PRNP Statement on the murder of George Floyd and systemic racism in the United States
The Philadelphia Regional Noyce Partnership (PRNP) condemns the murder of George Floyd and stands against the institutional and systemic racism in our country of which his murder is only the latest example. We recognize the immeasurable pain and loss that these tragedies have caused. As an organization emanating from the mission of the National Science Foundation Noyce Program to serve students in high-need schools, we are committed to supporting excellence in STEM teacher education for the benefit of all children. We value the communities in which our students live and are committed to working with other like-minded organizations to support students, families and educators in bringing about the positive social change that we want to see in the world.
In the coming weeks, we will be providing opportunities for STEM educators to convene and share their thoughts for next steps as we thoughtfully consider actions we can take as an organization.
For those looking for information on making positive change, we offer the following resources:
Waking up White, Debby Irving
For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood, Christopher Emdin
How to be Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi
https://www.instagram.com/tcplaneteer/ – Site devoted to socio-scientific issues and environmental/social justice education, moderated by Noyce Scholar/Teacher Tasnim Aziz
COVID Response: Many of the programs listed on our Events Calendar have been cancelled or postponed. Please be in touch with the specific program to find out their current schedule.
We want to encourage everyone to practice social distancing at this time in addition to following the guidance of the CDC and the State of Pennsylvania. Stay safe and well and remember to think about the safety and wellness of others.
Looking for some stimulating learning experiences? Click for STEM Adventure! Learn more….
Noyce Scholar Network
Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much. Helen Keller Get connected to other NOYCE scholars. Learn More
PRNP locates and provides an extensive array of informational, instructional and professional resources for STEM educators. Learn More
PRNP hosts and sponsors a variety of professional development events for STEM teachers. Learn More
Support Network Portal
In October 2016, PRNP will lanuch a portal to allow STEM educators to make connections to other STEM educators who seek or offer teaching help or resources. Learn More
New Teacher Support
PRNP provides individualized mentoring, a monthly cohort networking experience and opportunities for new teachers to take on leadership roles with their peers. Learn more
Look No Further for Support. Get Started Today
PRNP News & Events
Integrating STEM in Everyday Life
Conference Series Kick-off
The Kick-off Conference for the PRNP Integrating STEM in Everyday Life Conference Series successfully brought together 85 STEM pre-service and in-service teachers and math and science majors from area institutions and school districts. Offering 10 different workshops focused on the socio-scientific issues (SSI) approach, the conference challenged STEM educators to bring the local community and local issues into their classrooms. Using the socio-scientific approach, students can become engaged in real issues that impact their lives and learn to find out about and value the perspectives of others. Based on scientific evidence they collect, students can make better decisions and effectively solve problems that they encounter in the course of their lives. You can find presentations and materials from the Integrating STEM in Everyday Life Kick-off Conference here.
The National Science Foundation awarded PRNP a grant to hold five (5) conferences, including the full day Kick-off Conference held on October 26, 2019, three (3) half-day Intensives to explore the topic of socio-scientific issues more in-depth and a full day wrap up session to highlight the work of the teachers involved in the Intensives. You can read more about this project here. Following the Kick-Off Conference, 29 pre-service and in-service teachers signed up to participate in the three (3) paid Intensives. The first Intensive with the 29 participants was held in December 2019. Led by Dr. Victor Donnay, Bryn Mawr College and Dr. Augusto Macalalag, Arcadia University, these teachers explored through models how the SSI approach can work in the classroom. Using the topic of Buying my new car: free choice or government regulation?, participants discussed scientific ideas around carbon footprint, CO2 levels and their impact on climate change. They delved into data science with mathematical modeling around car efficiencies and economics, examined their own car desires and motivations for selecting a car and then thought deeply and shared ideas on the ethical question of whether there should be government policies determining the type of car one drives which are based on what benefits everyone in terms of clean air and climate change challenges. The focus was on multiple perspectives and how to use controversial issues in the classroom so that students can apply the science they learn to the hard choices they make in the real world.
