New Teacher Network | Overview

New Teacher Network: Supporting New Secondary Mathematics Teachers

The New Teacher Network (NTN), a three-year mentoring and professional development program for new secondary mathematics teachers, has been open to Nebraska mathematics teachers who have fewer than three complete years' teaching experience. Even the most outstanding graduate of a teacher education program is, at best, a well-started beginning teacher. However, a highly motivated new teacher who is a reflective practitioner and who is supported by a well-designed mentoring and graduate education program can make rapid progress on his or her journey to becoming an outstanding master teacher. In order to support the rapid development of Nebraska's most outstanding secondary mathematics teachers, NebraskaMATH created the NebraskaMATH New Teacher Network. Teachers selected for the New Teacher Network had the opportunity over three years to earn up to 24 hours of graduate credit at no cost to the teacher for tuition or fees.

New Teacher Network 2011

The Three Components

  1. Professional Development Opportunities – Teachers chosen for the NTN between 2009 and 2012 had three years to take up to eight courses (24 credit hours) with no charge for tuition and fees; six of the courses can be taken during the summer, two during the ensuing academic years.
    • Up to six courses can be taken during three summers, through UNL's Nebraska Math & Science Summer Institutes (NMSSI). Each summer, NTN teachers are given priority status to register for a pair of NMSSI courses specifically chosen to serve NTN teachers.
    • TEAC 991, a pedagogy course that includes a strong mentoring component focused on building community and developing habits of reflection, will be open only to teachers in the NTN and is one of the academic-year course options during AY 2012-2013 and AY 2013-2014.
    • The remaining options for courses will be designed for mathematics teachers and offered by the Department of Mathematics in a format that includes a distance learning option.
  2. Mentoring - During the year that NTN teachers took TEAC 991: Field Studies in Education, they also benefitted from a substantial mentoring experience supported by the class instructors and a "teacher liaison" that supported the new teacher's growth.
  3. Networking - During teachers' three years of participation in the NTN, they were part of a network of other (relatively) new mathematics teachers and their liaisons who corresponded, collaborated and shared resources with one another. For NTN, they used the online Nebraska Math and Science Network.

Instructional Format

NMSSI and New Teacher Network Summer Institute courses use a concentrated immersion approach developed by the Math in the Middle Institute Partnership. For two weeks, classes meet 8-5 daily (Monday-Friday) with nightly homework. At the end of a course, teachers complete an End-of-Course Assignment designed to support the long-term retention of material studied in the course. Thus, teachers are able to earn 6 graduate credits each summer while being in class for only two weeks. While this approach is intense, support for participants is substantial. This approach has proved to be quites popular with teachers because it protects most of the summer for other activities.

During the academic year, courses for NTN participants were offered as either a blended course (with a few face-to-face visits but with the majority of the course online) or as a distance course online.

Coursework focused on mathematics and the teaching of mathematics, thus strengthening new teachers' abilities to teach mathematics while making rapid progress on their district's salary structure. In addition, NTN participants were supported by a strong mentoring program and were part of a professional network of mathematics teachers across the state.

Publications

Smith, W. M., Graupner, S., Hayek, L. M., & Welker, J. L. (2012). Essential elements for building community: The New Teacher Network. In California Mathematics Project (Ed.), Monograph: Mathematics Teacher Retention, pp. 124-129. Los Angeles, CA: California Mathematics Project. Click here to read publication.

NebraskaMATH Final Report 2015

Over the past six years, the $9.3 million NSF-funded NebraskaMATH grant has impacted more than 700 teacher leaders across the state. The "NebraskaMATH Final Report,” published in 2015, showcases the scope of the grant’s three core programs, Primarily Math, New Teacher Network and Nebraska Algebra, as well as the programs that grew from them. Funded by the National Science Foundation, NebraskaMATH thanks not only the NSF for its support, but also the many teachers who have taken our courses and have gone back into their classrooms dedicated to the young people of Nebraska. It’s been an inspiration to collaborate with all of you. Download a copy of the final report by clicking on the image of the report.