A government grant totaling $220,000 has been awarded to Emory & Henry College in collaboration with area school divisions in support of a program to promote science education.
The grant, which was awarded through the U.S. Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Education, supports a partnership that includes the William N. Neff Center for Teacher Education, the Science Department at Emory & Henry College, the Southwest Virginia Public Education Consortium and 16 high-needs school divisions in Region 7.
The “Contemporary Teaching of Science and the Nature of Science Grades K-5” will offer professional development through a combination of science classes at Emory & Henry College and collaboration activities to 40 K-5 classroom teachers in Region 7.
“This program enhances the quality of primary science education in this region and helps increase science subject matter knowledge and teaching skills of elementary teachers who, in turn, prepare our children for challenging areas of education as they progress through high school and college,” said Dr. Doug Arnold, the E&H professor of education who directs this project. “Emory & Henry is excited to be a part of a partnership that will provide professional development for K-5 science teachers on Earth science and physical science content, pedagogy, and assessment focused on supporting the implementation of 2010 Science Standards of Learning.”
Participating teachers will receive six college credits and professional development points through two intensive summer institutes and school year collaboration sessions which will include development of lessons, sharing of those lessons via technology with Emory & Henry science faculty and fellow grant participants, and postings to the grant website.
Using a systemic approach to enrich the delivery of science in each school division, participants will return to their respective schools as resource teachers to facilitate content and inquiry-based professional training in science with the goal of meeting the needs and learning styles of all students.
The grant will provide college-level coursework in physical and earth science with a pedagogical emphasis on inquiry-based instructional strategies and the nature of science using standards-based science materials. A capstone to the grant program will be a presentation by the grant participants of a region-wide “Celebration of Science” in spring 2013 for all teachers in the region, focusing on science content acquired during the grant college courses.
Arnold will serve as project director. Dr. Jim Warden, and E&H physics professor, and Dr. Sara Bier, an E&H geology professor, will teach the college coursework.