The Anatomy of a Successful School Partnership

For the past nearly three years, Teton Science Schools has been working closely with the community of Saratoga and Carbon County School District #2 to improve science education in a place-based way across the district. During that time, we have made three visits to the district for outreach programs taught by graduate students (and the fourth will take place next week). Teton Science Schools’ instructors have taught a summer science enrichment program for 30 elementary students in the summer 2011, and we have plans in the works for a program during the summer of 2012 as well.

In addition, seven of nine Saratoga Elementary School teachers plus the principal (so eight total staff members) have attended teacher workshops at Teton Science Schools. In addition, I have done a place-based, science education training for all of the elementary teachers in Carbon County School District #2.

Teton Science Schools has also been working closely with Carbon #2 and the University of Wyoming in creating an elementary science education scoop and sequence, identifying appropriate science curriculum, and working collaboratively to prepare for the transition to new science standards (Next Generation Science Standards) over the upcoming school years.

Throughout all this partnership, Teton Science Schools has found that having a consistent and persistent presence in this district has been a key to the success of the partnership. The district leadership is incredibly supportive of increasing place-based, science education in the elementary schools, and they have empowered the teachers to find the value in these ideas for themselves. The students are getting the benefits of passionate, excited teachers every day and the extra support of having regular visits from Teton Science Schools’ instructors.

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