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Annual Report Overviews


Annual Overview

submitter: Project SEEDS: Science Education Enhancing the Development of Skills, K-6
published: 11/19/1998
posted to site: 11/19/1998

Science Education Enhancing the Development of Skills

ESI# 9453920

Stark County, Ohio
PI Annual Progress Report
Year III Report: 1997-98

Part I. Annual Overview

SEEDS is a local systemic change initiative for science grades K-6. The goal of the project is to improve the teaching of elementary science by implementing a hands-on, minds-on science program integrated with other content areas. The development of the project in 1991-92 was initially driven by the local school business partnership. SEEDS is a collaboration of sixteen schools districts and three private schools, the Stark County Educational Service Center, The Education Enhancement Partnership, and Ashland University. There are 4 rural districts, 4 suburban districts, 2 urban districts, and 6 small town districts in the project serving one thousand teachers (90% female) and twenty-five thousand students. Although there is demographic variation between districts, the county average is 93% white, 6% black, 1% other, and 15% disadvantaged. School districts have developed a standards-based curriculum and utilize primarily FOSS, STC, and Insights for instructional materials. The project webpage can be found at

The SEEDS model consists of one hundred hours of professional development obtained through leadership training, Immersion (kit) training, content workshops, and Action Research Seminars. After three years, 94% of the teachers have taken training, 24% have completed one hundred hours and an additional 30% have completed over fifty hours. Each teacher develops an individual professional development plan to meet the one hundred hour requirement.

The SEEDS leadership model utilizes a Program Management Team consisting of the principal investigator and six other teachers and administrators. There is one Lead Teacher in each of the sixteen school districts and a district leadership team consisting of a 1:7 teacher ratio. Leadership training and content workshops are offered by the Program Management Team, and the Immersion training and Action Research Seminars are facilitated by the Lead Teachers and the district leadership teams. A variety of lead teacher models exist with about half of the districts using release time and half using stipends for after school and summer work. Leadership teams have developed a variety of models to provide for the management of materials, teacher instructional assistance, and professional development training.

Accomplishments for 1997-98. There were two days of leadership training for the district leadership teams and five days for the Lead Teachers. During the school year, Action Research Seminars were offered in each school district for one semester hour credit and 461 (47%) enrolled. In the summer there were ten- one week workshops offered by the Program Management Team. The courses were Life Science (K-2), Earth Science (K-2), Physical Science (K-2), Life Science (3-6), Earth Science (3-6), Physical Science (3-6), AIMS (Activities for Integrating math and Science, Health Integration, Technology Integration, and GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment). Three districts had Assessment training and one district had Immersion training for new teachers. There were a total of 310 teachers enrolled in the summer of 1998. All districts have completed their initial training (Immersion) and fully implemented all the units.

Teacher attitudes and behaviors have continually improved though most of the change occurred during the first two years of the project. Teacher preparedness in instructional and assessment strategies and science content preparation have shown statistically significant growth since 1996. Student achievement data, as measured by state proficiency tests at grades four and six, has improved every year. The capsule ratings of teacher classroom observations continue to rise. District measures of sustainability and institutionalization have increased as well.

Lessons Learned. The major lessons learned this year are related to the importance of satisfactory student achievement to the sustainability of the program; the importance of administrative leadership to making and sustaining change; the difficulty yet necessity of teachers understanding their role in continuous improvement of student achievement; the importance of developing a continuing process of mentoring new teachers once the initial staff development is completed; the importance of creating time and opportunities for teachers within the day to improve their teaching and hence student achievement; and the potential for a ceiling on the amount of change and improvement that can be made.