Annual Report Overviews
Overview of the Keystone Project Activities
Overview of the Keystone Project Activities
The Keystone Project is a five year science and technology rural
regional staff development program that provides support for teachers in the reform efforts for excellence in science and technology. The Keystone Project's foundation:
Students learn best when involved in problems which interest them and which have many solutions or methods of attack. Knowledge is not viewed as being transmitted; but rather understanding comes only when students can tie new information to the knowledge they already understand. In many science and technology classrooms today, the former is the practice while reformers are advocating the latter. We recognize the teacher is the key to true reform which will provide the bridge to the classroom and the future; therefore, the Keystone Project is providing participating teachers with ideas, materials, and financial backing at the classroom level. Awakening, engaging, and empowering the professional staff (teachers and administrators) is the key to the change.
To accomplish our goal, the Keystone Project has established a school based K-8 teacher enhancement program for science and technology education. A consortium of 21 school districts (one teacher districts, reservation districts, and larger districts such as Bozeman) in collaboration with scientists, businesses, consultants, community organizations, individuals, other educational institutions, and other currently funded NSF initiatives provide staff development, and help individual schools develop and implement a self-sustaining strategic science and technology plan as well as provide a model for replication by other rural districts.
Major Project Goals:
1) disseminate nationally recognized classroom practices which embody the principles for science and technology teaching with mathematics support, 2) address gender equity, 3) address the needs of Native Americans, 4) address the needs of the rural educator, and 5) create a model training program which may be offered for replication throughout the state in years 4-5, and subsequently be used as the blueprint for a national model of school based reform.
Other Project Goals:
1) provide staff development to all teachers as individual school plans are implemented, 2) establish the processes to support the school's effort for reform, 3) provide follow-up activities for teachers who have participated in summer institutes, 4) form partnerships between schools and consortia of schools, and 5) establish and maintain local professional networks of educators, scientists, and community members to provide a forum for interaction and exchange of information on advances in content and pedagogy.
Summary of major activities and accomplishments
Our three main groups for professional development are:
1) mentor leaders: more experienced cadre and school level mentors, 2) teacher and administrator participants, and 3) school staff in site-based strategic science and technology plan efforts which are funded through a mini-grant structure . For each group, there are several strands or levels of activities provided through various avenues such as summer institutes, school year workshops, collaborative partners workshops, individual kit explorations and content sessions, advisory capacity of the Science and Technology Resource Center, Family Science and Family Math evenings, national and state science conferences, reflective best practice sessions, and field experiences with content experts. We also provide our scientist and other expert collaborators with activities and materials needed to present the kit based explorations with the mentor teacher.
In 2000, we provided: 1) five week-long 2 credit graduate level course/institutes: a) Exploring Inquiry Through Questioning, and b) Developing Leadership for Science Reform, c) Teaching Chemistry with Toys, d) Teaching Physics with Toys, and e) Teaching Science Through Literature; 2) several major workshops: a) brain research, b) Science and Art Connection; and 3) many school-based activities and collaborative experiences such as the Science and Math Extravaganza. The institutes and workshops focus on staff development related to the project goals and objectives, content, development of leadership capacity, and exploration of standards-based inquiry through questioning and integration with participants attending in professional development teams which will provide district support in staff development. Mentor sessions provided the background and training needed to promote their leadership ability and capacity to support other classroom teachers. See Figure 1 to review total project activities and participation hours and numbers.
Our project has created a very knowledgeable and capable cadre of mentor teacher leaders who can do kit presentations as well as help organize and implement more complex institute offerings. We have developed science center, school, individual teacher, and regional leadership capacity to support schools with less capacity due to size or availability of resources. Other things that are working well: mini-grant supported site-based staff development, our outreach to non-Keystone districts in and out of Montana, professional development implementation, strategic science planning, leadership capacity building, focus on reflective best practice, and institutes that provide a variety of options such as field experience, pedagogy, content, graduate college credit, kit explorations, scientist participation, the standards.
About 76% of the participating teachers indicated that they are using hands-on science either often or for almost all of their science lessons. All 21 of the project's school districts are either currently using Keystone science kits or have access to kits through other sources (purchasing their own, borrowing from count office, or Tribal Colleges).
