Project RE-SEED: Retiree Recruitment, Training, and
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
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
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
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