UConn’s Neag School of Education Partners With Norwich Free Academy on Free Summer STEM Program

science; middle school students; STEM; Norwich Free AcademyStudents currently earning state certification to become science teachers as part of the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG) at UConn’s Neag School of Education will have their first school-based practice teaching experience thanks to a partnership with Norwich Free Academy. Head of NFA’s Science Department Stephani Jones and NFA science teacher Sara Leisten are working with John Settlage, professor of science teacher education at the UConn Avery Point campus, to offer a free summer STEM enrichment program on NFA’s Broadway campus from July 11-14 to students entering grades 6, 7, and 8.

A cohort of 10 aspiring teachers enrolled in TCPCG at the Neag School are completing coursework to prepare for student-teaching in the fall at area schools, including three TCPCG enrollees slated to student-teach at Norwich Free Academy. The summer STEM program at NFA will serve as a teaching laboratory and a culminating course experience for those preparing to be certified in science. The teacher trainees will gain firsthand experience with about 50 students from Norwich, as well as other towns, including Plainfield and Pawcatuck.

The summer program will extend learning in critical STEM areas for the sixth- to eighth-graders, while at the same time offering pre-service teachers a rich learning experience. Jones and Leisten will be at Avery Point June 27 to consult with the teachers about lesson planning, design, and delivery in preparation for the four-day program, helping the TCPCG candidates learn the skills to become reflective practitioners.

“For the aspiring science teachers enrolled in our accelerated teacher certification program at the Neag School — many of whom are established professionals undertaking a career change — this opportunity to acquire direct experience working with youth is key,” says Settlage. “We’re grateful to NFA for accommodating our TCPCG students in this valuable, real-world experience in the classroom.”

During the four-day summer STEM program, pre-service teachers will deliver instruction to students of all abilities from 8:30 a.m.-12 noon. After the sixth- to eighth-graders leave campus for the day, the TCPCG candidates will remain to attend afternoon classes with UConn professors on campus at NFA.

Neag School Dean Gladis Kersaint will be at NFA to visit the STEM teacher preparation and student enrichment program on July 14.

Learn more about the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG) here.