According to the Keystone administered evaluation feedback, participants view Keystone staff development as very positive and a great influence on their content and classroom instructional practices by providing a balance of professional development tools, pedagogy, and content. The project is perceived to be an excellent means to connect isolated teachers in our remote areas to resources as well as to collaborative partners in larger schools. One comment may sum up participant feelings: "Each time I get to participate in Keystone, I think "you guys can't get anything to top this." Every year, I'm wrong. I know you are awesome and we appreciate your work. You make learning fun and breathless. I love it." (Appendix 1: Project Evaluation Feedback)
Lessons Learned and/or Unanticipated Effects
Although the project is on target in providing quality professional development, the process continues to be a dynamic work in progress. The Keystone staff is sensitive to the needs of participants and attempts to meet these needs through support of district and project level staff development. Each year the institute formats are adjusted to allow the participants to work in smaller groups and to have the opportunity to have alternate choices to sessions that they may have already explored via school based intervention by the project staff. This, according to the feedback gathered, has been much appreciated by the teacher and administrative participants. Over the life of the project, this has made the sessions much more effective.
Due to the diversity, autonomy, individual strategic plan needs, and great distances to travel within the project, the Keystone staff finds it necessary to intervene at the local district, school or classroom level so that individual needs are met rather than using one mode fits all. Although the summer institutes are well attended and provide for a variety of experience levels of participants, the individual needs of the district may or may not be addressed in enough depth to completely support the district's immediate situation. Over the years, it became apparent due to the geographic logistics and varying capacity in the project that there is a need to work more closely with each school district. Therefore, the decision was made to increase the Keystone staff by hiring a full time TOSA and increase the one-half time teacher mentor position to full time thus giving us the opportunity to work closely with the classroom teacher and local science staff development efforts.
The feedback from the Horizon questionnaire indicates that the project has created positive shifts in teacher attitude toward preparedness/strategies in moving from somewhat prepared to feeling very well prepared in such areas as: 1) using student prior knowledge when planning curriculum and instruction, 2) having students participate in hands-on lab activities, 3) having students engaged in inquiry activities, 4) using performance based assessment, 5) using informal questioning to assess student understanding, and 6) having more access to quality instructional materials.
In 98-99, Keystone reported that the project staff was surprised with a downward shift in two areas which are related to the positive shifts mentioned above and which our staff development addresses by using the Exploratorium inquiry design. The two areas are: 1) having students design and implement investigations to answer their questions, and 2) using open-ended questions. Staff sought enlightenment on these items at our fall mentor leader training session via discussion and survey. The major reason advanced by the mentors for the downward shift was lack of time to plan and carry out more open-ended strategies when more is being demanded in every subject area. Nothing is being taken away when new reform is initiated and open-ended instruction takes time. A few mentors reported that some teachers still feel uncomfortable with their content and therefore feel threatened by opening up instruction in which they may not be able to assist their students. They are also having a difficult time of seeing the connection of the more familiar scientific method approach and the more open inquiry approach of investigating student generated questions. In the use of open-ended questions, it is an issue of distinguishing when to use the teacher's open-ended questions versus the open-ended questions generated by students. See Appendix 2 for full mentor report.
Another area on the questionnaire that decreased was teachers being involved in decisions about the staff development. In Montana, it is common district practice that any subject's staff development is cyclic since it is usually provided for a year after a curriculum adoption and then the next subject is rotated into a district priority. In feedback from summer institutes and workshops, several teachers reported frustration at making professional development plans that would not be able to be carried out due to district priorities for other subject areas or that the calendar was already set for the year. Some education still needs to be done on how to initiate change by being a part of the bigger picture. Principals perceive that they are giving teachers latitude in this area, but some teachers feel that they cannot make a difference in the planning of professional development except at their classroom level. This is changing with the implementation of the new Montana standards in which all educators need to play a part.
The feedback concern from the 98-99 principal's questionnaire indicated that some principals are not feeling prepared to address the standards was also discussed with the mentors at the fall meeting, and they indicated that there have been a number of changes in the administrative members of the project districts. In most cases, they are new to the administrative position as they have moved from the teaching ranks. Although many of these principals have attended sessions about the standards when they were teachers, they are uncertain how to proceed in this area in their new leadership capacity especially now that Montana has added state bench marked standards which align fairly well with the national ones. The big question is how accountable will districts be held? Since many Montana districts are very small, the capacity to comply is a challenge due to limited resources both financially and in personnel to accomplish the tasks, but the alignment challenge is being met by using outside curriculum resource people and projects such as Keystone.
