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IW teachers join science initiative

Isle of Wight County Schools teachers recently began a year-long program that aims to shift science instruction from the traditional classroom setting to examining “real world” problems. Pictured from left are Westside Elementary Principal Clint Walters, Westside Elementary teacher Ellen Peterson, Westside Elementary teacher Paula Collett, Westside Elementary teacher DeNay Smith, IWCS Elementary Math and Science Coordinator Heather Greer, and Westside Elementary Teacher Sharon Staudt.

Isle of Wight County Schools teachers recently began a year-long program that aims to shift science instruction from the traditional classroom setting to examining “real world” problems. Pictured from left are Westside Elementary Principal Clint Walters, Westside Elementary teacher Ellen Peterson, Westside Elementary teacher Paula Collett, Westside Elementary teacher DeNay Smith, IWCS Elementary Math and Science Coordinator Heather Greer, and Westside Elementary Teacher Sharon Staudt.

Teachers from Isle of Wight County Schools this summer joined an initiative designed to change how science is taught across Virginia.

Paula Collet, Ellen Peterson, Sharon Staudt and DeNay Smith from Westside Elementary began a year-long program with the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement, which kicked off with an intensive, four-week Elementary Science Institute at the College of William & Mary.

Funded by a $34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the program applies the principles of hands-on science, student-centered inquiry, the nature of science and problem-based learning.

The goal is to shift science instruction from the traditional teacher-led classroom to examining “real world” problems and thinking like scientists to find solutions.

The program aims to improve student learning by offering teachers free professional learning opportunities, free personalized coaching and mentoring, a $5,000 stipend, $1,000 for classroom supplies, a trip to the Virginia Association of Science Teachers Professional Development Institute, and a diverse community of practice to support them throughout the school year.