Through a unique partnership between Fordham Graduate School of Education and Icahn Charter Schools, undergraduate and graduate math and science students who are working to obtain Transitional B Teaching Certificates are playing a key role as teachers in four schools in the Bronx. Transitional B Certificates permit employment of an individual as a classroom teacher in a New York State public school for up to three years and lead to an initial teaching certificate.
Currently, four Fordham students in the program have been conducting remote learning/student teaching at the Icahn schools since the COVID shutdown in March. Overseen by Field Supervisor Anthony Cavanna, Ed.D., the students will be engaged in student teaching and training (courses) for a total of two years. The administrators and faculty involved in the program are Karen Andronico, Ed.D., director of field based education and accountability; John Craven, Ph.D., associate professor of education; Alesia Moldavan, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics education, and Arlene Moliterno, Ph.D., clinical professor of education. As of September 2020, the student teachers will be able to become teachers of record.
Those in this program draw upon their math and science content expertise during the student teaching experience, while simultaneously taking teaching courses and workshops in a 200-hour boot camp designed to help them become excellent teachers. According to Cavanna, “This is a unique program – ideal for students who may not have necessarily thought they would become teachers, but are interested in considering it as a career option.” He added, “The partnership with Icahn Charter Schools is a fantastic opportunity to provide New York City students with high quality mathematics and science teachers”. Moldavan, who taught in the program this summer, also noted, “many of them [the program participants]have been pleasantly surprised by their interest in working with students.” She continued, “They have been able to share their knowledge about their content specialty and connect on a deeper level with the local community, especially during the uncertain time of COVID-19.”
To limit course disruptions when in-person classes were redirected online, Moldavan shared that she adopted a hybrid remote learning model that enabled her to blend synchronous and asynchronous instruction by using tools like Zoom and Google Drive to create an active and collaborative learning environment. From the instructor’s perspective, she found that using online instructional resources enhanced student participation in the course. For example, Moldavan used a flipped instruction model to encourage student engagement by moving lecture and research outside the classroom, which left more time for student-led discussions and interactive activities during the synchronous instruction.
Given its initial success, Fordham and Icahn plan to continue the program and grow cohorts over the next few years to support the needs of even more secondary schools seeking mathematics and science teachers.