Additional Information on NC Science Scholars

NC QUEST
North Carolina Quality Educators through Staff Development and Training

As important as overall national achievement is, the status and achievement of underrepresented groups of students is of even greater concern…[we must] ensure that all students… (including) those who are culturally and linguistically diverse, develop scientific and technological literacy to be effective participants and contributors to society (Lee, Fradd & Sutman, 1995).

The Science Scholars Academy: Developing 21st Century Teacher Scholars

The Science Scholars Academy is a partnership between the North Carolina State
University’s College of Education, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Warren, Bertie, Hertford, Nash-Rocky Mount, and Northampton County Schools and Weldon and Roanoke Rapids City Schools. North Carolina’s northeastern region is currently experiencing shifts in economic development away from an agriculturally-based economy and there perhaps has never been a greater need for students’ readiness for 21st Century skills that will be necessary for new types of employment. For many families in poverty and those who have been hit hard by the economic crisis, the hope for the future lies with the education of their youth for new and different vocations. A key component of educational reform is through the professional development of teachers. The proposed Science Scholars Academy II project engages teachers in inquiry-based, technology-infused science lessons linked to state course objectives through sustained teacher professional development via synchronous online technologies. Through sustained practice with new skills and strategies for teaching science, teachers will build content knowledge and improve their ability to effectively prepare diverse students for a changing world.

The Science Scholars Academy II continues the work of the Science Scholars Academy to assist 20 middle and high school science teachers in seven school districts in northeastern North Carolina better prepare the 2000 students in their classrooms for STEM majors and careers. The Science Scholars Academy II will enhance teachers’ technological, pedagogical, research, and science content knowledge, and awareness of cutting edge scientific research and STEM careers (34 sessions totaling 114 hours; equivalent to 19 days --6 hours per day).

The content of the Academy will be linked directly to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study Objectives and National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) with a specific focus on use of newer instructional technologies and classroom research in addressing the needs of low performing students and interesting them in STEM careers. Teachers’ use of instructional technologies will increase teachers’ confidence and will positively impact their attitudes toward the use of technologies in science teaching with a focus on motivating students toward future careers. The explicit reflective teaching approach employed in the Science Scholars Academy II will continue the impact on teachers’ instruction toward more student-centered, reform-based classrooms. The sustained impact of the extension of this project with lead teachers to make lasting changes in their teaching practices that will enhance their students’ achievement in science.