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Annual Report Overviews


Annual Overview

submitter: Partnership for Inquiry-Based Science
published: 01/06/1999
posted to site: 01/06/1999


The Seattle Local Systemic Change grant is a partnership with the University of Washington's Department of Molecular Biotechnology, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and The Boeing Company to support the implementation of an inquiry-based science program in all schools with elementary students. Program development is guided by a Leadership Team composed of representatives from each of the partner organizations, administrators, the PTA Council president, and a member of the Alliance for Education.

The Seattle School District is urban and multiethnic; there are approximately 1084 grade-level classroom teachers and 23,900 students in 71 schools. Almost fifty percent of the student population is on free or reduced lunch.

Community activism and stewardship are woven into the very fabric of the city and hence, contribute to a very unusually supportive relationship between the school system and the community. Acting Superintendent Joseph Olchefske is at the helm because Superintendent John Stanford is battling leukemia.

Our Partnership for Inquiry-Based Science commenced in the summer of 1996 with two pilot schools and nineteen new schools. The following five goals of this grant provide support for teachers to deliver effective science instruction to elementary students through:

  • Summer Science Seminars and follow-up sessions on unit implementation, pedagogy, and content
  • School-based professional development and support based on school or individual teacher needs as they relate to the project
  • Materials support, analysis, and refurbishment provided by a materials supervisor and volunteer scientists at the School District
  • Science Materials Center
  • Scientist and University support in a variety of ways
  • Family awareness and family celebrations of science

Summary of Accomplishments

  • Follow-up unit implementation workshops conducted June 1997 through August 1998 for teachers from thirty-one schools and a Summer Science Seminar was conducted in August 1998 for ten schools
  • Site-based staff development and support given to forty-one schools
  • Principal workshops conducted
  • Focus groups formed in all Cohort II and III schools to forge a greater school-based reform effort
  • Kits, manuals, and refurbishment materials for teachers in forty-one schools, K-5, purchased and distributed in a timely manner
  • Family and community science literacy experiences provided
  • Family Science at the Woodland Park Zoo conducted in May 1998
  • Family Science at the Woodland Park Zoo and Pacific Science Center being arranged for 1998-'99 year
  • Science curriculum specialist for middle and high school science hired
  • Professional Development Handbook that integrates learning cycle with unit activities developed
  • Science Information Handbook for Parents developed and distributed
  • School Science Support Handbook developed and distributed
  • Dr. Ben Sayler, the Department of Molecular Biotechnology, continued commendable efforts as the contact person for scientists
  • Statistics and science course for Cohort I and II teachers developed by Dr. Ellen Wijsman from the Department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington
  • Resource teachers, lead teachers, and administrators continued participation in Dr. Garmston's Cognitive Coaching workshops
  • Resource teachers implemented cognitive coaching, deeper science content, and facilitative leadership
  • Resource teachers implemented facilitative leadership skills to assist schools with the development of school-wide improvement plans
  • Scientists from the Physics Education Group teamed with resource teachers in the Summer Seminar 1998
  • Dr. Lillian McDermott continued to provide tuition free, five graduate credit courses through the University of Washington's Physics Education Group for lead and resource teachers
  • Dr. Gail Baxter and Dr. Ben Sayler worked with resource and lead teachers on instructional assessment
  • Retreat with community members to discuss issues and challenges related to the grant was funded by Boeing
  • Budget retreat to address issues related to science beyond the NSF grant was held
  • Reception for new schools funded by Boeing
  • Monetary support to pay scientists for the week-long courses in the Summer, Fall, and Spring provided by Boeing.