Three-Year Program Promises To Improve Science Teaching In NJ Public Schools

UNION COUNTY – The Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) announced Monday that it has launched The Academy for Leadership in Science Instruction, a new three-year program to improve science instructional practice within public schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The academy is the latest initiative in MISE’s 15 years of work to help achieve the nation’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education objectives and make a lasting difference in education reform.

“The Academy for Leadership in Science Instruction offers educators a unique experience to come together to build a vision of effective science instruction in our public schools,” said Dr. Carlo Parravano, executive director, MISE.

“Participants will bring back to their schools this fall new experiences and professional relationships that will help improve their teaching of science and that can help improve student performance. Strong science education in our schools is essential for the economic development and well-being of our communities. MISE is proud to have an opportunity to collaborate with such a committed team of educators during the inaugural launch of the academy.”

Nearly 120 teachers and principals from 22 schools within the school districts of Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Rahway and Readington Township, and North Penn, Pennsylvania, will participate in the program, which begins this week with the first annual five-day residential academy. Over three consecutive years, academy participants will also attend two full-day academic-year sessions, four quarterly two-hour team meetings throughout the academic year, and two outreach experiences to engage colleagues in providing effective science instruction.

The academy will provide opportunities for educators to deepen their knowledge and develop effective leadership skills to improve science instructional practice, science curriculum and science assessment in their schools.

The academy is a natural next step for MISE and is an outgrowth of the work the Institute is already doing in developing professional learning communities in and among schools and districts. Throughout the past 15 years, MISE has developed a partnership with the six districts that are participating in the Academy primarily around professional development and improving student achievement in science.

“Our district is fortunate to have been a member of this partnership for so long,” said Caroline Crew, coordinator of Elementary Science and Mathematics for the North Penn School District. “So many of our teachers, and therefore our students, have benefited from the high-quality professional development to which we have access as a result of the partnership. It was not difficult to recruit team members for this year’s group as teachers and administrators recognize the quality of the professional development and how it will support improved science instruction in their schools and district. We are looking forward to all of our schools participating in the academy over the coming years.”

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