The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), in collaboration with New York University's Institute for Education and Social Policy, is developing an innovative model of science teacher preparation. The project leverages the scientific and educational resources of a world class informal education institution, AMNH, with best practices from Urban Teacher Residency programs. The primary project goal is to create an alternative pathway for teacher candidates to earn a Board of Regents-awarded Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree with a specialization in Earth Science teaching for grades 7-12.
The proposed 15-month, 36-credit academic program will initially serve 50 prospective Earth Science teachers. Teacher candidates will participate in rigorous coursework in science content and pedagogy, summer teaching and science practicum residencies at AMNH, and mentored school-based residencies in high-need schools in the New York City region. Following graduation, teachers will maintain their ties with AMNH and commit to a minimum of four years of teaching in high-need, low-performing New York City schools.
Strong educational research and evaluation components will help to determine the impact of this new teacher preparation model on student achievement in New York City schools. More specifically, this project will answer the question "How do students taught by first year AMNH MAT Earth Science teachers perform academically in comparison with students taught by first year Earth Science teachers not prepared in the AMNH program?", with the hypothesis that teachers trained through the AMNH program will produce higher achieving students as measured by their scores on New York State (NYS) science assessments.
In light of the NYS requirement that the pilot program be implemented in high-need, low-performing schools, this project has the potential to engage, motivate and improve the Earth Science achievement and interest in STEM careers of thousands of students from traditionally underrepresented populations including English language learners, special education students, and racial minority groups. In addition, this project will gather meaningful data on the role informal science education organizations can play in preparing well-qualified Earth Science teachers.