Based upon discussions with our evaluator, project staff, Keystone teachers and administrators, it is apparent that participating teachers are teaching more hands-on science and talking to each other about science and science teaching than before Keystone. The project is recognized in Montana as an exemplary science staff development project and the project staff has had several requests for information and requests by non-Keystone districts to become Keystone school districts. Many university faculty members are seeking collaborative connections between their projects and the Keystone Project. The Educational Development Center from Newton, Massachusetts has chosen Keystone to facilitate the Montana hub site to provide rural districts the opportunity to explore nationally developed K-12 curricula. Recently Keystone and EDC hosted 51 participants in the first materials awareness seminar.
More lessons learned: a) hard work does reap benefits as demonstrated by participant feedback and comments, b) teachers can enable themselves when enough quality experiences have been provided to make them knowledgeable and comfortable with the teaching strategies, and c) where trained, conscientious, dedicated teachers exist, it is must easier to make change and support new teachers in the change process.
Teachers report that they are using our field experience institute designs to provide similar experiences for their students. They are either taking their students to the sites or are finding places closer to home. It is heartening to see that they are teaching many of the activities themselves rather than relying on others.
One teacher stated that she was really impressed with the project's staff development program. She has been teaching 25 years and this is the best professional development experience she has had. Another teacher has changed her entire chemistry unit in response to our chemistry content class.
Other teacher statements follow: 1) The Keystone staff treats teachers as true professionals and with respect. They make professional development sessions worthwhile and fun. 2) The experiences have an excellent balance between pedagogy, professional development tools and content while providing a great collegial climate. 3) I had never (or couldn't remember) hearing about rubrics for assessments. 4) I hope that Keystone is able to get refunded to keep the program alive. We need it. 5) I enjoyed the whole workshop, but gaining more knowledge would have to be at the top. 6) I sure enjoyed the way everything works in together and I have a better understanding of the inquiry science process. 7) Having the extra "science" people help was a definite bonus. 8) I'm going to remember this for a long time. Can't wait for the next institute. 9) Keystone presenters were great. This is a high energy workshop. 10) There is enough variety and useful information to keep it very interesting. I'm going back to the classroom with the potential of becoming a much more effective teacher of science. 11) I think school board members ought to be required to attend such workshops. They can be enlightened to the pursuit of teaching---how dynamic, purposeful, intense, and exciting it is to be a teacher. Classes such as these are
the life-blood of our profession--sparking each student in attendance to go out and change his/her school. I wish it was August now so school would start.
Training and Professional Development Opportunities
Teachers, mentor leaders, and administrators have the opportunity to attend several levels of summer institutes. Keystone: Science and Technology a Beginning has been a summer offering for beginning participants since our first year. In this introductory week-long institute, participants learn about project goals, exemplary science kit materials, teleconferencing, national standards, local resources, strategic planning, and exemplary practice. Each summer, we have added a new level of institute while still maintaining past experiences for newly hired teachers and administrators. During the summer 2000, our project supported 5 week-long 2 credit graduate level institutes: Exploring Inquiry Through Questioning, Developing Leadership for Science Reform, Teaching Physics with Toys, Teaching Chemistry with Toys, and Teaching Science Through Literature. During the school year, workshops were provided through mini-grant school-based activities as well as from a project level: brain research, Science and Math Extravaganza, kit based explorations for individual schools and teachers.
In an attempt to enhance the institutionalization of the reform, the project has continued its efforts to provide a strong expanded leadership base group in each district through an institute model which provides several levels of participation intended to augment the original core of teacher mentor leaders. The graduate level institutes were designed to increase leadership capacity through team attendance. Each team developed a staff development plan to implement this school year either in their own classrooms or for their school.
