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Principal’s Toolkit: Science Strand

Course Description

Students often love science; – the wonder, the experimentation, the chance to ask and answer some very interesting questions. That being said, we recognize that quality science instruction is complex and requires content understanding, the ability to facilitate inquiry, a culture that nurtures thinking scientifically, appropriate resources, and dedicated instructional time. With a sharply increased focus on our environment and the global climate crisis it is more critical than ever that we provide students with the skills and understanding necessary to make informed and responsible decisions asstewards of the planet.

Course Goals/Objectives:

But what does sound science practice look like and how can we support it in our schools?

In this three part series we will work to broaden the expertise and skills needed to bring an exemplary inquiry science program to our schools. We will explore models for effective science instruction and experience inquiry as adult learners. Examplary science curricula and well-developed science units will be examined and a process for looking at your own district curricula will be used. We will experience and review various types of science assessments including the science NECAP data and discuss how that large scale assessment provides valuable information that can help you improve your overall science program. We will also examine a framework for classroom observations to help you make informed observations and provide specific and constructive feedback to classroom teachers.

About the Instructor

Renee Affolter has worked for the Vermont Science Initiative since 2003 as a mentor to teachers throughout the state. She has been able to apply her Masters in Science Education from UC Berkeley and her high school and middle school teaching experience to helping teachers improve science instruction in their classrooms. Renee is also responsible for teaching Best Practice in Science Education, Action Research, and Science Assessment courses for VSI. Most recently, Renee worked as a facilitator for Burlington’s district wide professional development in science and is providing training at Union Elementary School in Montpelier.