Vision: To build a sustainable infrastructure that strengthens rural science education through:
- improved science teacher recruitment, retention, and preparation at the University of Maine;
- improved teaching and learning in the physical sciences in grades 6-9, with a challenging, vertically aligned curriculum that encourages students to study more science;
- improved teacher content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge; and
- a sustained and expanding Partnership that supports the previous three goals.
To realize this vision, the proposal includes:
- ongoing professional development (PD) and support for teachers before and during the curriculum implementation, with primarily classroom-based academic year as well as summer PD;
- the selection, by consensus, and implementation of a research-supported curriculum aligned with state and national standards, with commensurate investment in an array of support mechanisms for teachers and schools as the curriculum is implemented;
- improved University-level science courses for pre-service science teachers (and others);
- close collaboration of participating University STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and STEM education faculty members, students, and researchers, including pre-service teachers, in grade 6-9 classrooms;
- analysis and research for ongoing formative assessment and overall program evaluation;
- detailed research into the improvement of rural science education, including the study of student learning and development of aspirations at these grade levels, and research into how teachers develop new content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), and make changes in classroom practices;
- investments in teacher leadership training to develop strong rural STEM education leaders;
- vertical teaming and collaborations among partners, to achieve the project’s common, multi-institutional goals; and
- recruitment programs to encourage a strong, diverse group of STEM undergraduates to pursue teaching careers by involving them in teaching and professional development as students
For more information on implementing our vision, see the page on Project Initiatives.