Our staff development plan includes opportunities that: stress research, standards-based reform through exemplary materials and reflective practice allow teachers the opportunity to explore, review, and critique exemplary materials involve participants and scientists in the scientists work space allow teams to explore inquiry through questioning while developing a staff development plan help participants to devise integrated science units and to explore how to use the process in their school's strategic plan expand the mentor teacher leaders' skills as well as enhancing the skills of the newly appointed mentor leaders increase participants content knowledge allow strategic planning which is discussed with the PI, revised, and implemented by the individual school with Keystone help through the mini-grant funding introduce the process of developing classroom action plans use case studies from the districts use a cooperative workshop presenter model in which the more experienced person models for the assistant trainee(s) who then take the leadership role on the next rotation while being coached by the experienced person collaborate with other educational facilities such as museums, and universities facilitate the use of the materials center upgrade the leadership skill of the Keystone staff increase the responsibility of mentor teacher leaders in planning and facilitating summer institutes and school-based workshops
a. Deepening teacher's content knowledge.
As has been done in the past, our project has involved engineers, researchers, scientists and science educators from Montana State University, the Museum of the Rockies, business persons from the community, and other educational organizations (Bridger Outdoor School, Birch Creek Outdoor Science School, the Teton Science School) in planning and presentation of the project staff development program. Keystone has provided content experiences through field experiences with scientists; however, this year we decided to provide content courses rather that the field work. We did continue to use teacher/scientist collaboration model for kit-based science explorations. Mentors also provided the majority of the expertise for the non-content based courses.
The Birch Creek experience is an excellent example of providing teachers with field experiences in biology, ecology, geology, and environmental education with an emphasis on increasing their science content knowledge while providing participants with instructional strategies and activities that they can use in their local community. The instructional activities presented are consistent with National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks. Although we did not do the Birch Creek experience this year, it was not forgotten since many of the schools are now either going there with their students or they are providing similar experiences close to their school site.
A Paleontology Field Experience has been offered since the summer of 1997. Participants have an opportunity to work with paleontologists and geologists at an actual dinosaur excavation site. Participants also learn about interpretation of geologic formations, how scientists formulate theories of evolution, and how to bring these experiences and knowledge into their classroom. This experience also has transferred itself to the classroom as teachers take to the field with their students.
Scientists collaborate with master teachers (usually a mentor teacher leader) to enhance exemplary practice through nationally recognized materials. The exemplary materials are used in each level of our institutes; however, the stress given in the graduate level is one of looking for subtle shifts that can be made to assure that our teaching is standards-based inquiry. Due to the variety of curriculum materials, sometimes we need to use a topic approach to expanding the content for the kits that are available for teachers to use. Tops and balance investigations from the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry are examples that we used to strengthen teacher content knowledge while looking at teaching methods.
In addition to the summer content experiences, our project has provided content based experiences during the school year either at the project level or at the district level with the mini-grants. In October, physical science content was our target in a two graduate credit workshop.
In the area of business involvement in the project, one of the experiences the participants had in their first week long staff development session was to visit the Computer Museum located in Bozeman, the presentation and visit was sponsored by the museum's owners.
In reviewing teacher feedback from project administered evaluation tools, and through informal discussions with teacher participants, it is clear that teachers involved in the Keystone project feel better prepared to teach science and have increased their science content knowledge and stronger pedagogical skills. While it is impossible to provide them with in-depth knowledge in all areas of science they recognize that they have the ability and resources available to acquire specific content knowledge in science. See Appendix 1 Project Evaluations
According to the Horizon teacher questionnaires for the past three years, teachers reported an increasing preparedness to teach all three science areas on the following question: How well prepared do you feel to teach each of the following topics at the grade levels you teach, whether or not they are currently in your curriculum? (fairly well to very well prepared) The percentages below are reported in aggregate form by content area.
Teacher comments such as I enjoyed the whole workshop, but gaining more knowledge would have to be at the top on our project administered evaluations also indicate that teachers are feeling more prepared to teach the content.
b. Deepening teacher understanding of effective pedagogy and assessment that promotes student learning
While the main focus of any particular science staff development session may be either science content or pedagogy the sessions always include attention to both. A number of the summer and school year sessions had heavy emphasis on the science content. The sessions dealing with kits include equal attention to the science content and pedagogy.
