See Related: Mathematics Science
  1. Earl Legleiter
  2. Fort Hays State University
  3. Recruiting, Preparing, and Retaining STEM Teachers for Western Kansas
  4. https://www.fhsu.edu/smei/noyce/
  5. Fort Hays State University
  1. Paul Adams
  2. https://www.fhsu.edu/coe/
  3. Dean, College of Education
  4. Recruiting, Preparing, and Retaining STEM Teachers for Western Kansas
  5. https://www.fhsu.edu/smei/noyce/
  6. Fort Hays State University
  1. Janet Stramel
  2. Professor
  3. Recruiting, Preparing, and Retaining STEM Teachers for Western Kansas
  4. https://www.fhsu.edu/smei/noyce/
  5. Fort Hays State University
Public Discussion

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  • May 10, 2022 | 01:33 p.m.

    Best wishes for your rural STEM program! In my state, one of the challenges for rural teachers is housing. It's either not really available nearby, or it's very expensive (in mountain towns that attract skiers and other tourists). Do you have that issue?

     
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    Elise Levin-Guracar
  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 10, 2022 | 04:57 p.m.

    Hi Andrea,

    We also face the housing issue.  A couple of our school districts have bought houses in the area and provide them to the teachers for just the cost of utilities in the first year and then a reasonable rent after that.  Not all have done this.  A new project that we are starting is directly going to address this by engaging with administrators from the beginning about what can they do to make their community appealing.  We will try to approach this as part of the districts' efforts for retention.

  • May 12, 2022 | 01:00 p.m.

    Hi Andrea and Paul,

    I really enjoyed the video, Paul! I want to tag on to Andrea's question as it relates to the 'Living in a Rural Community' and the challenges of availability and cost. This is certainly an issue in the rural mountain community for our project. I would be interested to learn more about your new project and how this could be replicated for district leaders we work with. Perhaps we can talk off-line. Thanks for your great work in this area!

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 12, 2022 | 11:24 p.m.

    Hi John,

    Good to hear from you.  Let's talk more offline.  We are still in the early stages, Monday we meet with our partners for an official kickoff.  I think sharing ideas would be great.  Earl would also be good to engage in the conversation.

  • Icon for: Kelly Costner

    Kelly Costner

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2022 | 01:06 p.m.

    I'm always fascinated by discussions around housing for teachers in rural areas for two reasons: (a) Lack of housing for a young, single teacher caused me to reject a very good offer for my first teaching position; and (b) I now know of the practice of having a "teacherage" (similar to parsonage) for rural schools. My mother attended a school with a teacherage--a house right on school property in which 5-6 young single teachers lived in shared quarters until they established themselves in the community. (See https://www.ncpedia.org/teacherage.) It's an idea that's coming back in different forms (small complexes of apartments, duplexes, etc.--even housing developments) often through partnerships between districts and private/foundation funding (examples at https://www.ncsecufoundation.org/Projects/HokeTeacherHousingEchoRidge.html and https://www.statehousereport.com/2022/04/22/another-view-fairfield-teacher-village-is-solution-for-housing/). Probably beyond the scope of the projects mentioned here, but it seems it may be time to give this old concept some new traction.

     
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    Paul Adams
  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 17, 2022 | 04:39 p.m.

    Thanks for the idea Kelly.  This is something we will need to look at!

  • Icon for: Max Longhurst

    Max Longhurst

    Researcher
    May 10, 2022 | 02:46 p.m.

    Connection is an ongoing need for our rural science teachers & developing these links with other teachers in an education network is critical.  These social networks can create lasting foundations to keep new teachers connected to the profession.  Thanks for sharing your work.

    https://videohall.com/p/2481

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 10, 2022 | 05:43 p.m.

    Thank you for the comments Matt.  I visited your video and would like to find out more about your use and action of the social networking you are doing with your project.

