The Southwest Virginia Science Teachers Academy, a collaborative effort among the Southwest Virginia Public Education Foundation, 16 school divisions in Southwest Virginia, Emory & Henry College, and American Electric Power Company-Clinch River Plant, received a Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition 2012 Programs That Work Award.
The Southwest Virginia Science Teachers Academy (SVSTA) grew out of an awareness that subgroups of students in Region 7 were not performing at benchmark on Science SOL tests. Basic to this problem was a concern that classroom teachers in Grades K-5 needed a stronger foundation in science, which included content knowledge, ability to use data effectively, an understanding of the nature of science, strategies for incorporating inquiry, opportunities to learn more about equity in the science classroom, how to ensure safety in the science classroom, and an understanding of science leadership.
Thirty-three teachers from K-5 classrooms in Region 7 participated in the Academy. As a result of their course work they became resources for both their schools and their school divisions and many became key members of their schools’ Pupil Study Teams.
Barbara Willis and Adrienne Hood along with co-principal investigators Diane Tomlinson and Danny Dixon represented the Southwest Virginia Public Education Foundation. Dr. Doug Arnold, Visiting Associate Professor in Education at Emory & Henry directed the SVSTA grant. Emory & Henry Science Department faculty members Dr. Jim Warden, Dr. Sara Bier and Professor Elizabeth Fairbanks taught the three science classes offered as a result of the Academy.