The Local Systemic Change Through Teacher Enhancement project is the result of a collaboration between five Alabama school districts and the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH). The collaboration of school districts includes Athens, Decatur, Fort Payne, Morgan County, and Scottsboro, Alabama. The project combines resources from the school districts, UAH and local engineers and scientists to support a hands-on, activity-inquiry, module-based science curriculum. The curriculum to be implemented includes NSF-supported Science and Technology for Children (STC), Full Option Science System (FOSS), and EDC's INSIGHTS materials as instructional modules. The new science program offers equitable opportunities to all students, incorporates principles of the new State Course of Study of Science, and is aligned with national content, teaching and assessment standards. The five school districts, in collaboration with the university, also support a Materials Resource Center that supplies and refurbishes materials for teachers and provides professional development for teachers and principals.
During this five-year project, 518 teachers receive 100 hours of professional development and 102 selected lead teachers receive 230-400 hours of enhancement. This extensive training builds local capability for continued improvement after the project expires. The summer program focuses on the enhancement of the lead teachers. They analyze progress made during the past year, plan follow-up activities and prepare new workshops for teachers and principals in the upcoming school year. They provide leadership to the teachers in their schools for implementing change. Three of these lead teachers are chosen to become part of the full-time project staff so that they can conduct workshops, visit schools to assist in on-site enhancement, and guide district and cross-district teacher enhancement sessions. The role of the lead teacher- principal teams is to inform parents about the project and gather their support.