  • Icon for: Rebecca Sansom

    Rebecca Sansom

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 03:30 p.m.

    I appreciate your focus on helping Noyce Scholars make connections with colleagues. I was especially struck by the opportunity for pre-service teachers to live with a host rural teacher for a week to get a better idea what it looks like to be a STEM teacher in a rural school. Can I ask, how do you arrange those hosts and manage the placements? Are all Noyce Scholars able to participate? What are some of the challenges you've had with that piece of the program?

  • Icon for: Earl Legleiter

    Earl Legleiter

    Lead Presenter
    Fort Hays State University
    May 11, 2022 | 10:15 a.m.

    Thanks for your questions  Rebecca.

    Students have reported that the week in a rural school is a favorite part of our program.  They get to experience their future life up close and personal.

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 10, 2022 | 05:50 p.m.

    These are all great questions Rebecca.  I will answer from my perspective.  My colleagues may jump in and more as well.

    We work with a regional service center, Southwestern Plains Regional Service Center, as a partner in the project.  Their staff is connected with most of the rural districts.  We ask them to make the contacts with schools to find teachers/districts willing to host our preservice teachers.  The service center is well connected to the communities and district leadership, so this has worked out well.

    When we started we had the students living with a host in the community.  We found that to be difficult to arrange so we moved to putting the preservice teachers in a hotel where they may need to drive to the school each day.  We found this allowed our preservice teachers to debrief each day and share experiences.  It has been a positive experience.

    All of our Noyce Scholars have been able to participate except during the closures due to COVID-19.  This was a problem, but only for one semester.  The other major challenge has been weather - we have had to truncate experiences early to be sure our students could return to home/campus safely.

     
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    Rebecca Sansom
  • Icon for: Rebecca Sansom

    Rebecca Sansom

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 05:52 p.m.

    Thank you so much for this additional information. We are partnering with four regional service centers in our state and using that connection is a great idea. 

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 10, 2022 | 06:07 p.m.

    Welcome to our video of our project to increase the number of STEM teachers for rural communities.  Our quick overview highlights the three pillars that we used in formulating what we have done.  These crystallized when we did an analysis of our work.  We welcome comments and insights for others!  As always, we also welcome any discussion on increasing recruitment numbers!

  • Icon for: Russanne Low

    Russanne Low

    Researcher
    May 10, 2022 | 07:01 p.m.

    Hi Paul, I watched your video with interest because my position prior to working with the NASA GLOBE Observer program was teaching in Nebraska- and I'm really interested in serving rural teachers, schools and communities with science. One of the problems that many of us have experienced in obtaining grant funding is the challenge of reaching "significant numbers," of students, when schools are smaller and geographically distant from each other. Reaching our rural communities and providing equitable access to science education experiences, I've found, is a real challenge- so your model is a real beacon here. 

    I agree that building a community of practice among teachers is a great way to both enrich both their careers and their experience with the program- it is not surprising that so many are still in contact with each other, now that they are professionals.

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 11, 2022 | 02:39 p.m.

    Hi Rusty,

    We also found - and still find - that it is a hard sell to explain partnering with one district is not practical as it is one teacher.  This was our motivation to work with service centers.  Thanks for the comment.

  • Icon for: Nancy Hopkins-Evans

    Nancy Hopkins-Evans

    Facilitator
    Senior Director
    May 10, 2022 | 07:46 p.m.

    How exciting that over 50 teachers who participated in this program remain teachers after 10 years.  The focus on ensuring the participants get an immersive experience in a rural school, have access to leadership opportunities and a network of colleagues has resulted in great success.  Could you say more about how you developed these successful practices?  Which grades do the teachers teach?  How are the rural schools selected? How many rural schools are involved? 

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 11, 2022 | 02:37 p.m.

