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Contact Information for the RISE program

Project RE-SEED: Retiree Recruitment, Training, and Placement

Recruitment. Initially, retirees were recruited through their Northeastern connections -- especially as alumni -- producing a cadre that was largely engineers. Now, recruitment (and the group of Science Resource Agents [SRAs]) is more diverse; also involved are research, development, and academic organizations in the area. Media publicity helps, as well as word of mouth.

Training. RE-SEED trains its retirees to be SRAs for 12 full days (one day a week for 12 weeks) , using specially developed materials that focus on 13 areas of physical and earth science. Roughly 5-10 retirees are trained at one time and at 16 local sites: 10 in Massachusetts (Arlington, Barnstable, Boston, Fall River, Lowell, Pittsfield, Reading, Springfield, Woburn, Worcester); 1 in Rhode Island (Providence); 3 in Maine (Brunswick, Gorham, Kennebunk); and 2 in New Hampshire (Nashua, Portsmouth).

Trainers. The trainers have been Dr. Zahopoulos, Dr. Cromer, or teams of two RE-SEED Leaders, SRAs who have received 10 days of additional training. [Detail: RE-SEED Leaders]

Training Content. During training, the retirees perform the activities in a Sourcebook [Detail: Instructional Materials], role-play as students, and may choose to watch any of the 17 hour-long videos of exemplary teaching of the materials in the Sourcebook. They also discuss the age-appropriateness of their activities and how to resist the temptation to provide direct answers to student questions. In addition, they devote special attention to many other pedagogical issues with which middle-school science teachers are already familiar.

School Placement. The retirees choose the geographic area in which they wish to volunteer. Usually, this is in an area not too far from their homes. Often, retirees choose to volunteer in schools with many students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Some retirees volunteer for two days a week, one in their own community and one in a less advantaged community. Sites where one or more SRA have worked or are working include the following:

In Maine (24): Auburn, Bath, Berwick, Bridgton, Brunswick, Buxton, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Freeport, Gorham, Harpswell, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard, Phippsburg, Portland, Saco, Sanford, South Portland, Surry, Wells, Westbrook, Woolrich, and York.

In Massachusetts (47): Adams, Andover, Arlington, Ashland, Barnstable, Bolton, Boston (Charlestown), Boston (Dorchester), Boston (Roxbury), Brockton, Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Dalton, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Haverhill, Lee, Lexington, Lowell, Marlborough, Mattapoisett, Newton, Norwell, Orleans, Pittsfield, Quincy, Reading, Richmond, Sandwich, Shrewsbury, South Lawrence, Springfield, Stockbridge, Stoneham, Sudbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Walpole, Watertown, Westport, Weymouth, Williamstown, Wilmington, Winchester, and Woburn.

In New Hampshire (7): Dover, Durham, Greenland, Nashua, Newmarket, Portsmouth, and Somersworth.

In Rhode Island (2): Newport and Providence

In Vermont (1): Wilmington

Placement with Teacher and Support of SRA. RE-SEED staff make this decision after meeting with teachers and SRAs. Then staff introduces the partners. Staff has found that support of the SRA is very important for retention of volunteers. Specifically

  • RE-SEED tries to make sure its SRAs are in an environment where they are supportd by the school administration. Teachers must also welcome the SRAs. In choosing schools for placement, staff considers the levels of support among both teachers and administrators.
  • SRAs are put in contact with other SRAs in their volunteer school district.
  • RE-SEED leaders conduct two follow-up meetings with the volunteers after their training. An annual conference is also held for all volunteers. These are opportunities for retirees to share experiences and to work out any unforeseen problems with the placement.
  • An annual survey of the volunteers is conducted to find out if new placements are needed. If an SRA needs a new placement, RE-SEED tries to find one.

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