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Project Info: Midland Public Schools Systemic Change Teacher Enhancement Institute
staff: Sarah Lindsey (Principal Investigator)
Kathy Grzesiak (Co-Principal Investigator)
Jody Pagel (Co-Principal Investigator)
Beverly Curnutt (Project Director)
Mark Jenness (Evaluator)
grant award #: 9453145
funding began: 06-30-1997
funding ends: 05-31-1999
project focus: Science
grade levels: Elementary
venue type: Suburban,Rural
abstract: The Midland public schools in collaboration with the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Dow Chemical Company, the Michigan Statewide Systemic Initiative Project, and Michigan State University are pulling their efforts together to enhance all their elementary teachers in science. This effort is a continuation of a systemic change project begun in 1989 that focused on elementary science. At that time, the project was partnered with the community and successfully developed a centralized materials and technical support system. The current three-year project includes a Teacher Enhancement Institute that provides professional development for elementary (K-6) teachers. The teachers gain knowledge in science content and teaching skills at the same time meeting the numerous needs of their students. The institute consist of a two-week summer institute for an initial group of twenty-four (two from each of the 12 schools) who are prepared to become science mentors in their schools. A final week of training occurs during the school year. These teachers continue to attend the institute for three consecutive years. In subsequent years, an additional 70 teachers and 24 substitutes will participate with the core group of 24 leaders. The institute's goals are 1) to ensure teaching for conceptual understanding; 2) to develop an understanding of the nature of science inquiry; 3) to strengthen teacher's knowledge of basic science concepts, applications, and connections to other disciplines, and; 4) to use methods of ongoing assessment of effective teaching and learning. Community scientist receive instruction on how to assist teachers and students in determining what has truly been learned. Parent volunteers and elementary school principals each participate in an institute preparing them to be articulate advocates of reform in science literacy and science education. The project plans to establish a network of mentors, facilities and community participants to ensure that systemic change occurs and is sustained.