This project brings together forty-eight rural Maine schools, the University of Maine, three Maine non-profits with expertise in science education, and science and technology leaders at the Maine Department of Education to target the teaching and learning of physical sciences in grades 6-9 and the preparation of science teachers at the University of Maine. Linking universities and rural districts, the partners in this project will collaboratively select, refine, and implement coherent, research-supported curricula and then provide the ongoing intensive professional development requisite for strong implementation. Also, students preparing to teach science from the University and other Maine colleges and universities will be participants in the curriculum selection process, professional development, and implementation, and will assist as teaching partners in the classroom as teachers begin to use the curriculum.
At the core of this project is a partnership that focuses on the implementation of proven curricular resources along with the full range of critical supports. In this way, the implementation work to be carried out in these rural districts also provides a powerful context for the preparation of future teachers as well as a rich venue for research that both informs the project and helps document the essential design features of the underlying approach. The project is designed not only to provide direct services to the participating districts but also to (1) build a regional infra-structure for ongoing improvement in STEM education, including faculty and teacher leaders, local expertise in assessment and curriculum, databases, and communication networks; and (2) contribute to a designed research effort that will inform future rural educational initiatives.
Approximately 9800 students and 100 teachers will be involved in the curriculum implementation, with teachers receiving typically 100 hours of professional development over two years. Twenty STEM courses at the University will be modified to include research- supported practices, staffed by 200 trained STEM graduate teaching assistants and 40 trained undergraduate learning assistants, impacting over 7000 students, including future teachers.
$12.3 million over five years; to begin summer, 2010.
First year major task:
curriculum selection and adaptation for implementation
New positions funded: