Old partnerships, new opportunities

As science and engineering education becomes increasingly important in K-12 schools, the Institute for School Partnership (ISP) at Washington University in St. Louis strengthened an old connection to East St. Louis to bring new opportunities to educators.

For two days, the ISP opened up its MySci Resource Center to educators from East St. Louis School District 189. Teachers from the elementary, middle and high school levels came to the campus of Washington University to learn about cutting-edge practices in teaching science concepts.

In the past, the ISP has partnered with East St. Louis educators through the STEM Teacher Quality Institute. Using this connection, curriculum coordinator Danielle Huff reached out to the ISP about the possibility of a professional development day with ISP staff.

East St. Louis elementary teachers got hands-on experience with the MySci curriculum in an all-day professional development session with ISP staff.

“I thought it would be great for our teachers to come to the MySci Resource Center because the ISP has so many resources to offer,” Huff said.

The two days, split between K-5 and 6-12 teachers, consisted of building teachers knowledge of science content, discussing best practices in science instruction and providing free resources for the teachers’ classrooms.

“We were thrilled to partner with East St. Louis once again,” said Victoria L. May, executive director of the ISP. “It is so important to us that teachers from all over the St. Louis region have access to the resources they need to be successful in the classroom.”

Lisa Latham, a second-grade teacher at Katie Wright Elementary School in the East St. Louis School District, said that having access to a hands-on science curriculum will be most beneficial for her students. “Students really get the concrete concept when they do hands-on experiments,” Latham said.

Above all, Huff said that she hoped teachers would feel better equipped after the professional development sessions at the ISP. “I hope that teachers will walk away with the skills to teach science effectively in the classroom and excitement about the changes happening in our district,” Huff said.

June 2015   |   by, Gennafer Barajas

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