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Project Info: CITY SCIENCE -- A Systemic Plan for Elementary Science in San Francisco
staff: Maria Santos (Principal Investigator)
Liesl Chatman (Co-Principal Investigator)
Sandra Lam (Co-Principal Investigator)
Peter Walter (Co-Principal Investigator)
Michael Oliver (Evaluator)
Margo Fontes (Lead Staff)
Caroline Satoda (Lead Staff)
Erin Strauss (Lead Staff)
Nancy Schlenke (Lead Staff)
Patricia Harmon (Lead Staff)
Carmelo Sgarlato (Lead Staff)
Cynthia Gusman (Support Staff)
Kimberly Tanner
Helen Doyle
grant award #: 9453958
funding began: 07-01-1995
funding ends: 06-30-2000
project focus: Science
grade levels: Elementary
abstract: This is a Local Systemic Initiative project that builds on a past leadership effort in San Francisco to improve the teaching of science and mathematics. The Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), is working together to enable all of the city's elementary schools to accomplish effective, site-based science and mathematics education reform by forming a teacher professional development effort that supports the implementation of inquiry based hands-on instructional units. This partnership involves many scientists and has resulted in the development of 100 lead teachers for the district. This project is also building on a collaborative effort with the San Francisco Exploratorium to ensure the creation of major leaders in science education. The Lawrence Hall of Science's Full Option Science System (FOSS) and Educational Development Center's INSIGHTS are the instructional materials used in the curriculum kits. Mathematics, reading and writing are three areas that are implemented as a part of the science program where appropriate. San Francisco's school district has a population of approximately 1300 elementary teachers, including classroom and resource teachers. For this project, the teacher participants are broken down into four groups: 1) science systemic teachers who are previous participants in the City Science program; 2) beginning teachers who have less than 2 years full-time teaching; 3) focus school teams made up of 3-4 teachers per year at eight selected Focus Schools; and 4) the remainder of the teachers in the District. UCSF's City Science program provides an intensive hands-on science project for 400 SFUSD teachers who have taught less than seven years and a less intensive program for 600 more experienced teachers in order to broaden the base of teachers with hands-on science in a cooperative learning environment. It also provides new opportunities for a subset of the 100 teachers who are current City Science participants to expand their capacity as science teachers while serving to further develop in their role as leaders. They support specific aspects of the district-wide science education reform and mentor new leadership that sustains the reform process in their schools. During the last three years, additional teachers from each Focus school are asked to join the Leadership Team for at least one year of the Summer Institute to further enhance their expertise. They also participate in monthly follow up sessions during the subsequent school year. Groups of 3-4 teachers from each Focus School are added at the beginning of each Summer Institute until all of the teachers at each school have enrolled in the project. The teachers receive additional training through release time to allow for participation in site planning, school-wide science events for students and parents. This project provides an opportunity to address the challenge of teacher attrition and expansion in the District by offering the two-year sequence of basic City Science Summer Institutes for beginning teachers. It also provides development and training tailored for more experienced teachers to enhance their confidence and teaching in hands-on, inquiry based science education.