The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $3.25 million grant to the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education to support the creation of a regional professional learning network in the northeastern United States.
U of R’s Warner School of Education is expected to launch the Northeast Noyce Professional Learning Network (NNPLN) as “an innovative initiative designed to foster the growth and support of highly effective STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educators,” according to U of R representatives. The NNPLN is further anticipated to serve as a hub for early-career STEM teachers to connect and collaborate with STEM colleagues across the region, including experienced master teachers, providing professional development opportunities to enhance K-12 teaching and learning.
“This initiative is poised to advance STEM education by providing a platform for science and math teachers to connect, collaborate and innovate,” said Warner School Center for Professional Development and Education Reform Director Michael Daley, who went on to note that NNPLN should provide “the support [STEM teachers] need to grow and thrive in the classroom.” Daley also said, “By empowering early-career teachers and leveraging evidence-based best practices in STEM education, we’re not only enhancing the learning experiences of their students, but also driving societal progress through the translation of knowledge into practical solutions. The project underscores our continued commitment to making a lasting impact on STEM education, particularly in high-need schools, in the region and beyond.”
Alumni of the Northeast Master Teaching Fellowship (MTF) programs, including those from the University of Rochester, will play a pivotal role in leading professional learning activities and guiding and mentoring early-career STEM teachers, leveraging their extensive experience to support teaching and learning success. The Noyce MTF program alumni will actively participate in and lead the network’s programs and initiatives, contributing to their development, facilitation and effectiveness.
NNPLN is a partnership between the University of Rochester’s Warner School, according to the U of R. The University of Massachusetts at Boston and St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania will establish this network to offer a wide array of professional learning opportunities over three years, including:
Regional Noyce Conferences: Two annual regional conferences will bring together 300 Noyce scholars, fellows and leaders to exchange ideas and best practices.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): More than 60 PLCs will provide opportunities for 250 teachers to collaborate and share insights monthly on enhancing STEM teaching practices.
Video Clubs: Over 60 video clubs will offer 250 early-career STEM teachers, particularly Noyce teachers, a platform to share lessons learned from NSF-funded projects and strengthen their teaching methods.
Coaching: 400 hours of one-on-one coaching will provide early-career STEM teachers with additional personalized support and guidance.
Local Professional Learning Institutes: Nine local institutes will evolve from the regional conferences, providing opportunities for Noyce scholars, fellows, and alumni to engage in professional learning locally.
NNPLN is funded through the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program (award 2320386) and contributes to the NSF’s mission of increasing the number of K-12 teachers with strong STEM content knowledge who teach in high-need school districts. The Warner School has spearheaded several regional Noyce MTF, Noyce scholars, and Noyce research programs over the past 15 years.
Daley says, “Our Noyce initiatives have played a vital role in enhancing STEM teacher leadership regionally, as well as in equipping a substantial number of highly qualified STEM teachers — a significant portion of whom teach at East Upper & Lower Schools and various other schools within the Rochester area — all prepared to excel in high-need settings. This new NSF award allows us to extend our influence in promoting STEM teacher growth throughout the entire Northeastern region.”