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Info for Teachers and Parents

Staff Development

Implementation of a materials-based program like FOSS requires a thoughtful staff development plan. The involvement of the classroom teachers in the early stages of program selection and implementation planning is a strategy used by all of the case-study schools and districts.

Once the FOSS curriculum has been selected for a pilot, a group of elementary teachers (the science leadership team representing all schools and all grades) is often selected to receive initial training. Following a successful pilot-testing phase conducted by these teachers (usually 6 months to a year in duration), they become the core group of teachers (site science facilitators) responsible for implementing the FOSS adoption at their own schools.

The implementation process, ranging from one to three school calendar years, uses district staff development funds to conduct module and course orientation sessions for teachers. For elementary teachers, these half-day sessions are typically set up to focus on one strand (e.g. Physical Science) per semester. Teachers from one grade level are prepared to use the module they will be teaching in their classrooms. That way, teachers have an opportunity to work with the materials along with their peers prior to classroom use with their students. For middle school teachers, the introduction to the course may last 1 or 2 days.

Most of the elementary case-study districts implemented the Physical and Earth Sciences strands during the first year, followed by the Life Science strand during the second or third year of implementation. This phase-in strategy allows teachers to develop a comfort level with one module at a time. The teachers are not overwhelmed by too much to learn all at once. This ensures a higher level of usage of the materials by neophyte teachers.

For more specific information on staff development strategies, go to Considerations section.



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