Sarah Hick

Hamline awarded $375K grant to enroll St. Paul science teachers in leadership degree program

Hamline University was recently awarded a $375,978 Noyce Track 3 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Named after influential physicist and entrepreneur Robert Noyce, the program was established to address the critical need for recruiting, preparing and retaining highly effective mathematics and science teachers and teacher leaders in high-need school districts.

These funds will cover the tuition for 18 secondary science teachers from Saint Paul Public Schools to pursue an educational specialist degree in leadership for equitable innovation and transformation from Hamline University’s School of Education and Leadership. Through Hamline’s edS program, these teachers will be empowered to become science education leaders within their buildings and the district.

“This program is for educators who already have their master’s degree and want to become science teacher leaders in their schools, district, and state,” said Sarah Hick, HSEL professor and Hamline’s principal investigator for the grant. “They want to develop their leadership skills for great teaching, mentoring, and professional development.”

The grant will cover Hamline tuition for the degree sequence at a pace of about 1 course per semester over the five-year grant period. This group of grade 6-12 teachers will progress through the program as a cohort, so many courses will be tailored to their specific experience as secondary science teachers to best meet their needs and goals.

Hick, a former SPPS science teacher herself, applied for the grant knowing both the challenges local teachers face in the classroom and what a difference this opportunity could make for teachers and their students.

“I had so much fun and saw great learning happening in my classroom teaching biology at Saint Paul Central High School, so I know how robust the learning can be and how fun and engaging the teaching can be,” “Hick said. “I just want to do everything I can to help teachers these days, many of whom are beleaguered by large class sizes and struggles related to technology and other disruptions in the classroom. I want to help them get excited about their jobs, which helps students get excited about learning in their classroom.”

The cohort of 18 SPPS science teachers will begin their postgraduate education at Hamline in August 2024. 

The funds for this cohort are part of a larger $2.9 million grant between Hamline University, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul Public School and the non-profit science curriculum organization Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. Grant money allocated to these partners will in part cover stipends for the fellows, professional development, observations and other support.