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Annual Report Overviews


Black Hills Annual Overview

submitter: A Black Hills Science Teaching Project to Prepare K-8 Teachers for the New Millenium
published: 11/19/1999
posted to site: 11/19/1999
Local Systemic Change
Annual Report

Due NOVEMBER 15, 1999


Annual Overview

The "Black Hills Science Teaching (BLAHST) Project To Prepare K-8 Teachers for The New Millennium" intends to improve all K-8 teachers abilities to implement high-quality, standards-based national science curriculum. We currently have eight participating school districts with approximately 335 targeted teachers involved with the project. During this first year of the project, we have delivered a variety of PD experiences for the participating teachers and administrators. Thus far, we have provided at least 32 hours of PD to 78 participating teachers, with at least 6 teachers receiving over 64 hours of PD, and 20 administrators receiving between 8 and 24 hours of PD.

All PD activities tended to use the following model for PD involving:

  • Identification (of personally relevant needs/goals of the teachers)
  • Planning (for PD activities)
  • Experience (delivery of PD activities)
  • Guided practice/implementation back in the classroom
  • Assessment, reflection, modification
Embedded within this model are constructivist-based professional learning strategies designed to develop awareness and build knowledge.

The PD was delivered during week-long summer workshops as well as day-long academic year workshops, seminars, and courses. Project staff, scientists, national curriculum consultants, and selected lead teachers (referred to as Professional Development Facilitators PDFs) conducted the PD activities. Based on district survey data, it was determined that some teachers needed orientation to the national curriculum, while other more experienced teachers needed additional science content.

Thus far, the project has delivered the following PD activities (the number of attending teachers and the number of hours of PD received are shown in parentheses).

  • Materials: National Science Curriculum Orientation
    (58 teachers 4 days 32 hours)

  • Content: Geology of the Badlands and Black Hills
    (15 teachers 4 days 32 hours)

  • Content: Environmental Science, K-5
    (23 teachers 4 days 32 hours)

  • Project Management Team Institute
    (18 administrators, etc. -2 days 18 hours)

  • National LASER Institute (7 participants 6 days)

  • Lead-Teacher/Principal workshop
    (50 teachers and admin. -1 day 6 hours)

In all PD activities, the participants were exposed to collaborative teaching strategies and inquiry teaching methods. The content workshops provided the teachers with the scientists point of view, hands-on experience, and enhanced content. During the material orientation, the participants were provided with an opportunity to prepare a unit and present it to their peers with content knowledge support being provided by available scientists, and instructional materials support being provided by the national consultants.

Another component of the project includes a Science Education Masters Degree that is being developed to meet the needs of the BLAHST participating teachers. We are proposing and preparing course work that aligns directly with the goals of the BLAHST project and the current reform movement in science education, K-8. The BLAHST teachers are excited that they will be able to get graduate credit at reduced costs and that it will count toward this masters degree.

Assessment of the project has been an ongoing formative process. In addition to the standardized evaluation that was conducted to satisfy requirements of Horizon Research, we have conducted pre and post assessments of each PD activity that was offered during this past summer (i.e., content workshops and material orientation workshop) and this past fall (Project Management Team Institute and Lead Teacher/Principal workshop. The results indicated that all PD activities were well received by the teachers and administrators. Daily feedback during each of the content and material orientation workshops was used to modify the subsequent days activities to better meet the needs of the participants.

In summary, our project has established a good foundation within the eight participating school districts and seems to be well received by the vast majority of teachers and administrators.