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Discussion: Middle school curriculum reform: What is your growing edge?

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posted by: Scott Hays on April 26, 1999 at 7:01PM
subject: Hello
Hi, I am Scott Hays. I am a staff developer from LASERS (Language
Acquisition through Science Education in Rural Schools) located on the
central coast of California (Salinas and Pajaro River Valleys). Our NSF
grant has one more year, and we are looking to perhaps take what we have
been doing to the middle school level. This means we have nothing to offer
(in terms of experiences and/or suggestions), but are looking to sponge up
everything else everyone else has to say. Well . . . . that's not quite
true. I personally taught middle school students in a self-contained 4-8
classroom for 20 years and know the little darlings quite well. I have
also been closely associated with CSIN (Calif Science Implementation
Network) and its many affiliations, including SPAN -- which is the current
funded middle school project that is part of the K-12 Alliance in
California. In short, though I am mostly going to lurk (and hopefully ask
good questions), there are a few things that I can lay on the table if push
comes to shove.

You should also know that I am the designated LASERS rep on this list. I
am charged with keeping the rest of our staff, in particular Robbie Jaffe
(or executive director) informed about what is said here. I have a say in
what LASERS does and is, but I am not a person with authority to make
decisions (heck, a good part of the time the light is all shining on me,
but other times I can hardly see).

It is hard for me to know exactly what questions to ask. Since we are in a
planning stage, and probably thinking about commencing to start planning
how to begin, we need to know EVERYTHING! But if I were forced to put a
couple of cards on the table, I guess for starters I would be very
interested in knowing how middle school teachers -- especially those
teaching subjects in which they have a degree (and therefore, a great deal
of knowledge) -- can be convinced that they have a stake in changing (or
even a need to change) their practice, and then brought to the table as
partners in planning for that change. I would be interested in knowing
just who the key players have been in supporting that change in the
projects that have had experience to date. And I would want to know why a
science content specialist in middle school would want to do anything to
help students with their english language proficiency (since that seems to
always be a problem that THEY have in the language arts department -- if
they just came to me speaking english, I could do wonders!).

How's that for starters?

Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog,
it's too dark to read
Groucho Marx

Scott Hays
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