RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande (URG) School of Sciences, in collaboration with the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center (ESC), the Meigs Local School District (MLSD) and the Symmes Valley Local School District (SVLSD), has been awarded a state grant that will provide professional development to local elementary and middle school science teachers.
This project’s goal is to provide teachers with training that will increase their own science content knowledge and classroom practices, and to then have this positive teacher change translate into improved student achievement in science. Funding for this project was awarded through the Improving Teacher Quality Program administered by the Ohio Board of Regents, and the URG proposal was among the 24 projects awarded funding out of more than 40 applicants.
Training activities will include five content-focused workshop days facilitated by Dr. Jacob White, Associate Professor of Chemistry, and Dr. Rob Hopkins, Assistant Professor of Biology. This workshop, which will take place in late summer, will primarily focus on Earth and Space Sciences topics as they relate to the state science standards in the elementary and middle school grades. In addition to the workshop training, the project will also support on-site instructional coaching sessions with the individual participants that will take place throughout the 2012-2013 school year. Teachers will have the opportunity to work one-on-one in their classrooms with retired master teachers from the area who will serve as science coaches. The grant will also support science-focused family night events at each school building that is participating in the project. Such after-school events are intended to promote parental involvement in students’ science education. The project is being evaluated by a team of researchers at Ohio University.
The university and ESC have previously partnered to provide successful science-focused professional development to area teachers. However, this project is the first such partnership with each of the participating school districts.
“It is exciting to begin investing your efforts in a project that has the opportunity to make long-term positive impacts in how area students learn science,” said Jacob White, Principal Investigator for the project. “It is also exciting to build new partnerships with area school districts, something both the university and ESC highly value.”
Dr. Denise Shockley, Gallia-Vinton ESC superintendent, said, “It has been a true partnership between the University of Rio Grande, the Gallia-Vinton ESC, and local school districts in providing STEM professional development to teachers in the region.”