Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 4:40 PM
IMPLEMENTING LONG-TERM PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR URBAN EARTH SCIENCE TEACHERS: INSIGHTS FROM THE MICHIGAN TEACHER EXCELLENCE PROGRAM (MITEP)
The Michigan Teacher Excellence Program (MiTEP) is a multifaceted professional development program that targets K-12 Earth science teachers in the public school districts of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Jackson (MI). The goal of the program is to elevate the content knowledge and pedagogy skills of teachers with limited Earth science training while inspiring institutional change at several partner institutions. This 5-year program is advancing 4 cohorts of 12-24 teachers through 3 years of training that includes summer field experiences, professional development days, on-line course work, and scaffolded leadership opportunities. Teachers spend 2 summers constructing knowledge through field experiences, spending 1 week in the Upper Peninsula and 1 week near their home district each summer. Field days feature presentations by faculty experts and are correlated with Earth Science Literacy Principles, NGSS, state and local standards, misconceptions, and district curriculum. Culminating projects include professional conference presentations of teacher developed, inquiry-rich lesson plans and authoring of EarthCache sites. During the school year teachers attend quarterly professional development days featuring pedagogical strategies for presentation of topics they identified as areas of greatest need, and participate in on-line Earth science and education courses. Just-in-time content assistance is provided through “ask-a-scientist” and “scientists-on-call” features. Teachers can apply course work toward a Master’s degree in Earth Science education from Michigan Tech. In their third year teachers engage in “capstone” internships in collaboration with Midwest national parks such as Isle Royale, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Keweenaw National Historic Park or Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Teachers have emerged as leaders through involvement in such activities as providing profession development for peers in the district, involvement in leadership organizations, and presenting their work at state science teacher meetings. Major challenges include out-of-field teaching and instability of teacher placement within urban districts. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through MSP Grant No. NSF 0831948.