Communication Center  Conference  Projects Share  Reports from the Field Resources  Library  LSC Project Websites  NSF Program Notes
 How to Use this site    Contact us  LSC-Net: Local Systemic Change Network
Newsclippings and Press Releases

LSC Reference Materials

LSC Case Study Reports

Annual Report Overviews

Summer Workshop Plans

Annual Report Overviews


TAPESTRIES Annual Overview

submitter: TAPESTRIES
published: 11/19/1999
posted to site: 11/19/1999
The Toledo Area Partnership in Education: Support Teachers as Resources to Improve Elementary Science (TAPESTRIES) is a collaborative project between The University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Toledo Public Schools (TPS), and Springfield Local Schools (SLS). TAPESTRIES has five major goals and objectives:

  1. To develop, support, and utilize a cadre of Support Teachers along with other sufficient support structures in order to provide local leadership for the implementation of effective science programs within their districts.
  2. To provide effective and sustained professional development for all K-6 teachers of science in the participating school districts.
  3. To implement quality inquiry-based science curriculum and instruction in classrooms that are consistent with local, state, and national recommendations so that all students may receive opportunities to become scientifically literate.
  4. To coordinate curriculum, classroom practice, and student assessment with the district adopted science courses of study and statewide assessments.
  5. To enhance the science content knowledge of elementary teachers

The purpose of this five-year project is to develop comprehensive school science programs through the sustained professional development of all K-6 teachers in the Toledo Public Schools (TPS) and Springfield Local Schools (SLS). The project is designed help prepare scientifically literate students who can comprehend and use science while being successful on high-stakes statewide science assessments. Sixteen Support Teachers, who are given full time release from teaching responsibilities this year, receive over 200 hours of training in the form of a two week Summer Institute, two three-semester-hour courses, a staff retreat, and a winter conference. The Support Teachers provide assistance for classroom teachers, help teachers with district assessments, and execute their district action plans for improving science literacy. xx classroom teachers from the participating districts will receive during this second year over 104 hours of staff development in science content, pedagogy, and student assessment as they implement their district adopted curriculum materials. These classroom teachers participated in two-week Summer Institutes (70 contact hours) and are now participating in regular district/building level sessions during the academic year (2-3 hours per month). Xx teachers who attended the 1998 Summer Institutes will complete xx hours of academic year professional development in the form of monthly, academic year meetings. A winter institute (7 contact hours) is planned for April 1, 2000, and additional follow-up sessions will occur in the second and third academic year. Undergraduate students at The University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University also work with teachers, science educators, and classroom teachers who are TAPESTRIES participants. This partnership is being researched with regard to its effect on undergraduate education.

The project evaluator outlined several key strengths and challenges of this project:

Key Strengths:

  • Summer Institutes
  • Scientist/Educator teaming at the Summer Institute
  • Support Teachers
  • Quality of the instructional materials (other than Scholastic)
  • The use of the 5E learning cycle to organize the Summer Institute
  • The strong emphasis on integrating content with pedagogy during the Summer Institutes

Mid-Course Corrections Made by the Project:

  • Development of assessments aligned with the state proficiency test and instructional materials
  • Programs to integrate language arts with science

Key Challenges:

  1. Lack of closure during the Summer Institute sessions
  2. Parents and community members don't appear to be involved in the reform efforts
  3. Some teacher science misconceptions still exist after professional development sessions
  4. A wide range of principal support exists at the building level

Recommendations for Modifying the Design:

  1. Target the recruitment of new teachers in the districts
  2. Develop building-wide strategies to include teachers who have not yet attended the Summer Institute but who have the instructional materials in their classrooms
  3. Increase number of teachers at the Summer Institutes
  4. Develop and implement a community involvement strategy
  5. Develop an implement a strategy to involve more building principals
  6. Increase communication in Toledo Public Schools
  7. Develop and implement a public relations strategy to disseminate information about the project to the learning community
  8. Replace Scholastic with high quality instructional materials
  9. Assess and address teachers' science misconceptions