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Implementing FOSS

Staff Development
Materials Management
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    K-6 Case Studies
        Case Study 1
        Case Study 2
        Case Study 3
        Case Study 4
        Case Study 5
    Middle School Case Studies
        Case Study 6
        Case Study 7

FOSS in Multiple Classrooms

  Using FOSS Technology
      Schools Using FOSS


  Frequently Asked Questions about the FOSS Program
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Info for Teachers and Parents

Elementary School: Case Study 1Case Study 2Case Study 3Case Study 4Case Study 5
Middle School: Case Study 6Case Study 7

FOSS Implementation Case Study 2

15 elementary schools
7300 students K–6
320 teachers K–6


One teacher experienced in special education and environmental education, familiar with the SAVI/SELPH program, and driven by a passion for hands-on science, hand-carried FOSS into the district adoption process and maintained enthusiasm for the program right through its approval as the district curriculum.


A. Initiating Leadership Development

  1. The full-time science coordinator started working with a team of 14 lead teachers, 2 per grade level, serving the 15 schools. These teachers studied the new California State Framework and worked with a FOSS consultant to become familiar with the philosophy and mechanics of the program.
  2. The second year 18 new lead teachers were trained to use FOSS and brought on board. These teachers used their training to run a summer school using FOSS.
  3. These 32 teachers formed the Lead Science Team and met every other month through the early years of the implementation process. They were the problem solvers.

B. Initiating Staff Development

The lead teachers conducted grade-level team meetings at the schools to introduce the site staffs to the new program. The teachers were introduced to the centralized system for replacement of consumables and live organisms through the Instructional Materials Center.

C. Developing Collaborative Support

The support of a business partner, Intel, provided money to purchase videos, literature, and other resource books, and provided funds for lead teachers to attend State Science Teachers Association annual conferences.

D. Sustaining Staff Development and Implementation

  1. "Inculturate" new teachers. There is an ongoing mechanism for introducing new teachers to the district science program. Each new teacher goes through 30 hours of professional development with a mentor teacher. The district science coordinator conducted five after-school sessions on FOSS for new teachers.
  2. Keep it new and exciting for teachers.
    • Bimonthly curriculum newsletter to all teachers
    • Science songbook for all modules
    • Balance toys sent out to grade 2 teachers (Balance and Motion Module)
    • Insect posters sent to teachers (Insects Module)
    • Free owl pellets (Human Body Module)
    • Correlation of FOSS to supplementary materials used in the district
  3. Provide clear standards. The district provided student-learning outcomes for each module for each grade level and distributed those to the teachers.
  4. Support high expectations.
    • Get the support of the principals, the instructional leaders in the schools. Ask them to do FOSS lessons in the classroom.
    • Ask principals to do evaluations when FOSS is being used in a classroom.
    • Promote science nights (one per year per school).
    • Have the principal recommend that the teacher call the lead science teacher for help if the teacher is having trouble getting started (so the teacher asks for the help rather than the principal).
    • Have kit specialists at the school to help teachers who might have special problems in working with organisms (insects, crayfish).
    • Use school improvement funds to support the science program at the site, to purchase literature books, to send teachers to conferences, or to support teachers who attend FOSS activities outside the district.
  5. Evaluate and Celebrate
    • Have yearly evaluation forms and ask the teachers to sign them.


A. Housing the Materials

Kits are housed and maintained at the 15 individual school sites.

B. Managing the Materials

The lead teachers worked with the staff at each site to determine the most efficient system for materials management.

C. Inventory and Consumable Replacement

All the consumables and live organisms were provided through the Instructional Materials Center. One classified staff as manager handles all the purchasing and shipping out to schools. Materials arrive at the school site within 24 hours after they are requested.

D. Checkout (Rotation) System

Use of kits is determined at the school site with the assistance of the lead teacher.


A. Administrators

Through the lead teachers and the curriculum coordinators, the principals were informed about the program.

B. Parents

Parents are informed about the science program through meetings and science nights at the schools.

C. Community

Financial support has been primarily district and Eisenhower funds. A local high-tech industry has supported the purchase of multimedia, literature, and the participation of teachers in state science conferences.

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