Teachers also formed teams that they would work with over the course of the three intensives in which they would identify their own controversial socio-scientific issue and develop a lesson plan that they would teach in their classrooms. The pre- and in-service teacher teams came up with a variety of interesting topics such as Race as a Genetic vs Social Construct, Water Cycle and You! – We Got Some Things in Common, Food — how does food affect your health?, How safe are the schools with asbestos?, and others and made plans to meet virtually to develop the lessons.
During the second Intensive in February, 2020, Participants actually got intense with multiple perspectives. Led by Noyce Teacher, Tasnim Aziz, now studying for her graduate degree at Teachers’ College in NY, the group engaged in debates around the topic of Genetic Engineering from the perspective of various stakeholders, i.e. researchers, parents, religious leaders, pharma representatives and policy makers. Having to think in someone else’s mindset and use their voice to express your position was a difficult task and demanded that you understand the science and data that surrounded your position so that you could represent it well. And sometimes, you had to argue a position that you did not personally believe in which helped you appreciate the perspective that others were coming from. Check out one participant arguing his position from the perspective of a parent here.
Unfortunately, before we could hold the final Intensive and plan for the end of the year conference, COVID 19 struck and we decided to hold off on having teachers attend the rest of these sessions so that they could plan for their virtual classroom transitions. The group did get together virtually once so that they could hear how the program would continue in the Fall/Winter 2020 (an NSF No-Cost Extension will allow us to do this!) and to hear a presentation by one of the teachers who actually got a chance to teach his lesson before schools closed down. David Bungard, Noyce Teacher at Bodine High School, shared his process and the amazing results he got from careful planning when he taught a unit on “To GMO or Not to GMO?”.
STEM Teachers Attending Events in 2016-17
Mentoring Hours Provided New Teachers in 2015-16
Events Hosted or Sponsored in past 5 years
Looking for a teaching job? Check out our Jobs and Opportunities section for what’s out there.
To download a Why Hire a Noyce Scholar flyer, click here.
School District of Philadelphia Launches a New Effort to Hire 800 New Teachers! Many will be Math and Science Teachers!
Spotlight on Scholars
Featured Scholar – Somi (Sridevi) Somireddy
Sridevi Somireddy (Dunddumalla) has a master’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in education from India. Growing up in India, she saw education as a path towards success. Somi’s school teachers expressed the importance of education in breaking cycles of poverty and disprivilege, highlighting the United States of America as a beacon of hope with its world-class education. Recognizing how education has shaped her as a person, Somi became a mathematics teacher in India with the hopes of offering not only instruction in the classroom but also guidance through life to her students. After giving birth to her first daughter, Somi pursued a teaching position with The Philadelphia School District.
Over the past eighteen years, Somi watched herself and her family grow in their new country. Adapting western ideals, they embraced new people and new ideas. Somi’s teaching style changed from the methodical approach she used in India to a more creative and investigative approach, instilling her core belief that education is a path towards success.
After seeing the importance of project based learning and a multidisciplinary teaching style, Somi felt the need for her students to develop creative and problem-solving skills to become lifelong learners. She implemented EFS teaching strategies in her classroom by bringing sustainability and mathematics together to give a more holistic approach to education that helps students recognize the importance of math in creating a better future.
At her current school, Mastbaum, Somi teaches mathematics and is the mathematics department head. Somi believes that teaching is an ever-changing profession that constantly adapts to new generations, technologies, and resources. As department head, she works hard to strategize with other teachers the best way to address all student needs. She believes that teaching cannot be confined to one approach. She encourages teachers to make their classrooms exciting by experimenting with different approaches and openly share what worked and what might not have worked to learn from both successes and failures.
Somi is most excited about the adaptive nature of teaching. Technology in the classrooms twenty years ago was seen as a privilege but now it becomes almost a necessity. Moving forward, Somi hopes to educate other teachers on the constantly changing process of teaching and learning and to help bring EFS standards more prominence in classrooms across the math curriculum.