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Annual Report Overviews


Annual Overview

submitter: STAFF Leadership for Rural School Districts
published: 11/25/1998
posted to site: 11/25/1998

PART ONE: Overview of the LSC Project

Pacific Science Center (PSC), Seattle, WA, is collaborating with three rural school districts; Snoqualmie Valley, Riverview and Skykomish, in the Science Taught First and Foremost (STAFF) Leadership for Science project, a Local Systemic Change project funded by the National Science Foundation as one of 12 projects in Cohort I. Through a collaboration of these three school districts and their surrounding communities, the STAFF Leadership for Science project is utilizing exemplary programs and current research to create elementary science programs that reflect inquiry methods and problem solving for the benefit of all students. Project goals include: 1) develop a new vision for the elementary science education curriculum in each district; 2) establish the mechanisms to implement and sustain this vision; and, 3) provide staff development to all elementary teachers in each district as a way to begin accomplishing the vision. The Institute for Learning Innovation (formerly Science Learning inc.), a non-profit evaluation and research organization in Annapolis, MD, is conducting the formative and summative evaluation for the project. The Institute for Learning Innovation would like to thank Charis Dube, Teacher Education Lead Teacher & Research Associate, PSC, who collected most of the core evaluation data for this reporting period and provided invaluable interpretive insights. Pam Kraus, Dennis Schatz and Cheryl Lydon of PSC were also helpful in providing insights and comments regarding district support for the LSC vision and project sustainability.

Each of the partners is contributing to the attainment of the vision. Pacific Science Center's role is to provide: 1) initial staff development on quality science education; 2) structure for the process of creating a vision; 3) guidance in the development and planning for implementation; and, 4) assistance with the first stages of implementation. STAFF Leadership teachers in each district contribute by: 1) participating in extensive professional development; 2) selecting the curriculum; 3) becoming experts in using the curriculum; and, 4) providing training to the remainder of the district's staff. Each district is supporting the project by: 1) providing release time for all teachers; 2) approving a set of guidelines for the curriculum adoption; 3) implementing the outcomes from the project; and, 4) purchasing an upgrade of the curriculum, including a materials management system.

During this reporting period (September 1997-October 1998), STAFF Leaders were very active in providing professional development for the target teachers in the project. From collaborating informally one on one with these teachers, to leading half-day and day-long workshops, the Leadership teachers took a very active role in coordinating and facilitating professional growth in their respective districts. One of the major professional growth opportunities offered by STAFF Leadership teachers were study groups focusing on the new Science and Technology for Children (STC) and Private Eye (adopted for kindergarten) kits adopted by the districts. Beginning with last year, and continuing this year, the major goal was to help teachers understand and implement high quality inquiry-based science using these new STC and Private Eye materials. While the pressure from the state has been to focus on reading, writing, communication, and mathematics, the partner school districts have each found a way to commit time and resources to professional development in science. Additionally, they all continue to be very supportive of the Leadership teachers and the goals of the grant.

During the reporting period, September, 1997 through October, 1998, the following project activities occurred:

September 1997:

The two half-time science resource teachers, one in Snoqualmie Valley School District and the other in Riverview, and Pamela Kraus, Project Manager, met to discuss job responsibilities and goals for the 1997/1998 school year.

October 1997:

Pamela Kraus, Project Manager, met twice with the science resource teachers and three times with Snoqualmie Valley's assistant superintendent. Pacific Science Center project staff led several half-day workshops during Washington State's In-service day on Quality Science Instruction, Inquiry Teaching and Learning, Astronomy, and Geology. Both Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley teachers participated in these workshops. The first of three planning meetings between the project manager and the STAFF Leadership teachers was held at the end of October.

December 1997:

Snoqualmie Valley principals participated in the Evaluating Quality Science Teaching workshop led by Dennis Schatz, Principal Investigator. Pamela Kraus, Project Manager, led two after school workshops for teachers who were not able to participate in the State In-Service day workshops. The science resource teachers met with Pamela Kraus.

January 1998:

Pamela Kraus, Project Manager, held a planning meeting with Riverview School District curriculum director. All STAFF Leadership teachers met to begin outlining their Professional Study Groups to be held in the spring. PSC Project staff led a district- directed half-day inservice for all Riverview teachers.

February 1998:

Carnation Elementary (Riverview School District) held their annual community event focusing on science. Pamela Kraus, Project Manager, met with the science resource teachers to check in on their progress and lend support.

March 1998:

The principal investigator and project manager met with Riverview School District administration to plan for next year's professional development. As a result of this meeting, the district committed resources to support summer and school year science professional development. Riverview STAFF Leaders led a district-directed half-day inservice by grade level. These workshops focused on looking more closely at the more recent STC kits, sharing ideas for implementation. The project manager met with science resource teachers to plan out the rest of the school year. Project manager also met with Snoqualmie Valley administration to begin planning next year's transition and science professional development. (Both the science resource teacher and the assistant superintendent left the district in June, 1998). Lynn Dierking, Lead Evaluator, made a site visit to initiate classroom observations and teacher interviews.

April 1998:

Cherry Valley Elementary School (Riverview School District) held their annual community event focusing on science. STAFF Leadership teachers met with the project manager to plan for summer workshops and the 1998/99 school year. Charis Dube, Research Assistant, continued conducting classroom observations and teacher interviews and initiated questionnaire distribution.

May 1998:

Opstad Elementary (Snoqualmie Valley School District) and Stillwater Elementary (Riverview School District) held science events for the community. The science resource teachers and project manager met for a final time to plan the remainder of the school year.

June 1998:

Project manager met with outgoing and incoming administrators of Snoqualmie Valley school district.

August 1998:

Each of the STAFF Leadership teachers in Riverview School District led a one-day workshop training on the most recently adopted STC kit at their respective grade level. Snoqualmie Valley STAFF Leadership teachers led a half-day in-service on the new kits at each grade level.

September 1998:

Pam Kraus, Project Manager, led the first of a series of half-day workshops for all teachers in the Skykomish school district. The K-12 teachers worked through an inquiry workshop on magnets. Topics for the rest of the year include integration, questioning, astronomy, misconceptions and quality science instruction.

October 1998:

Teachers from Snoqualmie Valley and Riverview School Districts participated in a one-day integration workshop on Washington State's In-Service Day. Working in grade level groups, participants examined a STC kit lesson for both science content and process, as well as in terms of the language arts (reading and writing), mathematics and communications standards, focusing on how to get the most out of their science lessons. Lynn Dierking, Lead Evaluator, made one last site visit to observe this professional development session and to interview a sample of target teachers and STAFF Leaders.