-12 fellows to become certified K-12 teachers or to ground them in classroom practice for whatever segment of K-12 education they choose to pursue. The NSF GK-12 program began as a pilot project in 1999, but NSF received a greater than anticipated number of proposals and increased the funds beyond the level originally planned. The program was subsequently included in NSF’s annual budget and approved by Congress. In its first 2 years, the GK-12 program has provided $43.4 million for 56 grants to academic institutions across the country. It was scheduled to allocate an additional $10 million in fiscal 2001. In this popular program, approximately 600 graduate and advanced undergraduate students in science, mathematics, engineering and technology have served as teaching fellows in K-12 schools to date. Centers for Teaching and Learning NSF initiated the Centers for Learning and Teaching in fiscal 2001 with three goals (NSF, 2001c): to increase significantly the numbers of K-12 science, mathematics, engineering, and technology educators in formal (schools) or informal (museums, zoos, botanical gardens, etc.) settings who

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Attracting PhDs to K-12 Education: A Demonstration Program for Science, Mathematics, and Technology have current content knowledge in their disciplinary area and who are prepared to implement standards-based instruction and new assessment strategies; to rebuild and diversify the human resource base that forms the national infrastructure for science, mathematics, engineering, and technology; and to provide substantive opportunities for research into the nature of learning, strategies of teaching, policies of educational reform, and outcomes of standards-based reform. Approximately $16 million was initially allocated for 7-9 centers awards and $2 million for 8-12 awards to develop proposals for future centers. For the participants—which include PhDs, university teacher educators, curriculum developers, district-level or state-level supervisors and co-ordinators, lead teachers, informal science educators, assessment specialists, and school administrators (e.g., principals)—the program has a postdoctoral and internship program, which includes graduate programs of study (for MS, PhD, or EdD degrees). Participants in this part of the program are offered a variety of options for developing special expertise. The program description provides the following examples: One type of Center might focus on developing high quality K-12 science curricular materials and bring together representatives from school districts, informal science centers, curriculum developers, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students, and science faculty to design, develop, and field-test new materials. Another type of Center might focus on research, evaluation, and assessment through emphasis on the graduate education of educational psychologists and psychometricians who focus on the learning and assessment of mathematics and/or science and who are needed to evaluate large-scale reform projects such as the SME&T [science, mathematics, engineering, and technology] systemic initiatives. Another Center might choose to address the retraining of those who already hold a doctorate (or the equivalent) in science, mathematics, and engineering and who have particular interest in SME&T education (NSF, 2001c, p. 9) TRAINING TEACHERS FOR TOMORROW The Training Teachers for Tomorrow program is a partnership between the NIH and the MCPS to help NIH postdoctoral fellows make a transition to careers as certified secondary school teachers. The program began

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Attracting PhDs to K-12 Education: A Demonstration Program for Science, Mathematics, and Technology in the fall 2000 with funding under a 6-year grant from the state of Maryland to pay the tuition for the program participants. The PhDs fill teaching vacancies at MCPS in their field of expertise for the school year and receive the salary and benefits of a first-year teacher. MCPS provides mentors for each participant; NIH provides some stipends for opportunities to work in laboratories during the summer. Although the program was designed to meet the needs of NIH postdoctoral fellows, the MCPS part of the program is open to other midcareer professionals. There were 2 postdoctoral fellows in the first cohort of 13, and the program administrators expect an average of 2-4 postdoctoral fellows in the program each year. Program participants receive orientation training in the summer just prior to the start of the their first classroom teaching experience. They are classified as “resident teachers” until they complete the 2-year course of studies, pass both Parts I and II of the Praxis exam,1 and receive a successful evaluation for at least 1 year of teaching. Fulfilling these three requirements makes them eligible for a teaching certificate from the state of Maryland. The teacher education courses are offered at an MCPS school site, taught by MCPS master teachers. The integration of coursework with classroom teaching allows the resident teachers to understand the relevance of the coursework to their classroom and to apply what they learn in their teaching practice. The coursework covers the following areas, as required by the Maryland State Department of Education: human learning, adolescent development, special needs students, assessment, teaching methods, and reading 1 and 2. To address pedagogical skills, the cohort meets weekly with experienced, master MCPS teachers. All preparation activities are tied directly to the participants’ teaching activities in their classrooms. Topics are addressed in a way that anticipates their needs, answers their questions, and helps them plan successful instruction. 1   The Praxis exams are standard tests used in many states as one requirement for teacher certification.