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TSAI 5-Day Leadership Institutes

Program of Institutes. The program of the 5-Day Regional Leadership Institutes is modeled to a large extent on the National Elementary Science Leadership Institutes staged by the National Science Resources Center every year since 1989. The program covers national goals for science education, the National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy , exemplary curriculum materials, the challenges of good professional development, performance-based assessment, and the dynamics of educational change.

In addition, each team is asked to develop a strategic plan for introducing systemic reform into their district, including a tentative budget.

To help each team in its planning, the institute staff includes a resource team of 18-20 persons divided into about six clusters. Each cluster is headed by a nationally known figure in science-education reform and one or two knowledgeable educators from the region. By their participation in the clusters, the educators are being prepared to provide follow-up support in their own region.

Expected Consequences. Upon completion of a strategic plan for systemic reform, leadership teams are expected immediately to

  • begin building support for the plan among their local faculty, school administration, and community
  • make modifications based on additional consultation
  • begin implementing the first phase of the plan

When a team represents a consortium of school districts rather than a single school district, its plan may include holding a consortium leadership institute, for which the institute's local resource team members can serve as leaders. The local members of the institute's resource team are available to help, as are other teams in the region.

Follow-Up Activities. During the year following the original Institute, TSAI personnel maintain contact with the participating school districts and lend technical support. This support may include recruitment of scientist teams to attend an annual 5-Day Lead-Scientist Institute in Washington or a 1-Day Scientist Workshop and 1/2 Day Community Workshops

At some point during the academic year following the original Institute, TSAI may organize a one-day meeting in the region where the teams can re-establish their connections and report their successes, their failures and frustrations, and the involvement of scientists in their programs.

Participating Teams and Their Recruitment. The leadership teams are chosen competitively by application. Typically, a leadership team from a school district consists of five or six persons from the district: a superintendent or assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction; a coordinator or supervisor for elementary-school science; an elementary school principal; one or two outstanding elementary school teachers; and one or two scientists (or engineers or other technical professionals) from technology companies or academic or government laboratories in the area. These scientists are committed to becoming lead scientists in their local school district's systemic reform program.

A team from a consortium of school districts may have as many as eight persons, including one or two leaders of the consortium, key people from several of the school districts, and at least one scientist. The specific structure of a consortium team reflects the size and history of the consortium and the much greater challenge of achieving systemic reform throughout a group of different school districts.

Choice of Region and Site. The regions and specific sites for the institute must have the following:

  • a significant number of school districts that are ready to commit to systemic reform
  • at least one school district with a program of reform, including a materials support center, that is already well under way
  • a group of people (e.g. key personnel from a National Science Foundation-funded Statewide Systemic Initiative) who know the landscape of science education reform in the area and are prepared to collaborate with the TSAI in operating the institute

Cost. The American Physical Society picks up all costs for participating teams, including travel, lodging, and all meals. The school districts or other institutions involved provide release time for the participants.

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