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April 30, 2012

ULM professors provide opportunity for middle school science teachers

Louisiana middle school teachers will benefit from a professional development opportunity this summer at Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge and Restoration Park, thanks to a $120,000 grant secured by professors at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. 

Louisiana Systemic Initiatives Program (LaSIP) recently funded ULM's program "Outstanding in the Field," which is chaired by Lynn Clark, ULM assistant professor of curriculum and instruction and director of DREAM.

She is joined by ULM colleagues Ava Pugh, also a professor in curriculum and instruction; Joydeep Bhattacharjee, an assistant professor in biology; and Anne Case-Hanks, an assistant professor in atmospheric sciences.

The new money will support the second phase of ULM's professional development initiative that began in 2010.

During the upcoming summer institute, scheduled for July 22 - 28, middle school teachers will collect and analyze weather data, providing them inspiration to teach the next generation of science standards.

The institute is specifically intended for area middle school science teachers working in the fields of biology, physical sciences and environmental science. 

“This professional development could not have come at a better time,” said Monroe City Schools Science Coordinator Joyce Tate.

“This year, teachers will be aligning their curriculum to new national science standards that require students to do more hands-on data collection and make greater connections between the sciences than ever before.“

During the institute, teachers will build a weather station that they can eventually take back to their school sites.

They will also create and use pre-set observation stations that allow students to collect daily data on biotic (life sciences) and abiotic (physical sciences) variables.

During the academic year, teachers will also participate in four seminars that focus on ways to integrate the common core state standards into science.

Bhattacharjee said, "While having teachers put together weather stations for their schools is an interesting feat in itself, the overarching idea is to create a network of smaller weather stations in our area schools where students will be collecting data on a regular basis and adding to a larger data base for the region.”

The project is open to all sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade science teachers teaching in Caldwell, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, and Union parishes and Monroe City Schools. For more information and to apply online please go to: 

LaSIP, started in 1992, is designed primarily to enhance teacher quality and increase student performance through professional development for in-service teachers.

A combination of Board of Regents’ funds, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education funds, and all Title II, Part A, No Child Left Behind funds help finance LaSIP’s efforts.

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