FOSS Implementation Case Study 5
DISTRICT BACKGROUND INFORMATION
This large suburban school district serves approximately 12,000
students (K6). 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
- 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
- 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.
- The recommendation to adopt FOSS for grades 46 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 46, 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 PROCESSYEAR 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
- 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 46th-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,
- 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 PROCESSYEAR 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 scheduledtypically 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
- Teaching four FOSS modules was the expectation established
for the 46th-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
- 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).
- The FOSS K3 modules were piloted during the spring
semester with plans to implement them districtwide during
- Adding the K3 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 K3 program while providing
for a safe work environment.
- 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 K6. The plan
is to expand the FOSSilitators to include two people from
- Administrative involvement with the assessment process needs
to increase to ensure a greater buy-in of the FOSS program
- Implementing a stronger support system between the FOSS Distribution
Center personnel and the FOSSilitators would facilitate a
more educated users group.