During the 2011 Summer Institute, GK-12 Science First! External Evaluator, Dr. Deb Hemler, Professor of Geoscience Education at Fairmont State University, summarized the progress made by our program. Click here for presentation.
In 2013, Co-PI, Sharon Pickering, earned an EdD in Educational Leadership. Her dissertation, "National Science Foundation Grant Implementation: Perceptions of Teachers and Graduate Fellows in One School Regarding the Barriers and Successes," can be accessed at the link below.
Summary: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the perceptions of partner teachers and graduate fellows in 1 school regarding the barriers and successes made during their participation in a National Science Foundation Grant. This study included 9 partner teachers and 7 graduate fellows who participated in the Science First! NSF GK-12 Grant. There were 16 participants in this study. This study was conducted at North Side Elementary and East Tennessee State University. Partner teachers and graduate fellows were interviewed to gain perceptions of the barriers and successes of their participation in the implementation of the Science First! grant at North Side and East Tennessee State University from 2008-2013. A list of possible participants in the study was provided from the grant leadership team. The 16 participants in the study were chosen through purposeful sampling. During data analysis, 4 themes arose as successes and 4 themes arose as barriers. The success themes were (a) relationships, (b) mutual appreciation, (c) increased academic depth, and (d) professional growth. The barriers were (a) communication, (b) time, (c) expectations, and (d) preparation. Based on the research, the following conclusions were presented. The coordination of a major NSF-GK12 grant can provide STEM support and academic rigor for a high poverty school with leadership. Positive relationships between the graduate fellows and partner teachers as well as the 2 participating institutions are critical in fostering successful grant implementation. Professional growth through the grant partnerships was obtained. The participants gained a mutual appreciation for the roles and responsibilities of each other. There are ups and downs in implementing a large grant at 1 elementary school with a university, but the rewards of the potential to influence teacher practices in STEM and student learning are great. Recommendations from the study findings may assist future grant award winners or partnerships of any kind in building productive relationships between schools and other institutions.
Click here to access an electronic version from the Sherrod Library.