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Tennessee STEM Education Center


Primary Investigator: Gregory Rushton,

Additional PIs: Kevin Krahenbuhl, Keith Gamble, Katherine Miller, Ryan Jones

Sponsor: National Science Foundation Sponsor Award Number: 2345138

Award Amount: $2,990,932
Award Start Date: 6/15/20234 Award End Date: 5/31/2029
Field: STEM Education; Data Science Activity: Public Service

Overview: This project aims to serve the national need of recruiting and retaining high-quality STEM teacher leaders in high need K-12 schools by developing STEM teachers in grades 5-8 into both leaders in their schools and Data Science Education (DSE) communities. Data Science competencies are increasingly important for students to be well prepared for professional opportunities and engage in civic discourse. However, most STEM teachers lack the necessary skills to engage students with data in productive ways, especially the ever-expanding forms of data from new digital technologies and in meaningful ways. In addition, STEM teachers often lack the opportunities and support to grow into leaders that can support and influence colleagues in their schools and districts. The project’s design includes development of teacher competency, recognition, belonging and identity so that partner teachers become leaders in their local context who contribute to the improvement of STEM education in sustainable and professionally fulfilling ways. This project will develop, implement, and study this innovative program for in-service STEM teachers in grades 5-8. In addition, the program will integrate coursework in leadership and DSE and support teachers in using concepts from these classes in their local contexts through leadership experiences, community building, and recurring reflection meetings.

This project at Middle Tennessee State University is conducted in partnership with Cannon County Schools, Bedford County Schools, Murfreesboro City Schools, and The Concord Consortium. Project goals include the development of a new program for developing teacher leaders in DSE, 16 Master Teaching Fellows (MTFs) with new expertise and support to guide colleagues to create novel approaches to data science education in their schools and districts. This project will recruit MTFs from a pool of middle school STEM teachers in partner districts and conduct research on their changing ideas and practices related to DSE and leadership in their local contexts. In partnership with local school districts and The Concord Consortium, this program will center an innovative platform for learning about data science, the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP). CODAP?s development has been supported through multiple NSF grants, and the professional learning opportunities built from this platform will result in a cohort of teacher leaders that will be equipped to make creative and sustainable contributions to their local schools and districts. This project will contribute to STEM education through research findings on how teachers’ ideas and practices change as they grow into DSE leaders in their schools and districts. This study will examine MTFs? changing knowledge, practices, and professional identity using interviews, MTF data science lessons, written reflections from MTFs, and their capstone projects. The intellectual merit of this project is the contribution of knowledge about how to develop and support data science education leaders, and the broader impacts will be more leaders in schools supporting students to learn about data and modeling. An external evaluator will evaluate the project through regular reviews and disseminate the products and knowledge through professional conferences, publications, professional networks, and programming for the Tennessee STEM Education Research Center and The Concord Consortium. This Track 3: Master Teaching Fellowships project is supported through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce). The Noyce program supports talented STEM undergraduate majors and professionals to become effective K-12 STEM teachers and experienced, exemplary K-12 teachers to become STEM master teachers in high-need school districts. It also supports research on the effectiveness and retention of K-12 STEM teachers in high-need school districts.

Participating Districts

Bedford County

Cannon County

Murfreesboro City Schools

Progress Updates

Content coming soon.

Future Opportunities to Participate

Content coming soon.

Contact Us


Tennessee STEM Education Center
820 Fairview Avenue
Fairview Building, Suite 102
MTSU Box #82
Murfreesboro, TN 37132