    Our first efforts in this area go back about a decade.  We review the research at that time and realized that we needed to have our students experience a focused rural field experience.  While they do have field experiences in schools, few of these are full time for a focused period of time - a week.  Our evaluation of the program through focus groups with the participants in the project informed us that it worked.  Based on that we kept refining the project.  The focused seminars on teaching in a rural area also evolved over time.  Earl Legleiter, a member of our team may jump in here and share how that also evolved over the decade.  Key to all of this is close attention to the evaluation, reflection, and willingness to improve.

    Our project is focused on grades 7-12.  We focused on this level since we recruit juniors and seniors who are majors in a STEM area.  That being said, the Noyce Scholars are not limited to 7-12 to fulfill their obligation for receiving the scholarship.  We have had some accept jobs as middle school teachers.  None at the elementary level at this point.

    The rural schools we selected to work with in this project are identified by our service center partner.  That is a partial answer, as these selections are only for the rural field experience.  In practice, the number of rural schools/high need schools that accept our graduates is on the order of 40 over the time with have been doing the project.  We make the districts aware of our candidates through Superintendent meetings held with regional schools and meetings of the service center.  We have found it necessary to deal with a larger number of schools because many of the schools may only have one science teacher position and possibly 3 (more likely 1 or 2) mathematics teachers at the secondary level.

     
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    Nancy Hopkins-Evans
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    Earl Legleiter

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2022 | 09:04 p.m.

    To add to Paul’s comments… We found that few education prep programs had a program that focused on the preparation of rural teachers even in universities located in rural areas.  We set out to change that in our program by focusing the seminar class on rural issues.  We had students survey 100 superintendents in the western half of KS to learn more about rural schools.  Student also select a rural district and community to research.  Last fall we found the perfect textbook for the class, Teaching in Rural Places Thriving in Classrooms, Schools and Communities.  The book underscores the importance of teaching in rural schools as an act of social justice.  Students complete the seminar course by formulating their “why statement” for wanting to make a difference for a rural community.

  • Icon for: Anna Suarez

    Anna Suarez

    Facilitator
    President
    May 14, 2022 | 10:37 a.m.

    Hi Earl, what a great approach to helping students understand the overall rural culture and challenges rural teachers and students face. Providing students with this more comprehensive view vs just doing a weeklong internship must resonate and engage students at a deeper level.

    Are you disseminating your seminar class syllabus and student rural district and community assignments? In order to have a broader impact, the project team may want to apply for an NSF conference grant to facilitate currently funded NSF rural K12 projects sharing of materials and to further define/hone the research that needs to happen in the field.   

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 16, 2022 | 06:34 p.m.

    Great idea Anna of looking at a conference grant.  We have not done or considered that.  Thanks

  • Icon for: Earl Legleiter

    Earl Legleiter

    Lead Presenter
    Fort Hays State University
    May 17, 2022 | 05:02 p.m.

    This semester we use the book Teaching in Rural Places Thriving in Classrooms Schools and Communities.  It discusses teaching in rural schools as an act of social justice to overcome barriers economically, socially, and politically.  Students write a reflection paper each week following the classroom discussion of each chapter.  They finished the semester by analyzing their beliefs about rural communities and drafting a “why” statement which is a personal philosophy on teaching in rural schools.   It has been a great addition to the class.

  • Icon for: Christine Royce

    Christine Royce

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 08:43 p.m.

    The idea of using resource centers as mentioned above to help reach rural populations sounds like a great partnership with different education agencies. The students speaking in the video are highlighting important aspects that will not only make them great STEM educators but also it sounds like they are committed to the populations that need such teachers.  What are some of the strategies that you have used to recruit candidates to the program?

  • Icon for: Earl Legleiter

    Earl Legleiter

    Lead Presenter
    Fort Hays State University
    May 11, 2022 | 10:41 a.m.

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks for your question.

    Recruitment is a challenge.  I visit STEM discipline classrooms on campus in the fall semester with a five minute presentation to build awareness of the program.  We found that this is more effective when we have current Noyce scholars do the classroom visitation.

