• 28°

Local teachers take strides to improve student achievement

RIO GRANDE — Elementary and middle school science teachers from the Meigs Local School District (MLSD) and the Symmes Valley Local School District (SVLSD) recently began a year-long effort to improve student achievement in science.

This effort included a five-day training session led by faculty members from the University of Rio Grande (URG), and will also include classroom coaching sessions within each school throughout the coming academic year.

Four well-respected and recently-retired science teachers from the region have been hired by the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center (ESC) and trained to provide instructional coaching support to the participating teachers in their own classrooms.

This project was awarded funding through the Improving Teacher Quality Program administered by the Ohio Board of Regents.

This project’s goal is to provide teachers with training that will increase their own science content knowledge and enhance their classroom practices. In addition, the project ultimately aims to have this positive teacher change translate into improved student achievement in science.

Both school districts are in the process of transitioning to the new state standards in science, making this project a very timely opportunity. Funding for this project was awarded through the Improving Teacher Quality Program administered by the Ohio Board of Regents, and the URG proposal was among the 24 projects awarded funding out of more than 40 applicants.

Training activities included five content-focused workshop days facilitated by Dr. Rob Hopkins, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Jacob White, associate professor of chemistry.

This workshop, which occurred the week of August 6 – 10, focused primarily on earth and space sciences topics as they relate to the state science standards in the elementary and middle school grades.

Each of the four science coaches hired to support this project also participated in this training alongside the teachers. Teachers will have the opportunity to work one-on-one in their classrooms with these science coaches.

The grant will also support science-focused family night events at each school building that is participating in the project. Such after-school events are intended to promote parental involvement in students’ science education.

The project is being evaluated by a team of researchers at Ohio University.

The university and ESC have previously partnered to provide successful science-focused professional development to area teachers.