A LOCALLY-SUSTAINED GK-12 PARTNERSHIP PROVIDES AN EFFECTIVE WAY FOR DIVERSE GRADUATE STUDENTS TO REACH K-12 STUDENTS AND SUPPORT SCHOOLS
At Purdue University we are implementing a low cost, locally sustainable GK-12 model through our Graduate School’s Preparing Future Faculty and Preparing Future Professionals programs. This is designed to provide graduate students with a service-learning opportunity that connects their research to effective K-12 outreach. Participants receive some initial training and follow-up session, and are paired with a teacher for a semester. They spend the equivalent of one day a week in the classroom for ten weeks. Early in the program the graduate student acts as an observer and assistant in the classroom, then the graduate student takes on the role of a co-teacher, and towards the end of the program the graduate student develops and implements a curricular unit that brings his or her research theme in to the classroom. This curricular unit meets applicable standards and classroom goals, and has been developed with the teacher so that it can be used in subsequent years.
Analysis of participant narratives indicates that this locally-sustainable program is achieving many of the same outcomes as the NSF-funded program on which it was based. Institutional resources invested include one graduate fellowship to staff the program, and a small number of service learning grants. As this is an ongoing program, faculty and their graduate students with diverse research projects can opt to participate when they want, and thus it provides an effective and relatively easy way to add a meaningful and high quality broader impact component to a research program as the need arises.