Two Moore County Teachers Named Kenan Fellows
Two Moore County teachers have been selected by the Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development at North Carolina State University as class of 2012 Kenan Fellows.
They are Mildred Bankhead-Smith, a science teacher at West Pine Middle, and Jennifer Kearney, a math teacher at Pinecrest High.
The Kenan Fellows Program is an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science at North Carolina State University, supported in part by Fort Bragg's BRAC Realignment Task Force. It is an innovative model to promote teacher leadership, address teacher retention and advance K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
Bankhead-Smith's fellowship is titled "Developing an Integrated Course Learning Community." She will work closely with Fayetteville State University under the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Erin White, assistant professor of natural sciences.
The purpose is to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and research and to demonstrate the need for "learning communities." The curriculum developed will be modeled in her classroom.
The strategies implemented are developed to improve student performance of freshmen academies, career academies, magnet programs, public schools and small learning communities. The small learning communities model will be expanded to include integrated course learning communities in STEM that have real life applications and an inquiry-based focus. "Learning communities" are a linked set of at least three courses that explore a common theme.
The fellowship is a five-year commitment. During the summer of year one, three lesson plans will be developed. Bankhead-Smith will participate in a five-week, hands-on summer research experience, two weeks of residential professional development in one summer and three additional days the following fall and spring.
"From this experience, I will develop new, inquiry-based curriculum to share with other teachers in their schools, districts and across North Carolina," she said. "During years two through five, I will collaborate with the Kenan program staff and university faculty to plan a strategy for involvement with regional pre-service teacher education programs."
Kearney's fellowship is titled "The Power of Statistics in the Math or Science Classroom." Her mentor is Dr. Raymond Lee, associate professor of math at UNC Pembroke.
During the first year of the five-year fellowship, she will develop three lessons. The next four years will be spent collaborating with program staff and university faculty to plan a strategy for involvement with regional pre-service teacher education programs.
Her mentor will provide guidance in planning a research project that matches Kearney's professional needs and interests. Her task will be to carry out the research, collect data and collaborate regularly with Lee to analyze the data and use the results to make predictions related to her project.
"My objective is to develop engaging, inquiry-based lessons and implement them in the classroom," she said. "This hands-on research experience will enable me to develop data collecting and exploring activities for my students and other teachers to share a clear rationale for experimentation and statistical inference with students."
Bankhead-Smith is an 11-year veteran of the classroom with a master's degree in teaching (science). She is presently working on her doctorate in curriculum and instruction.
Kearney has 21 years of teaching experience. She holds a master's degree in mathematics and is a nationally board certified teacher.
Since 2000, the Kenan Fellows Program has offered fellowships for public school teachers in North Carolina to enhance STEM curriculum and build strong leadership skills, a news release said.
The program provides N.C. educators an opportunity to collaborate with scientists and innovators to update their understanding of the important changes in these fields, and to put their new expertise to work in the classroom.
A $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation piloted 18 Kenan Fellows Master Teacher Fellowships in the 11-county BRAC region in 2010.
The program builds a network of highly trained and influential master STEM teachers to help prepare students for 21st century careers and support collaboration that enhances and aligns the work of institutions of higher education, local school districts, regional economic/work force development organizations and industry. Kenan Fellows master teachers also contribute to the training of new teachers.
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