Goals. The primary goal of the CAPSI/Pasadena
collaborative is to provide materials and methods for
improving science education that can be applied across
the nation. In furthering this goal, the collaborative
supports a number of coordinated reform efforts that
focus on encouraging inquiry and discovery in the
learning process, on promoting the active participation
of underrepresented student populations, on fostering
cooperation between scientists and educators, and on
encouraging teachers to participate fully in the process
of science education reform.
Scope. Systemic reform has been achieved in the
22 elementary schools of the Pasadena Unified School
District (PUSD). Aspects of the CAPSI/ Pasadena effort
have served as models for a number of school districts in
other parts of the country. The entire reform program is
now acting as a formal model for achieving reform in 12
other school districts in California, and CAPSI
collaborates closely with these districts. Also, another
collaboration has resulted in the creation of four
inservice teacher education modules and two preservice
modules. All of these modules focus on science content.
Finally, a close collaboration between Pasadena teachers
and Caltech scientists is developing hands-on,
inquiry-centered instructional materials at the
middle-and high-school levels.
The Pasadena Program as Both Experience and Model. The
Pasadena Elementary Science Program was CAPSI/Pasadena's
first program. It was originally dubbed Project SEED
(Science for Early Educational Development). It can be
viewed not only as a successful example of systemic
reform but also as a model for reform elsewhere.
Lead teachers and resource teachers are
critical to progress from the very beginning. In
CAPSI/Pasadena, lead teachers are drawn from the ranks of
master teachers. They are those with talent and
experience teaching inquiry science who receive
additional training and then facilitate the training of
other teachers. Resource teachers are specially
selected--drawn in part from the ranks of master
teachers--and they serve as full-time mentors, visiting
classroom teachers as often as once a week and offering
them various types of support.
Phasing-in Strategy. After
developing the Pasadena Elementary Science Program, CAPSI
has gone on to use it as a model for systemic reform that
starts with the conversion of a single class in each
grade of a single pilot school to hands-on,
inquiry-oriented science. From there, all classes in the
school are converted, then the whole process begins at
other pilot schools and so on until all of the elementary
schools in the district have changed their program.
Leadership Roles. In
the CAPSI/Pasadena model, a leadership team plays
important roles not only in supporting reform in the
pilot school but in laying the basis for successful
district-wide expansion. The leadership team consists of
a leading school-district administrator, the principal of
the pilot school, a lead collaborative scientist, a
pilot-school coordinator, and a master teacher, who is
very experienced in hands-on, inquiry-centered science
teaching who can serve as a resource teacher to train the
pilot school coordinators. Another member of the team
could be a liaison to a supporting district with a model
Roles of Scientists in CAPSI/Pasadena. Scientists have played a
number of important roles in the CAPSI/Pasadena program.
CAPSI's Instructional Materials
CAPSI/Pasadena has taken great care in its selection of
materials to be used in the classroom.
The CAPSI model for training teachers has developed over
time in the pilot schools of Pasadena.
Support Center. A science materials
support center is essential for the survival of a
kit-based program because it frees teachers of all
responsibility for maintaining kits and greatly reduces
the cost of the program by ensuring efficient kit use and
cost-effective maintenance and refurbishment. CAPSI has
found that the size and very nature of the center changes
as the number of schools involved changes, from one pilot
school to the whole district.
The Center Project--
Dissemination of the CAPSI/Pasadena Model. To
disseminate the CAPSI/Pasadena model, the NSF has funded
the Pasadena Center for Innovative Elementary Science
Education (The Center Project). This center is helping to
achieve systemic reform in 12 urban schools districts in
California by using the CAPSI/Pasadena experience as a
model and by using personnel from CAPSI/Pasadena to guide
and support the development of local leadership teams and
the implementation of a reform program within pilot
schools in each district.
Other Initiatives. CAPSI/Pasadena
has started a number of other programs that team teachers
and scientists to study pedagogy and assessment, to
develop teacher-education modules intended to help
teachers deepen their understanding of science and
science process, and to develop hands-on,
inquiry-centered instructional materials for the middle-
and high-school levels.
Organizational Information and Contacts. Basic
organizational and contact information about the
CAPSI/Pasadena collaborative can be obtained here.