FOSS Implementation Case Study 1
20 elementary schools
10,100 students K6
351 regular teachers (375 with special education and other instruction
Case study written after 2 years of district-wide implementation
I. CURRICULUM SELECTIONYear 1 and Year 2
This district used a teacher committee to review and select a
new science curriculum. One teacher from each of 20 elementary
schools was on the Curriculum Support Committee (CSC). During
the first year the CSC studied the State Science Framework and
developed a scope and sequence for the district's new science
curriculum. The CSC then identified three commercial programs
that showed potential for satisfying the new district science
In the fall of year 2 the committee grew to 28 teachers (four
at each grade level). Each of the 28 CSC teachers became a pilot
teacher. Each pilot teacher had the opportunity to use the FOSS
program and at least one of the other programs. At the end of
the fall semester the CSC unanimously selected FOSS as the new
II. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT/STAFF DEVELOPMENT
The effectiveness of the implementation of the new program depended
on all of the district teachers buying in. The responsibility
for instilling this commitment rested with the pilot teachers.
They became the team that presented the FOSS modules to the grade-level
teachers at their schools during the in-service training. Their
skill, knowledge, and enthusiasm made the difference. The original
group of teachers on the CSC evolved into pilot teachers, and
now they were being groomed to be staff developers. To prepare
them for the new challenge the district provided professional
development for the committee members.
A. Professional Development for Pilot Teachers
In winter of year 2, a FOSS consultant worked one day each month
with the pilot teachers in preparation for the first district-wide
in-service in May. During this time, each of the pilot teachers
was teaching two FOSS modules in his or her classroom, gaining
valuable experience. These two modules would be the first and
second modules they would be responsible for presenting to the
teachers at the spring and summer in-service meetings. When this
preparation was complete, the pilot teachers made their final
transformation to FOSSilators and received an official district
FOSS lab coat as a token of their new status.
The management team was kept informed about the progress of the
selection process for science. They also participated in the in-service
B. First Staff-Development Workshop
In May of year 2, the district conducted four full-day FOSS-staff
development workshops. All of the FOSSilators attended each of
the four workshops. The entire staff of every school in the district
attended one of the four identical workshops. At each workshop
the FOSS consultant introduced the general philosophy and background
of the program and did a couple of introductory activities with
the whole assembly. Then the group broke into grade-level sections,
and the FOSSilators presented individual modules to the teachers
who would be teaching it first thing next fall. Each teacher was
provided with a copy of the master plan for the distribution of
FOSS modules over the grades.
C. Second Staff-Development Workshop
In August of year 2, one afternoon of the district back-to-school
meeting was devoted to the FOSS program. Again teachers were organized
into grade-level groups, and FOSSilators introduced a second module
to the teachers. When year 3 started, all of the teachers had
been introduced to two modules. It was decided to postpone the
introduction of the Life Science modules. The committee didn't
want the live critters to scare off any of the teachers as they
were just beginning to use the program.
The FOSSilators continued to work ahead by teaching new modules
in their own classrooms.
D. Third Staff-Development Workshop
In November of year 3, all teachers received their third in-service.
This time the in-service was site-based. A schedule was established
where one grade level from a school would be in-serviced during
the morning and a different grade level at the same site during
the afternoon. Substitutes at the school just changed grade levels.
Both Eisenhower and district funds were used to pay for the subs.
It took three different days per school to complete this third
in-service. This completed the staff development for grades 1
and 2, as there are only three FOSS modules assigned to each grade
E. Fourth Staff-Development Workshop
In May of year 3, a 2 hour in-service was held after school for
the remaining grades to be in-serviced. Each school sent a grade-level
representative to a centralized workshop to prep and inventory
the new module and to get tips and tricks to make the module successful.
Teachers were paid for the training with Eisenhower and district
funds. It was then the responsibility of that person to work with
the other teachers at the site to bring them up to speed with
the last module.
The FOSSilators were paid for extra planning and prep time needed
to present the in-service training. Eisenhower funds were used for
Teachers were asked to teach only two of the modules during the first
year of implementation.
F. Sustaining Staff Development and Implementation
- The FOSSilators completed their metamorphosis and emerged
as Science Resource Teachers at each school site. This has eroded
to some degree due to movement of teachers over the last year,
but in general it has worked quite well.
- There was staff in-service with the principals to help organize
the science program at the schools. The location of the modules,
the process of obtaining consumable replacement kits, and the
ordering of replacement parts for lost items was included in
- The district conducted an evaluation in the fall of year 4
to measure the success of the program to date. It also asked
questions about the in-services.
- For some time the district has had a program called Academy
Courses. These are courses conducted after school on many subjects.
The district is in the process of developing a series of FOSS
Academy Courses for new teachers or for others who have changed
III. MATERIALS MAINTENANCE
A. The Housing of Materials
Each school received one completed set of FOSS modules. They
are kept at the individual sites. Each school is responsible for
maintaining its own kits. Some schools have the luxury of a dedicated
room where kits are stored and refurbished, but most store the
kits in the classrooms. Enough Measurement Modules
were purchased so that one measurement kit is shared by every
two teachers for grades 36.
B. Materials Management
Management plans vary from school to school. At some schools
the principals act as manager; some have a team of teachers; some
have one person assigned school-wide; and some sites leave it
up to the individual grade-level teams.
C. Inventory and Consumable Replacement
When the kits originally arrived at district receiving, a large
plastic envelope was taped to the top of the kit, and copies of
the inventory sheet and parts reorder form for the module were
placed in the plastic envelope before the kit was delivered to
- The teachers were trained to take a kit inventory at the beginning
and end of a module’s use. The teacher fills out both
an inventory sheet and a reorder sheet as part of the summary
inventory. These sheets are sent to the district warehouse where
the individual refill kits are stored. the district elected
to use the Delta refill kits rather than trying to set up a
storehouse for the many varied items required. The district
supports the program annually by budgeting funds ($12,000) to
replace the consumable materials.
- A biological supply company in our area is willing to provide
the living organisms for the FOSS Life Science modules. An open
purchase order was established with them. A teacher calls the
company to order items using the established P.O. number. UPS
delivers the organisms to the school site. Appropriate timing
of the organism delivery has been worked out between the teacher
and the supply company. The district again supports this with
budgeted funds ($8000).
- Permanent items that are lost or broken are an individual school
responsibility. Each principal was asked to reserve $200$300
of their budgets to cover these items. A special FOSS binder
was prepared for each principal. The binder includes the Delta
catalog for reordering items that fall into this category.
D. Checkout Rotation System
Not applicable for this program; coordinated at school site.
We have not had a safety concern to date. We do send out periodic
newsletters to the teachers with FOSS information. We monitor
the FOSS Newsletter carefully and share these items with the teachers.
(For example, the problem with using rechargeable batteries was
shared with the teachers using the Magnetism and Electricity
A. Community Awareness
From the very beginning of the selection of the FOSS program,
the Board of Trustees and the District Advisory Committee (parent
representatives from the individual schools) were kept informed
about the development of the program. Sample activities were done
with these groups to demonstrate the hands-on concept of the program.
Individual school sites have had special FOSS science nights where
the parents can circulate through the multipurpose room and see
children working with different modules at various grade levels.
Our district newsletter sent to the parents has featured the FOSS
program, and our various grade-level guides given to parents at
the beginning of the school year outline the activities featured
by FOSS for each grade. The business community in our area has
not been directly involved with the new curriculum.
B. Financial Support
We have not worked with the business community to obtain support
for the FOSS program. Most of our district's efforts for support
from these groups have been linked directly with the improvement
of the technology program. Some schools have purchased additional
kits for specific grade levels.