Nationally recognized experts in pedagogy, assessment, the National Science Standards, and content have been brought in to work with and to fulfill the knowledge quests of Keystone teachers and administrators. We only bring in what we cannot provide the expertise for ourselves as was the case for the brain research request for this year. As our project's staff development leadership capacity has become more knowledgeable and proficient, the mentor leaders and project staff have taken on more of the presentation responsibilities. Each institute session is designed to model best practice and is facilitated by a master teacher/ mentor and a content expert. Our goal is to have the expert enhance our skills so we can sustain ourselves and assist others to move forward in acquiring best practice skills and content knowledge.
Performance assessments and rubrics have been developed for most of the kit based materials. Kit presenters include the assessment component in each science kit exploration. In our Developing Leadership for Science Reform and Exploring Inquiry Through Questioning institutes, using assessment to guide instruction was addressed by having participants explore assessing student work through an activity called Science Notebook Fair (Laser activity).
The kit exploration sessions have contributed to the teachers' feelings of being comfortable with use of kits and being prepared to teach science using the kits. Many teachers are requesting kits that they have not used in the past or have not been introduced to in the kit exploration sessions and indicate that they feel comfortable and prepared to use these kits based upon their past experience with the Keystone Project.
In an effort to deepen teachers' capacity to reflect on their practice, our Developing Leadership for Science Reform institute focused on providing tools for teachers to examine their instructional practices: differentiated instruction, action research, case studies, study/collaborative groups and other tools such as Understanding by Design. To attest to the appropriateness and effectiveness of this institute, one presenter who was not attending this institute decided to join us every day. In addition, teacher responses, evaluations, questionnaires, and college credit papers indicate that teacher attitudes toward hands-on science with a commitment to the national science standards and benchmarks as advocated in the Keystone project are progressing.
Teachers indicate that they have moved from reading and doing an occasional science activity to the use of kits and hands-on activities on a more regular basis. About 76% of the participating teachers indicated that they are using hands-on science either often or for almost all of their science lessons. The STEC center supports the closer districts very effectively; however, the great distances between the center and many districts and the severe winter weather continue to be a problem for outlying areas. Most of the project school districts are either currently using Keystone science kits or have access to kits through other sources (purchasing their own, borrowing from county superintendent's office, or Tribal Colleges) and are developing methods of sharing and transporting materials with other schools, especially the Hays area. Museum of the Rockies has hands-on kits that were introduced during the summer staff development sessions and are being used by some districts. In addition the Museum has recently placed many of their printed teacher resource materials on their web site for teachers to access in planning and implementing instructional programs.
Schools have continued the process of taking their students to the Birch Creek Center where they are responsible for conducting the hands-on activities which are part of that center's programs. To cut travel costs, six schools have developed outdoor field experience programs similar to the Birch Creek Program that they conduct in their local community. Teacher comments include: The staff development program certainly helped me get prepared for teaching science using a constructivist approach. Having the science materials (kits) available and materials replaced when needed has made a big difference in how I approach my science teaching. We "do" more science than in the past. One teacher stated that when she was working with the Insects module and she found the students tended to observe more and come up with ideas for their own investigations more than students did in past years. She indicated that she really likes teaching science now and her students enjoy it too! From one outreach effort to a former Keystone member who has moved out of state: We just started our plant experiments using the inquiry template you sent. It's totally out of context, but there IS no science context here so who cares. The students all thought of their own questions and you'd think they were allowed to design the space shuttle. Fun, frustrating, overwhelming, and all-consuming. That's the mantra of our professional days here. Hang in there you all. Don't forget the fun part. You're (we're) doing the most important work in this corner of the universe short of parenthood--which many of you are doing too.
