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    National Science Foundation Grant to Support Equitable Science Teaching Practices for Elementary Science Teachers
    Posted on 10/10/2019
    A teacher sits on the floor with two young students as they work together on a science project.

    National Science Foundation Grant to Support Equitable Science Teaching Practices for Elementary Science Teachers

    This year, the district adopted new instructional materials for the first time since 1995. For K-5, Amplify Science was the curriculum recommendation brought forth by the Science Adoption Committee, which was then approved by the School Board. With the adoption of new curriculum and new learning standards (NGSS), elementary teachers will need transition support. Professional development for teachers on how to use the instructional materials was provided by the adoption.

    But to really shift the way science is taught to include underserved populations of students, including English language learners, students from different cultures, and students with special needs, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has the opportunity to engage with a university partner, the University of Washington College of Education. This partnership between the UW and SPS, titled Equitable Elementary Ambitious Science Teaching (E2AST) was granted $3 million from the National Science Foundation to support and train teachers throughout the district to focus their teaching on culturally and linguistic diverse students, which ultimately supports every student in our district.

    “Seattle science is honored to partner with the University of Washington on this prestigious grant to serve all of our students, especially those who are currently underrepresented in STEM. We are fortunate to partner with a leader in the country who is deeply involved in the research around how to teach in ways that make learning more empowering to every student," said MaryMargaret Welch, SPS science program manager. "One of our pillars is to help every student see themselves as a capable scientist or engineer. We hope to empower students to believe they can make a difference in their world by collecting and studying evidence to help solve local and global problems.”

    Welch is the co-principal investigator of the grant and partners with Professor Jessica Thompson, principal investigator and co-lead of the University of Washington College of Education’s Ambitious Science Teaching Group. The grant also will focus on building a network of improvement communities comprised of elementary teachers and their secondary teacher colleagues to promote collaboration among teachers as they share strategies and ideas on teaching science to meet the needs of all learners.

    As part of the district’s new strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, the focus is on serving students of color who are furthest from educational justice. One of the ways the district plans to deliver on this commitment is by delivering high-quality, standards-aligned instruction across all abilities and a continuum of services for learners. When teachers are provided with more instructional support and training, they are better equipped to meet the learning needs of all their students and provide a continuum of science education where all students are engaged and excited about learning science.

    Read more about Seattle Excellence, the district’s strategic plan.

    Read more about the E2AST Grant.