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Annual Report Overviews



published: 11/30/2001
posted to site: 11/30/2001


A. Introduction

The Elementary Science Education Partners program (ESEP) is a partnership between the Atlanta Public School system (APS) and a consortium of metro-Atlanta colleges. The program's goal is to enhance science instruction by providing hands-on science curricular materials and intensive professional development for teachers. The program, which has served almost 1700 APS teachers in 70 elementary schools, has five components: (1) recruitment and training of college student science partners to serve as change agents for the teachers; (2) teacher professional development and support; (3) science kits for a NSES-based curriculum; (4) an assessment project aimed at measuring the impact of the program on APS pupils, science partners, and teachers; and (5) a program of participatory reform to ensure that APS personnel remain vested in the program and are actively engaged in its ongoing implementation. This final year, the two primary goals were: to achieve full integration of ESEP activities with those of the Atlanta Urban Systemic Initiative (ASI); and to establish grounds for lasting institutionalization of ESEP policies and programs.

B. Accomplishments

  1. Science Partners
    • ESEP established semester-long college-student partnerships with 384 APS teachers (Appendix A, Table 1), representing 59% of the 649 teachers who applied during Year 5 (Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000).
    • These partnerships served 24% of the elementary teacher population of the APS, and provided over 11,000 hours of classroom assistance.
    • Science partners had an important impact on some 9,300 children, yielding over 280,000 hours of partner-pupil contact.
    • Science partner orientation and training was improved and better coordinated on all campuses.
    • The 384 science partnerships established during year 5 represent 12% of the 3320 such partnerships with APS teachers that ESEP arranged throughout the tenure of the NSF grant (Appendix A, Table 1).
    • Summer interns program for science partners was continued on all campuses.
    • Science partners served on GSU BioBus to provide additional lab experiences for school children.
  2. Professional Development
    • A three-phase cycle of intensive two-day science kit in-service workshops was provided for 536 individual participants during year 5, including 209 1st, 107 2nd, 99 3rd, 71 4th, and 50 5th grade teachers.
    • Including teachers trained on more than one kit and administrative personnel, ESEP held workshops for a total of 1554 participants.
    • Averaging 64 hours of in-service time per teacher, ESEP delivered over 100,000 hours of professional development for APS personnel.
    • Eleven new SKIL teachers were selected to form cohort 5 of the cadre of lead science teachers, bringing the total active cohort to 54 (Appendix A, Table 2A, 2B).
    • A day-long PD planning retreat for 47 SKIL teachers and 6 ASI Model Teacher Leaders (MTLs) was organized and implemented by the ESEP professional development staff, focusing on building capacity and the transition from ESEP to ASI.
    • System-wide workshops were offered for Instructional Liaison Specialists and school principals.
    • A Three-tier 80-hour Summer Institute focusing on science content, authentic assessment, and the CBAM model of change (Appendix A, Table 4) was designed and implemented by cohort 1 and 2 SKIL teachers and MTLs under the supervision of ESEP staff, and was attended by 54 SKIL teachers (Appendix A, Table 2a) and 24 MTLs (Appendix A, Table 3).
    • An on-site professional development model for primary teachers, using MTLs and SKIL teachers as teacher-mentors, was approved and piloted by the APS.
  3. Kit-based Science Curriculum.
    • The Science Materials Support Center completed a three-phase distribution of 3,318 science kits in ready-to-teach condition to 1,106 classrooms, providing 213 1st, 268 2nd, 263 3rd, 192 4th, and 170 5th grade teachers with the kit on which each had recently been trained.
    • The system purchased new science kits and teaching supplies at a cost of $447,500.
    • Selections of science-related trade books were distributed to 213 first-grade teachers in conjunction with their kits.
    • Kit usage was assessed at 90% as judged by need for refurbishing
    • A special round of CEPUP chemistry kits was delivered to all 6th-grade teachers.
  4. Assessment
    • Classroom observations show that more teachers were making greater use of collaborative grouping and hands-on activities.
    • Teachers reported significant improvements in their science instruction as a result of the ESEP professional development activities. (Hughley M.Ed. thesis).
    • Only 5 out of 23 randomly selected teachers from grades 1-5 achieved a basic proficiency score in a test of general science content knowledge despite participation for 3-5 years in the ESEP program (Falkenberg doctoral study).
    • Two additional doctoral studies are in progress.
    • Core evaluator report:
