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Staff Development - Considerations
Develop a PlanDevelop a Leadership TeamPrepare the Teaching StaffPrepare the Support Staff

1. Develop a Plan
There is no substitute for good planning. A plan forces you to think about all of the dimensions of a complex undertaking, and gives benchmarks against which progress can be judged. A good plan is constantly updated and revised as information flows into the process. The fundamental elements of a professional and staff development plan are

Instructional delivery model—who will teach, when, where?
How will they learn what they need to know?
Instructional support model—who will support, when, where?
How will they learn what they need to know?

  1. The plan should describe
    1. A vision for the fully operational science program
    2. Goals and objectives for students, teachers, and schools
    3. The responsibilities of every participant
    4. How teachers will be prepared to teach
    5. How personnel will be prepared to support the teaching
    6. How costs will be incorporated into the overall budget
    7. A realistic and detailed time line
    8. Mechanisms for monitoring progress, plan review, and revision
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2. Develop a Leadership Team
A leadership team is the core of the change process. The leadership team is responsible for knowing all aspects of the plan and the status of every implementation activity. It is the source and conduit for information about the implementation. It is responsible for initiation of activities, monitoring of results and progress, problem solving, communication, and teacher support. The leadership team is responsible for sustaining and institutionalizing the program.

  1. Inventory in-house leadership resources
    1. Science specialists
    2. Curriculum specialists
    3. Staff developers
  2. Seek outside assistance
    1. FOSS developers and consultants
    2. Experienced teachers
    3. Business and science collaborators
    4. University education and science professors
    5. Regional and state science reform projects
    6. Local science and technology centers
  3. Develop leadership teachers within the district
    1. Look for teachers with
      • Science backgrounds
      • Experience teaching hands-on science
      • Enthusiasm and energy for the project
      • Good interpersonal and presentation skills
    2. Bond the group with
      • Special events
      • Release time for planning
      • Opportunities to attend conferences
      • Recruitment and retention

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3. Prepare the Teaching Staff
Teachers are the key to success. They are the gateway through which the message must flow. The hands-on science approach will be unfamiliar to them and realigning them to a new instructional paradigm will require sensitivity, patience, and support. Keep the expectation for rate of change realistic. Several years will be needed to revolutionize the entire staff. Start slow, keep it basic, and reinforce progress. Create a project or mission atmosphere and strive to achieve total buy-in.

  1. Level I Workshop Content
    1. Buy in to the plan—join the club
    2. Staff release days for the big picture
      • Philosophy
      • Pedagogy
      • Collaboration
    3. Grade-level meetings to learn basic FOSS how-tos
      1. Elementary program (grades K–6)
        • Teacher guide
        • Teacher prep video
        • First-time prep
        • Management techniques
        • Initial integration of math and language arts
        • Assessment
      2. Middle school program (grades 6–8)
        • Teacher guide
        • Student resource book and lab notebook
        • Multimedia
        • First-time prep
        • Management techniques
      3. Assessment—all levels
        • In-class one-on-one resource assistance
        • Team with a grade-level partner
        • Learn one, teach it twice to become expert
  2. Level II Workshop Content
    1. Science content
    2. Formative and summative assessment stategies
    3. Cognitive development and learning theory
    4. Integration of other parts of total curriculum
    5. Advanced pedagogy
    6. Use of local resources and field trips

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4. Prepare the Support Staff
For the implementation to be systemic, everyone in the district from the school board and superintendent to the parents and the community at large must support it. A comprehensive plan should have strategies for providing appropriate information to everyone in the district and for extracting the appropriate support from every player. The maintenance of FOSS kits is critical to the longevity of a FOSS implementation. Invite the people who will be responsible for kit maintenance at all levels to participate in workshops and to talk with teachers.

  1. People supporting teachers
    1. School board and superintendent
    2. Principal
    3. Classified personnel at the school
      • Library/media
      • Custodial
      • Aides
    4. Parents
    5. Community partnerships
      • Business
      • Government agencies
      • Higher education
      • Volunteers
      • Science and technology center
  2. People supporting materials
    1. Purchasing agent
    2. Inventory control agent
    3. Refurbishers
    4. Truck drivers and delivery people

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