on May 22, 2003
Your comments regarding the "legacies" in your district reminded me of
one of the "legacies" that the Earth System's Implementation Program
created in the Anchorage School District.
It was the first time that broad scale professional development
followed the implementation of new curriculum, and has changed the way
teachers, principals and the curricullum department believe curriculum
implementation SHOULD happen.
It was quickly recognized that long term, broad scale PD is essential
for successful implementation. The reality is that without the level
of funding that NSF was able to provide for professional development,
it isn't as likely to happen... But what we feel is important is the
capacity that Mark described in his opening remarks. It has left our
district with a vision of how curriculum implementation ought to be
done, and to what we would aspire if we had unlimited money. We also
know we have the capactiy to provide the training if the funding was to
In regards to what will happen with the science kits over time, that
does require the input of energy that someone mentioned in an earlier
post. In our district, we have been lucky to have several individuals
that have helped provide that energy and vision over the last 25 years.
Anchorage School District has reached a point where kit-based science
is part of our culture and rarely needs to be defended to the school
board and the community.
Once kit based science has become the culture and the distribution
center is in place, if a district can continue building support for
the program by maintaining visionary people, districts may find the
program is more sustainable than previously imagined. Yes, it was
ideal when we had money for professional development, but for over
three years now we have found ways to provide bare bones PD for
teachers using the kits for the first time, and have worked with
community scientists who are helping us provide credit classes in
science content. We were recently surprised with funding for new
positions, have successfully finished a curriculum review process
looking at what we adopted 8 years ago, and are looking ahead to
implementing many of the great ideas we learn from other districts in
forums like this.