Indicators of positive shifts in teacher attitude toward preparedness/strategies as seen in the teacher responses to the 1998-99 Teacher Questionnaire include (no new data available for these areas this year), but I assume given the teacher comments that we have already mentioned, these areas are still strong:
Using student prior knowledge when planning curriculum and instruction
97-71% 98-80% (fairly well to very well prepared) and
Students participant in hands-on lab activities
97-85% 98-89% (fairly well to very well prepared) and
Engage students in inquiry activities
97-66% 98-69% (fairly well to very well prepared) and
Use performance based assessment
97-62% 98-69% (fairly well to very well prepared) and
Use informal questioning to assess student understanding
97-79% 98-82% (fairly well to very well prepared)
According to our project evaluator, "The project staff has continued to work with staff development, and I do not see any need for any major adjustments. As the project staff continues to listen to teachers and administrators, reviews feedback from staff development sessions, and keeps current on the science reform movement the staff probably will only need to make minor adjustments in response to participant feedback. I feel Keystone's stress on team participation in project activities increases the sustainability for districts after the life of the grant."
c. Helping teachers become conversant with instructional materials designated for classroom use
One of our goals as a project is to move teachers beyond the mechanical use of hands-on activities or materials. Instructional materials such as FOSS, STC, and Insights are an integral part of all our staff development institutes. In our introductory sessions, they are the basis for science explorations which are conducted by a teacher mentor leader and a scientist. Kits are the vehicles that we use to lead teachers to more reflective instructional practices on how to have students do a personal investigation about their own questions. Participants also examine them for how well they match the state and national standards as well as for subtle shifts that may be used to make lessons more inquiry based.
Based upon the condition of the kits, materials use is evident, the teachers are using the kits and the activities within the kits with their students. There is less teaching of science activities on a one shot basis as was the case in the past for many teachers. Teachers indicate in their reflections and letters sent to project staff that they are making connections between the individual activities and investigations to develop major concepts in science.
A kit usage chart shows the number of kits (STC, FOSS, Insights, and Delta) that the Keystone Project and the Bozeman Science and Technology Center (STEC) have supplied to the districts in the Keystone Project. The number of kits used is 614 kits. The kit usage at the middle school level moved from 6 to 37. During this time several districts, a county superintendent, and Tribal Colleges have continued to purchase additional kits which are not reflected on the chart. Therefore, by the fifth year of the project, the number of kits available from other sources increased to the point where the project was sending out fewer kits for teacher use, now kit usage is on an upward swing again. This may be due to trying to align materials to the new standards. The last column of the chart indicates other sources from which kit based materials are being obtained. See Figure 2
d. Supporting teachers as they implement the materials in their classroom
Teachers are initially supported by the summer institute's focus on kit instruction methods. Continued support is provided by the Science and Technology Resource Center and project staff at either the district, school, or classroom level by presenting individual kit sessions, by modeling lessons, by coaching, and by collaborating on ways to make lessons more student centered. This process was greatly enhanced this year since Keystone was fortunate to have a master teacher on leave to assist classroom teachers. At first, the teachers were slow to request the services, but once it blossomed, it was difficult to meet the demand.
There is an increased amount of reflectivity on the part of many more teachers who are indicating the importance in having students see the connections between activities in their science programs rather than one or two isolated activities being used without connections being made. Since many of our districts are small and isolated, teachers have found that the networking with other teachers during the staff development sessions was of value to them as they looked for modules and activities they could use to improve their science instructional program. To further this collaborative spirit, our project has developed a web site and is providing a long distance class via the site. The goal is to promote the use of the tools for examining and promoting best practice such as study or collaborative groups and action research. Some of the teacher comments include:
One teacher stated that the most helpful aspect of the Keystone Project for her was the opportunity to talk with other teachers about meaningful science and math teaching strategies. In staff development sessions she did leave with ideas that she could incorporate into her own program. Reinforces the awareness of what it takes to be a successful science teacher. Frustrated--my content is weak, but I learned a lot. It is quite frustrating to come from a district that doesn't have the supportive and progressive system like Bozeman has, but I feel the members attending will be dedicated to doing the best job in leadership we can. I feel this Keystone class gave me tools of empowerment to go back and work to change. Things seem more attainable.
One teacher who had attended a summer staff development session the summer before stated that she was really pleased with the project and the science staff development support provided by the project staff and the mentor (lead) teacher in her building.
One of the rural one room teachers indicated that the local workshop the project staff held for the rural one-room teachers was an example of the quality of the sessions offered. They worked with the teachers using the Foam activities and Ice Balloons (from the Exploratorium's Inquiry Modules) and had an opportunity to really get an understanding of what inquiry and constructivism look like in the classroom. This same rural teacher indicated how pleased she was with the project and how well her students have picked up on constructivism. She mentioned that a group of foreign visitors came to her school and while she was talking to the visitors her students continued to work on the science investigation on their own for an extended period of time. She indicated that the visitors were impressed with the student interest and commitment to their investigation.
