Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 4:25 PM
BRUSHING UP ON BASICS: BUILDING EARTH SCIENCE ACADEMIES, A MODEL FROM MARYLAND
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and the US Department of Education’s Math and Science Partnership Program awarded Worcester County Public School System a Math Science Partnership grant (MSP). The focus of the grant was to develop and deliver instructional professional development academies in Earth Science throughout 6 regions of Maryland, totaling 14 school systems. Initially the academies were run over a 15-month period via one full week of instruction during the summer, augmented by two pullout days (during the academic year) several after school evening sessions and a further week of instruction in the following summer. The instructional team consisted of content specialists from institutions of Higher Education, instructional coaches (who worked one-on-one with teachers throughout the year) and K-12 facilitators (teachers from the participating school districts). Between 2009-2011, 127 public and private classroom teachers and special education teachers, representing K-4 through K-8 have completed academies. The goals of these academies has been to increase Earth Science content knowledge, student-centered pedagogy, technology skills all by at least by 20%; and to rejuvenate or stimulate a long lasting interest in Earth Science within the teaching community. The MSP grant’s success was measured by an external evaluator, hired to record the growth of the academy and track a variety of data on participating teachers. Evaluation of three areas, content, pedagogy and technology from the 2010 academy demonstrates participants were overwhelmingly satisfied in all three areas. All survey items had at least a 90% satisfaction rate, with many attaining or closely approaching a 100% satisfaction rate. Participating teachers have reported noticeably higher levels of self-perceived preparedness and confidence to teach Earth Science. More importantly the students of participating teachers have also demonstrated growth in attitudes and ability relative to earth science and science. Unforeseen positive outcomes of the academies also include informal networking between teachers from different schools, with the goal of continued professional development, shared resources and application for funding for partnership projects.