About the Sci-Ed Fellowship
The mission of the Sci-Ed Innovators Fellowship Program is to build expertise in teachers that empowers them to engage low-income minority youth in science, technology, engineering and computer science education; and allows students to construct identities of themselves as capable citizens who use critical science agency to transform their own lives and bring about positive change to their communities.
The Sci-Ed Innovators Fellowship Program is a year long experience, designed to engage and support New York City middle and high-school science teachers who work in underserved schools. Through regular monthly workshops, dialogue with experts and peers (both in person and online), and a critical examination of their practice, fellows learn to transform their students’ experience by applying and further developing the Democratic Science Teaching Framework, initially conceived by Professor Sreyashi Jhumki Basu. The Fellowship experience challenges participants to examine their teaching practices through the lens of the framework. For any given learning experience, Sci-Ed Innovators ask the following questions:
- Where in this learning experience is there room for student choice?
- Where in this learning experience can I enhance my students' voice and learn more about their ideas?
- How am I helping my students to build on their pre-existing funds of knowledge?
- In what ways can I personalize this learning experience for my students?
- How and when are my students investigating science in an authentic way, becoming subject matter experts who leverage their knowledge for small- and large-scale change?
Fellows who are selected for the program participate in a year-long community of practice with a mixture of first and second year participants. Twice over the course of the year, Fellows publish a 3-5 minute digital story demonstrating a new democratic science teaching practice. In May of each year, Fellows and a group of their students participate in the annual Sci-Ed Innovators Expo and Symposium.
The annual Sci-Ed Innovators Expo and Symposium provides science teachers representing under-served schools an opportunity to share their innovative teaching methods through their students’ projects. The fourth annual Sci-Ed Expo was held on May 8, 2013 at New York University. The Expo featured students and teachers from more than fifty New York area public schools; and attracted more than 400 attendees representing researchers, policy makers, leading educational, governmental, non-profit and corporate organizations.
Sci-Ed Fellows engage in design-based professional development that views them as problem solvers. Conceived of as two problem-solving cycles over the course of the year, Fellows identify problems of practice, iterate on their attempts to transform their students’ experience using democratic science teaching methods, collaborate with their colleagues to push one another’s thinking, and share their in-process solutions with a larger audience. Our “Windows into the Classrooms,” or WICs, name the digital product that emerges from our collaborative design process. WICs are short, structured digital multimedia narratives produced by Fellows that demonstrate the ways in which they use democratic science teaching practices to solve problems in their classrooms. Fellows use a variety of digital tools to tell and publish their story. Over the course of the Fellowship, Fellows publish two 3-5 minute digital narratives.
What do I get?
As a Sci-Ed Innovators Fellow, you will:
- Enhance your professional network through participation in monthly workshops in a supportive community of practice
- Receive mentorship from experienced science educators and charismatic practitioners of Democratic Science Pedagogy
- Analyze student and teacher work through the lenses of the Democratic Science Teaching Framework and the Common Core teaching standards
- Publish evidence of your changed teaching practice in an online community of like-minded practitioners
- Present your work with a group of your students at the Sci-Ed Innovators Expo & Symposium
- Receive a stipend ($2000) and a Flip Video camera to document your work
You will also:
- Increase your knowledge of techniques to address major challenges facing urban science teachers and students
- Become more reflective, evaluating your teaching practices in light of the ideas underlying democratic science teaching (student voice, shared authority, and critical science literacy)
- Improve your leadership skills
- Become involved in a dynamic group of science educators committed to further developing their practice and supporting their fellow teachers
- Explore different ways in which you can use digital tools in your classroom
- Develop expertise using democratic science teaching methods to align your work with the Citywide Instructional Expectations
What is the time commitment?
There is a 2-day Summer Kick-Off Event prior to the start of the year in late August 2013 (exact dates TBD). During the school year, Fellows are expected to attend ten professional development workshops, which will be held from 9am - 4pm one Saturday of each month from September through June. Fellows present (with a group of their students) at the annual Sci-Ed Innovators Expo & Symposium held in the Spring. In addition to the live component of the fellowship, online participation and preparation for the Saturday workshops are required.
- Summer Kickoff: August 23rd and 24th, 2013
- Workshop 1: September 21, 2013
- Workshop 2: October 26, 2013
- Workshop 3: November 16, 2013
- Workshop 4: December 14, 2013
- Workshop 5: February 1, 2014
- Workshop 6: March 1, 2014
- Workshop 7: March 29, 2014
- Workshop 8: April 26, 2014
- Workshop 9: May 17, 2014
- Annual Sci-Ed Expo (tentative): May 31, 2014
- Workshop 10: June 14, 2014
Who should apply?
The Sci-Ed Innovators Fellowship is open to urban science educators in the NYC area. In order to be eligible for the fellowship, teachers must:
- Have at least two years of teaching experience (including the current school year)
- Teach full time in the current academic year, with at least 50% of their classes in a STEM area
- Teach in an urban school in or around NYC (preference is given to teachers in underserved NYC public schools)
- Commit to fulfilling the expectations of the program
How do I apply?
The Fellowship application process consists of an online application, a professional letter of recommendation, a signed letter of support from your principal, and a group interview.
- Part 1: The online application can be accessed here.
- Part 2: Please email a letter of recommendation from a colleague who is familiar with your work to Program Manager, Anna Poole (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Part 3: Signed Letter of Support from your principal
- Part 4: Once your application is submitted you will be contacted by one of our staff to schedule a group interview
Feedback from current and past Fellows:
The Sci-Ed Program is and will be the most valuable professional development experience for me because it actually helped me to become more of the teacher I want to be. - 2013 Fellow
Typical professional development gives top-down information. The Sci-Ed Fellowship gives horizontal support. - 2013 Fellow
I really appreciate that I'm learning democratic science teaching methods by directly applying them right now in my classroom. - 2013 Fellow
The Sci-Ed fellowship has given me a chance to see inside other science classrooms in New York City and make my own classroom a more effective and fun space for students. The collaboration with other teachers at various levels in their career has been a fantastic resource. - 2012 Fellow
I always leave our meetings inspired to try new things in my classroom. - 2012 Fellow
Teaching can be isolating, so having like-minded people around is exciting and reinvigorating. - 2011 Fellow
The small group breakout was the most powerful part of the day because it was driven by our needs... that's how you build a community. - 2011 Fellow
We were doing a lot of these things in our classes anyway, but now we have a vocabulary to talk about it. - 2011 Fellow