Our fellowship program—developed in New York City over the last decade—serves as a national model to inspire the development of new programs in cities and states across the country.
Our model is simple. We don’t fix teachers. We don’t reform their practice. Instead, we focus on excellence and trust. We find the best teachers across New York City and build a professional community for them to collaborate and learn from one another. Ultimately, we inspire them to stay in the classroom and amplify their impact across the city and beyond.
We award two distinct four-year mathematics and science fellowships: one for teachers who are early in their careers and who show extraordinary promise and another for experienced, accomplished teachers. All teachers who receive an MƒA fellowship join a city-wide STEM community of critical thinkers, collaborative learners, and acclaimed experts. We advocate for teachers to be respected and trusted as professionals and to have access to a meaningful professional community where their voices are prominent. We believe MfA is changing the way we think about teachers and teaching in America. Our goal is to improve retention nationally by establishing a network of independent programs modeled on MƒA that supports communities of accomplished mathematics and science teachers across the country.
We’ve created a community-based fellowship program for outstanding mathematics and science teachers. Our model is grounded on the belief that collaboration, continued learning, and genuine respect not only helps teachers grow professionally, but also provides them with long-term career satisfaction.
MƒA teachers meet regularly both professionally and socially, online and in person, taking and facilitating courses together and building strong new professional relationships throughout their fellowships.
We believe participation in a professional community is critical to sustain teachers in their careers – and attending, designing and leading courses at MƒA is just the beginning.
Throughout each fellowship, MƒA teachers engage in - and often facilitate - a wide range of learning opportunities and explore common themes to develop skills and new strategies for reaching all students. Our vast community of scientists and mathematicians work with our teachers to provide opportunities to deepen content knowledge and make new connections. MƒA Master Teachers themselves serve as mentors for MƒA Early Career Teachers so they, too, can grow and make teaching a lifelong career. Our teachers can access each other through our private online community to pose in-the-moment questions or propose meet-ups for study groups or events.
As hard as teachers work, we know communities bond through informal collaborations together too. MƒA provides many opportunities for teachers to get to know each other outside of the school day as well. Playing on our softball team and attending social events, special lectures, and screenings are just a few ways we see teachers immersing themselves in the MƒA community.
Through our fellowships, MƒA teachers deepen their own content knowledge, refine and expand their skills as pedagogues, and examine the best ways to teach every student in their classrooms. MƒA teachers engage in a wide range of high quality, STEM-focused professional courses and events – much of it designed by and for our community the teachers themselves – throughout the school year.
On most evenings throughout the school year, MƒA classrooms are full of both experienced and new teachers who are facilitating and participating in high quality, advanced STEM-focused courses and events. There are several course formats including:
- Professional Learning Teams (PLTs), which are small teams of teachers who meet monthly to collaboratively learn, investigate, and implement best practices.
- Year-long courses, where experts from outside academic institutions engage MƒA teachers at the cutting edge of their content area and/or pedagogical practice.
- Mini-courses, where experts from outside academic institutions and from the MƒA Master Teacher community engage MƒA teachers at the cutting edge of their content area and/or pedagogical practice.
- Cohort meetings, which are regular workshops designed to provide opportunities for teachers to lead, collaborate, learn, share, and reflect with their peers.
- Single session workshops, where experts from the MƒA Master Teacher community and outside academic institutions engage MƒA teachers at the cutting edge of their content area and/or pedagogical practice.
- Interest Groups, which are designed for small groups of teachers to meet informally around a common interest, providing opportunities to make connections, begin conversations with their colleagues, and discover ideas for new courses or PLTs at MƒA.
- Other Engagement opportunities, where teachers can attend and participate in special events, such as panel discussions, talk from experts within the MƒA community and by individuals from outside academic institutions, MƒA Thursday Thinks and the MƒA Summer Think, our Master Teachers on Teaching event, and Chancellor’s Day workshops.
Teachers in our fellowships are impressive professionals, and we elevate their achievements to build the respect, trust, and recognition they deserve. We provide stipends to teachers, honor them through special events, and offer opportunities to share their perspective and work both locally and nationally. In all these ways, we celebrate not only our teachers but the teaching profession.
MƒA teachers, as expert professionals, exemplify what it means to be a great teachers.
At MƒA we advocate for teachers across our community, New York City, and nationally to be respected as professionals and to have access to a meaningful professional community where their voices are prominent.
Since its inception in 2004, MƒA has worked to inspire, support, and share new ideas that shape policy, practice, and the retention of excellent teachers in mathematics and science across New York City’s 1,700 public schools.
MƒA Keeps Accomplished Teachers in the Classroom Longer
It is teachers who have the greatest effect, who ultimately shape the future of their students and our society. That is why keeping the best mathematics and science teachers in the classroom is as important as ever. Students are more likely to succeed with a teacher that has honed his or her craft over time. Losing teachers and training new ones is also costly. Over a period of 4 years (2012 – 2016) , MƒA Master Teachers have stayed in the classroom twice as long as their counterparts who are not a part of the MƒA community. This trend has only improved in 2017, with the attrition rate of MƒA Master Teachers shrinking to 3%.
MƒA teachers are also staying in schools with the highest need. Historically, schools serving primarily students of color and students in poverty have disproportionately witnessed the highest turnover in teachers.
Among schools that reported above 60% student poverty levels in the 2015-16 academic year, an overwhelming percentage of MfA teachers remained teaching at a high poverty school the following year. Meaning, in schools where the best STEM teachers are needed most, MfA teachers keep a steady presence.
Staying in schools longer also means MfA teachers have ongoing opportunities to build connections among other MƒA teachers and their school peers by exchanging ideas and applying valuable learnings about pedagogy and content. MƒA teachers reported several critical areas of practice influenced by connections made at MƒA.
MƒA is a Successful Model that Can be Replicated
Through our fellowships, MƒA teachers report that they continue to develop a deep understanding of pedagogy. They also enhance their content knowledge through MƒA professional development. Moreover, they cite increased confidence, strong connections to a professional community, and above all, a desire to stay in the classroom.
Our fellowships have inspired a network of programs, each of which provide the best STEM teachers with fellowships that keep them in the classroom and at the cutting edge of teaching and learning. The MƒA Master Teacher Fellowship is a model that can be used to retain our best public school STEM teachers by establishing independent, statewide, prestigious professional learning and growth programs and communities.
Our goal is to see the MƒA fellowship model replicated across the country and recognized for its ability to retain and attract the very best mathematics and science teachers.
Launched in 2013, the New York State Master Teacher program is an integral part of a statewide education strategy aimed at retaining the best teachers in order to create a world-class STEM learning environment for students.