A dozen teachers from Toledo Public Schools and school districts in Monroe County, Michigan, will hit the books this summer to study the latest in alternative energy and learn creative ways to teach their students about the industry.
The teachers who are the second cohort to participate in the federally funded research program Leadership for Educators: Academy for Driving Economic Revitalization in Science, or LEADERS, were announced at a recognition event May 3.
The goal of the LEADERS partnership, which is funded by a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, is to improve K-12 science education with hands-on or project-based science linked to alternative energy and the environment.
“Project-based science makes the learning relevant and interesting to students by giving them hands-on opportunities to answer questions about the world around them,” said Dr. Charlene Czerniak, UT professor of curriculum and instruction, and a co-investigator on the grant. “The LEADERS Program provides teachers with the most updated information and learning techniques to engage students and prepare them to be the innovators of the future.”
The teachers will begin courses in physics, chemistry, environmental science, engineering and education June 11 at UT. Upon returning to their districts, the participants will be teacher leaders who work with their colleagues so the whole district benefits.
“This program enables our teachers to expand their science content knowledge and leadership skills,” said Robert Mendenhall, curriculum director for Toledo Public Schools and a co-investigator on the project. “The professional development delivered by our LEADERS teachers will help prepare our staff and students to meet the rigorous demands in Ohio’s newly adopted College and Career Ready Standards.”
“Science plays an essential role in education and in our economic success as a region, a state and a nation,” said Dr. Donald A. Spencer, superintendent of the Monroe County Intermediate School District. “We are proud that nine educators from six different local school districts in Monroe County have volunteered and been accepted as part of the cohort. Their commitment to learning all that they can to improve opportunities for students is a testament to their dedication to their profession. They will work together to renew our Great Lakes region and to enrich the experiences they offer to their students.”
The participants will take three summers of courses through the program and upon completion will receive a master’s degree. A first cohort of teachers from Toledo Public Schools and the Catholic Diocese of Toledo began their training in 2010.
It’s estimated that by its conclusion, 86,000 K-12 students will benefit from the LEADERS Program.