During the summer 2000, our project supported 5 week-long 2 credit graduate level institutes: Exploring Inquiry Through Questioning,
Developing Leadership for Science Reform, Teaching Physics with toys, Teaching Chemistry with Toys, and Teaching Science Through Literature. Also during the school year, workshops were provided through mini-grant school-based activities as well as from a project level: brain research, Science and Math Extravaganza, kit based explorations for individual schools and teachers.
Exploring Inquiry Through Questioning (N = 34) [40 hours of participation]
Developing Leadership for Science Reform which was created this year (N = 35) [40 hours of participation]
Teaching Science With Literature (N = 34) [40 hours of participation]
Teaching Physics with Toys (N = 33) [40 hours of participation]
Teaching Chemistry with Toys (N = 21) [40 hours of participation]
The participant staff development hours data includes spread sheets, graphs, and a narrative explanation of the results listed. Our project reported 435 teachers on our sampling frame of science educators. Though not reflected in the 1999-2000 Random Sampling Frame, many well trained teachers have left Keystone districts or have been reassigned to non-science teaching areas. In one school, a single teacher has been assigned to teacher all the science thus eliminating 14 teachers from the database. We have identified 26 of these teachers who we hope will disseminate the standards-based knowledge. The number of hours for these 26 teachers range from 90-411 hours with the average participation
hours of this group equal to 187 hours. One mentor teacher leader with 465 hours was reassigned to a non-science position. Eight former mentors with an average of 196 hours are no longer with Keystone districts as are six well trained teachers with an average of 146 hours. In 1999-2000, the random data based included 51 new teachers. See Figure 3 Participation Hours
Describe the degree of classroom and school implementation.
Again this year, according to our evaluator, the Keystone Project is on target in providing quality professional development for participating districts and staff. He feels that the project should continue to follow our plan for attaining the project's goals effectively and that we should continue to monitor the project and participants as we have in the past. He also feels that the project has made significant progress in establishing support systems to provide continued quality staff development programs for each of the participating school districts. We should also have solutions in place so that all participants can reach the project's goals especially with an increased focus on developing district level science staff development support teams.
Of the 1999-2000 randon sample teachers, 72% have been involved in the Keystone staff development activities for 50 hours. 52% of these targeted teacher have 100 hours or more of Keystone staff development activities, but of the teachers who have been in the project for all five years 74% have 100 or more hours with the mean of 209. These percentages do not include the administrators, guest school's science teachers, aides and other non-teacher support personnel, and non-science team teachers that the project has served. Unfortunately after five years, we still have 1% of our teachers who have not become actively involved. Most of these inactive people are waiting to retire or feel overly confidence in their own abilities. See Figure 3 Participant Hours
An example of our early intervention to ensure sustainability is that Keystone staff has continued to work with the county superintendent in an area where there are many one room or small school districts to enhance the staff development system that was set-up in 98-99 to sustain the efforts begun with the Keystone project. Teachers in these districts joined together to purchase hands-on science kits which they share among the one room schools. The county superintendent has continued to allocate funds for purchasing additional kits for the teachers to use. Teachers and students in a number of the one room schools are still communicating electronically between schools as they conduct their investigations and share any lessons learned.
Districts have been encouraged to review their strategic science and technology plans and their curriculum to make sure they are consistent with the components of the Keystone Project and new the Montana standards. Staff development is an important part of these plans and the state insists that the professional development plans be aligned with the curriculum and assessment. Project staff will be working with these districts to set up staff development plans in support of their staff development needs. A long term plan and alignment must be complete by 2004. The new collaboration arrangement with the Educational Development Center will provide districts the opportunity to review standards-based materials which will help them align materials and curriculum. One note of caution: A one room school teacher with limited funds stated: "You showed me the candy store, but I cannot afford to put my hand in the jar. What can be done to help me?"