      • "...program's strength has been in...professional development."
      • "...Classroom teachers enthusiastically embrace the kits and training. Many list the ESEP workshops as the best staff development they have had."
      • SKIL Teachers "...showed marked improvement over last year's ratings...remarkable growth..."
      • As in previous years, "...a fundamental weakness in the program... was lack of day-to-day involvement by the district administration."
  5. Coordination of APS and ESEP Administration
    • APS/ESEP Coordinating Committee met three times during Year 5
    • Monthly ASI/ESEP Leadership Team and quarterly ASI/ESEP PI's meetings
    • Monthly ESEP/ASI Transition Team meetings
    • SKIL Teacher Steering Committee planning 2000 Appreciation Luncheon
    • APS Principal, Dr. Betsy Bachman, received the Third Annual Adelia Hall Principal's Award was from ESEP
    • First annual ESEP Ron Griggs' Memorial Award was presented to the Outstanding SKIL Teacher of the year.
    • Sixty-eight schools were represented at the ESEP/APS Awards Banquet and Principals' luncheon
    • The APS/ESEP calendar of professional development and kit distribution was prepared jointly by ESEP and APS/ASI personnel for the first time.
C. National/International Recognition
  • ESEP: recognized as Center of Excellence, Science Education Reform, National Science Resources Center, LASER Program, Washington D.C.
  • ESEP Team (DeHaan, Falkenberg, Goebel, Hughley, Kozaitis, Krauss): presented a Demonstration Workshop to the Primary Science Education Partners program (PSEP) and Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Allwood: recipient of MSM Dean's Outstanding Service Award. ESEP cited as an exemplary program conducted from his Office of Student Affairs
  • DeHaan: appointed to NAS/NRC Center for Education Expert Panel on Principles of Scientific Quality in Education Research
  • DeHaan: elected to Board of Directors, Kids Health, Georgia Health Education Center
  • DeHaan: appointed to Eastbank Learning Community Advisory Board, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland
  • DeHaan: received Atlanta Public Schools SKIL Teachers, Power of One Award
  • DeHaan: appointed to Georgia Institute of Technology/University of Michigan, National Advisory Board on Middle School Science Curriculum Materials
  • Falkenberg: appointed Fellow, National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership, WestEd
  • Falkenberg: appointed member of National Academy of Engineering Technological Literacy Committee
  • Weinburgh: elected president of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science (AETS)
D. Evidence of Institutionalization (9/1/1999 - 8/31/2001)
  • Fifteen new SKIL teachers (cohort 6) recruited by APS/ASI to expand the cadre of lead/mentor teachers.
  • Name changed to MASKIL (Math and Science Knowledge, Inquiry, Lead) teachers for post-NSF ASI/ESEP activities.
  • Increased collaboration of ASI Model Teacher Leaders and MASKIL teachers to build capacity and expand classroom teacher support.
  • All ASI Model Teacher Leaders attended the 80-hour summer 2001 MASKIL Institute (Appendix A, Table 7).
  • Model Teacher Leaders worked with and supported MASKIL teachers to provide kit training for all APS elementary teachers.
  • APS placed greater emphasis in professional development on science content, school learning communities, and the change process, following the ESEP model.
  • Leadership roles of MASKIL teachers and MTLs were enhanced.
  • MASKIL Teachers and Model Teacher Leaders together developed a professional development model that integrates science, mathematics, reading, and writing.
  • APS/ASI agreed to recruit up to 220 MASKIL teachers in the next 3 years, and provide special in-servicing in mathematics and/or science to assist in training all K-12 teachers in the use of inquiry pedagogy with manipulatives.
  • The Atlanta Board of Education approved a $1,200 annual salary supplement for all 220 MASKIL teachers as they are trained.
E. Dissemination to Other Districts (9/1/1999 - 8/31/2001)
  • University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, established a Science Partners Program with neighboring schools based on DeHaan visit
  • Eastbank Learning Community's Primary Science Education Partners (PSEP) Program and Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland requested the ESEP team to give a demonstration workshop in preparation for establishing an ESEP-like program of science partners and PD.
  • Capital Area Institute for Mathematics and Science, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania established a Science Partners Program with neighboring schools with assistance from DeHaan
  • Fulton County School (FCS) District joined with ESEP to receive an NAS/NRC Selecting Instructional Materials (SIM) Georgia field trials award, DeHaan, Project Director
  • FCS administration joined ESEP and the Emory University Division of Educational Studies (DES) to develop a program of undergraduate science partners with FCS teachers to assist in teaching inquiry-based, hands-on science.