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Scientists to Provide Professional Development for Teachers

07/01/09 Portland, Ore. Peterson examines an algal cultureTawnya Peterson examines an algal culture in her lab at Oregon Health & Science University.

Tawnya Peterson, Ph.D., an assistant professor with the Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction (CMOP), recently said she only had a “learners permit” to speak about K-12 education programs. Yet a recent $900,000 math and science grant will move her to the head of the class in helping enhance ocean and aquatic science teaching in rural communities on the Central Oregon Coast.

The Oregon Department of Education has awarded a Title IIB Math and Science Partnership (MSP) Grant to the Oregon Coast Aquatic and Marine Science Partnership (OCAMP), a collaborative program composed of eight academic, non-profit and government science institutions, including CMOP.

The MSP research grant will provide $900,000 over three years to OCAMP to enhance the science teaching, learning and achievement of Lincoln County School District (LCSD) teachers and students.

“This is a great opportunity to translate some of the cutting-edge research going on within CMOP and the OCAMP partner institutions to learning communities within the state of Oregon,” Peterson said. “We hope that by concentrating on locally relevant issues surrounding the marine environment, teachers and their students will be engaged in inquiry-based learning both within and outside of the classroom.”

The MSP program will fund professional development for three years for 36 LCSD teachers through summer seminars, workshops and school year colloquia. Eighteen of these teachers will engage in a professional learning community (PLC) built on lesson study, action research, and mentored field experiences. Scientists and informal science educators will provide ongoing classroom, field and PLC support.

“This program allows OCAMP partners to demonstrate innovative ways to address the needs of students in the fields of math and science,” said Karen Wegner, CMOP’s director of K-12 education and contributor to the grant proposal. “We are excited to provide teachers with quality professional development that can be taken back to the classroom. “

Teachers will apply to participate in the program, which will begin in August. Selected teachers will receive a stipend, funding for science materials, bus transportation and admission costs for field trips as well as college credit.

“Our aim is not only to enhance the knowledge base of science teachers, but to provide them with opportunities to participate in research and professional development so that their interests are re-invigorated,” Peterson said.

Written by Jeff Schilling

## OCAMP partners are Oregon State University’s Departments of Science Education and Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon Health and Science University’s Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Hatchery Research Center, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.