    Once a student indicates interest in a scholarship I follow up with e-mail and phone calls to keep the interest up and encourage them to complete the application by deadline.

    We also have formed partnerships with five area community colleges.  Shelli in the video is one of the partners.  I do recruitment trips to each community college in the fall and start the dialogue that continues into the spring. During Covid, we did a Zoom meeting connecting students form all five community colleges with our current scholars to share about the program.  Each community colleges have developed a STEM Ed club like the one we have on our campus to build interest in STEM and teaching.

    Recently we are using resources form Get the Facts Out https://getthefactsout.org/ which have really helps to dispel some of the myths about teaching.  They also have a video in the showcase.

     
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    Paul Adams
  • Icon for: Christine Royce

    Christine Royce

    Facilitator
    Professor
    May 14, 2022 | 07:43 p.m.

    Thank you for outlining the different strategies that you have used Earl. It really seems like it takes a good bit of courting and follow up to help guide the students to the potential careers as educators.  I hadn't seen the resource that you shared via URL - so thank you.  Best wishes as the program continues.

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 16, 2022 | 06:35 p.m.

    Thanks for checking out our project Christine.  We have met through NSTA in the past!

  • Icon for: Gabriela Rose

    Gabriela Rose

    Curriculum Developer
    May 11, 2022 | 09:23 a.m.

    STEM Teacher preparation is a crucial element in providing equitable learning environments for kids. I am impressed with the enthusiasm the teachers in your video bring to their work and with the partnerships you created to support and retain the teachers.

  • Icon for: Earl Legleiter

    Earl Legleiter

    Lead Presenter
    Fort Hays State University
    May 11, 2022 | 01:54 p.m.

    Thanks Gabriela,

    We have had many great students in the program and they continue on to become great teachers.

    Earl

     

  • Icon for: Devon Brenner

    Devon Brenner

    Researcher
    May 12, 2022 | 01:58 p.m.

    What a treat to hear from some of your students in the program.  Thanks for sharing.

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 12, 2022 | 10:37 p.m.

    Thanks Devon.

  • Icon for: Andrew Jackson

    Andrew Jackson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2022 | 04:30 p.m.

    You have done well. Are your students researching environmental issuers that would be of particular interest to your Kansas area? We started an experiment with corn that was new to our urban students. The idea of planting, cultivating and taking notice of particular blemishes and the amount of good yield from small seeds was of particular interest to our students.

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 12, 2022 | 10:44 p.m.

    Hi Andrew.  In the current project we have not had the students research environmental issues per se.  However, we have a new project starting that will look work with preservice teachers on place based education which will likely have an environmental focus.  In June we have a mini-conference with some of our former Noyce Scholars that will have an optional attendance on a workshop related to air quality.  The teachers will be provided a Purple Air and also specs on building a sensor using Arduinos (from the GLOBE website).  The questions to be addressed locally concern air quality downwind from forest fires and grassland fires.  There is also an environmental concern with dust storms - which have happened a few times this spring.

    I like your idea of corn study.  The teachers in Kansas have had the opportunity to attend a Kansas Corn workshop (funded by the Kansas Corn Growers) for curriculum and equipment - such as studying DNA - for their classrooms.

  • Icon for: Karla Hale

    Karla Hale

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2022 | 03:50 p.m.

    Thank you for your work with rural science teachers.  I really enjoyed hearing about the opportunities you provide candidates unique opportunities to really live the experience of a teacher by living with them.  What a novel idea!  The networking is so important.  I would love to hear more about how often your candidates get to experience the mentoring mentioned and do all of them "live" with a teacher at some point in their program?

  • Icon for: Paul Adams

    Paul Adams

    Co-Presenter
    Dean, College of Education
    May 16, 2022 | 06:15 p.m.

    Not all of them have the opportunity to live with a teacher during the program.  I will let Earl Legleiter respond to the mentoring.

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