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        Case Study 1
        Case Study 2
        Case Study 3
        Case Study 4
        Case Study 5
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        Case Study 6
        Case Study 7
 

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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 5

DISTRICT BACKGROUND INFORMATION

This large suburban school district serves approximately 12,000 students (K–6). There are currently 26 elementary school buildings and 4 rural (mountain) schools, averaging approximately three teachers per grade level per building (approximately 500 teachers for a teacher ratio of 25:1).

SETTING THE STAGE (The Change Process)

  • Teachers serving on the district-level Instructional Improvement Committee for Science were discontent with the existing upper elementary science program (textbook) and insisted on a new program.
  • One teacher from each elementary building was selected to participate in a year-long curriculum study and adoption process coordinated by the Elementary Science Implementation (ESI) project. The district science coordinator and the district staff development coordinator were responsible for coordinating the professional development sessions involving the teachers.
  • Teachers participating in the ESI project received course credit, release time, and stipends as compensation. Building administrators supported the release time for the professional development.
  • FOSS was selected because it was hands-on, user-friendly, and developmentally appropriate; incorporated cooperative groups, included an assessment component; and offered a complete set of materials.

ADOPTION PROCESS

  • The recommendation to adopt FOSS for grades 4–6 was brought to the Board of Education and was approved.
  • The FOSSilitators (group of 26 teachers) piloted the FOSS kits in their classrooms during the spring and conducted mini-workshops with the other FOSSilitators to learn the new curriculum.
  • Each FOSSilitator developed a Building Implementation Plan for their site to begin in the fall, with the support of the building administrator. Every teacher, grades 4–6, was expected to participate in the professional development sessions to learn the new curriculum.
  • The FOSSilitators selected 13 modules for the adoption: Measurement, Magnetism and Electricity, Earth Materials, Ideas and Inventions, Water, Levers and Pulleys, Environments, Landforms, Variables, Mixtures and Solutions, Models and Designs, Solar Energy, and Food and Nutrition. These modules were selected because they most closely matched the existing matrix the district had for science.

IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS—YEAR 1

  • The FOSS materials were shared by organized clusters of schools during the first year of implementation. Each cluster of schools (3 schools in each cluster x 7 clusters = 21 schools, plus 2 mountain schools) had two complete sets of the 12 modules selected, plus one additional set of 12 modules for the mountain schools to share. A total of 180 modules were ordered the first year.
  • Every school received three Measurement Modules to house at their site. The Measurement Modules became the responsibility of the FOSSilitator at each site to inventory, manage use, and replenish with consumables every 8–9 weeks.
  • The FOSSilitators were responsible for coordinating the rotation schedule for their cluster, including scheduling the use of the module, inventory of the module after use, ordering the replenishment items needed, and delivering the modules to the next recipient.
  • The district science coordinator was responsible for purchasing, storing, and filling consumable orders to replenish the modules every 9 weeks. The items were sent through the school mail to the receiving school to the attention of the FOSSilitator.
  • Each 4–6th-grade teacher was expected to teach two of the four FOSS modules during the first year of implementation. The building administrator was responsible for monitoring the use of the FOSS modules at her/his site.
  • The cluster rotation system was deemed inadequate by the FOSSilitators in May, after a 1-year trial, for several reasons: inventory procedures, late delivery of modules, missing nonconsumables, etc.
  • A central distribution system was recommended in order to minimize the responsibilities of the FOSSilitators and ease the burden put on the science specialist for replenishing the consumables. The District Distribution Center would ensure quality control of the modules, develop a centralized inventory system, establish a centralized booking system, and utilize the existing delivery system for interdistrict mail. The science specialist had already figured out the inventory of the consumable items. What was needed was a large space to house and restock the FOSS modules.

IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS—YEAR 2

  • The District Distribution Center is in a section of the school district's existing warehouse building. The refurbished area, approximately 550 sq. ft., with 117 sq. ft. used for storing consumable items and a work area for the FOSS clerk, was established during the summer before year 2.
  • The FOSS clerk works 4 hours per day. The FOSS clerk salary is paid by the district's general fund. The FOSS clerk schedules reservations, checks in modules, and works closely with the building FOSSilitators and media specialists from each site.
  • Each module is inventoried and resupplied as needed. An inventory sheet is the first sheet in the teacher guide. After the inventory sheet is checked off, it is dated and initialed by the FOSS clerk taking inventory. There is a space in the upper right-hand corner of the inventory sheet for teacher name, school, module number, and reservation dates. This has to be filled out before the module leaves the Distribution Center. This helps with tracking the module.
  • All modules are reserved for 40 school days (8 weeks) either by remote booking or through the school media specialist. Modules are sent out to the schools through the school delivery system at least 2 days before the reservation date. A mailing label is placed in a plastic cover that is attached to the front of each module drawer. This label has the school name, teacher name, module, module number, and reservation dates clearly visible for the delivery person and the teacher. Modules are secured with twine for delivery.
  • Following each 8-week rotation period, a week-long inventory and replenishment period is scheduled—typically at the end of each quarter. During the summer, all modules are inventoried and replenished for use in the fall.
  • The Distribution Center maintains an inventory of FOSS supplies. Individual storage boxes contain supplies. Local retailers are given first consideration in purchasing new materials. Delta is the supplier for FOSS items that cannot be found locally.
  • Teaching four FOSS modules was the expectation established for the 4–6th-grade teachers during the second year of implementation. The building administrator was responsible for monitoring the use of the FOSS modules at his/her site.
  • This job was made considerably easier as a result of remote booking procedures.
  • The FOSSilitators continued to meet on a quarterly basis to fine-tune the new distribution system and discuss any issues related to the implementation process (cooperative learning, extension ideas, multimedia suggestions).

FUTURE PLANS

  • The FOSS K–3 modules were piloted during the spring semester with plans to implement them districtwide during the fall.
  • Adding the K–3 FOSS program to the Distribution Center's workload will necessitate hiring an additional 4-hour FOSS clerk and increasing the existing FOSS clerk's hours to 6.
  • Additional space, about 1,500 sq. ft., will be needed to house all of the FOSS modules for the K–3 program while providing for a safe work environment.

SPECIAL NOTES

  • The FOSSilitators group, once a viable force in maintaining enthusiasm at the site level, needs to be reestablished now that the district is implementing FOSS K–6. The plan is to expand the FOSSilitators to include two people from each site.
  • Administrative involvement with the assessment process needs to increase to ensure a greater buy-in of the FOSS program districtwide.
  • Implementing a stronger support system between the FOSS Distribution Center personnel and the FOSSilitators would facilitate a more educated users group.

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