Activities for Non-Teachers
Principals and non-teacher support staff have the opportunity to attend the same institutes as targeted teachers. In Montana many of our aides, and other support staff have education degrees and are waiting for a teaching position to open so they feel well served in being able to keep their skills updated by attending Keystone opportunities. We have several principals and one assistant superintendent taking on our line class which is designed to enhance professional development strategies such as study groups and action research. Some principals have sought a more active role and have been included in the more intensive training that the main cadre of teacher leaders have been given. Other principals have attended the summer institutes as well as the mini-grant staff development sessions that have taken place in their school. Several of the principals have taken on the responsibility of presenting during the institutes. 57% of the
administrators have 50-100 hours with the top 59% of the administrators who have been with the project for five years averaging of 187 hours and 9% of the administrators who have been in the project for 3 years have an average of 198 hours. On first year administrator has 150 hours. The overall percentage is down from 98-99 since there are 9 new principals this year. See figure 3
Scientists are invited to attend our institutes, and they do come for part of the time as their schedules permit. Our main involvement for them is to make sure that we meet and have them understand the goals that we want attained from each of our institutes and kit based sessions. This includes becoming familiar with the content of the kit materials that they will provide content and standards background for as well as the pedagogical strategies that will be used in the presentation. The scientists or expert will meet with their teacher partner and/or the project staff to plan the session. When providing content assistance for non-kit sessions, our project staff works through the presentation strategies and objectives with them. An example of this type of involvement would be the Tops (Exploratorium activity) which includes three types of hands-on strategies and when it's best to use them.
Reflections on the year's activities and Interesting Anecdotes
We are proud that participants are feeling that the Keystone staff treats teachers as true professionals and with respect. They view our sessions as worthwhile and stimulating. For some it has had great impact in just making them confident in teaching science while others have found great benefit in the content and in-depth inquiry offerings. It is gratifying to know that our project has been instrumental in helping smaller districts become less isolated from the educational community. In the year 2000-2000, our project will take one teacher's comment seriously and make a concerted effort to include board members more often. "I think school board members ought to be required to attend such workshops. They can be enlightened to the pursuit of teaching---how dynamic, purposeful, intense, and exciting it is to be a teacher. Classes such as these are the life-blood of our profession--sparking each student in attendance to go out and change his/her school. I wish it was August now so school would start.
The our project's data from the Horizon questionnaire indicates that teachers want more parent involvement, and would like more ideas about how to involve them. The efforts of the 98-99 Family Science and Family Math institute are still viable today. Teachers are continuing to have the evening events and some teachers have them during the day as part of their instructional approach. In 1999-2000, we worked with a school and parents to establish the Teton Science School's Journeys program into the school's curriculum, using parents as activity planners and providers for each classroom. They also help coordinate the Wetlands Festival for this school.
Each year, our project has collaborated with other educational facilities. In 1999-2000, the following collaborations were done: In conjunction with the Museum of the Rockies, we sponsored two activities The Science and Math Extravaganza which was open to any teacher in Montana. This year, Montana teachers were invited to facilitate the science and math workshop. 40 teachers attended. Keystone and Miami University of Ohio collaborated on three content institutes. Project staff and the Exploratorium for Inquiry staff have continued to assist each other by sharing materials and activities back and forth. We have worked on professional development committees for the state Office of Public Instruction and local districts. We have worked with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to establish curriculum support.
We have done curriculum and standards presentations for graduate classes at MSU. We have provided Rocks and Minerals and Landforms docent training for the Museum of the Rockies. We have coordinated the efforts for the EDC material awareness seminars.
Other outreach accomplished questioning presentation to the science method's class at Montana State University curriculum work with Keystone and non-Keystone schools presentation to university class on curriculum and standards initiation of an intermediate unit with Ennis, a non-Keystone school presentation to university class on inquiry science teachers from guest school have attended our institutes advisory capacity to school districts making adoptions presentation at the National Science Teacher Convention in Orlando presentation at Northwest Middle School Regional Conference in Colorado classroom support for teachers taking a university masters level course on action research in the classroom Kit and adoption presentations at Yakima, Washington leadership grant collaboration with MSU attendance at scientists brown bag lunch at MSU cooperative work with the Golden Triangle Consortium of 35 rural districts Our project's loss is another school's gain: Many trained teachers and mentor teacher leaders no longer in the project are sharing their expertise in their new positions. In some cases, our project is still providing material support from the Science and Technology Center.