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Strengthening Innovation

posted Jul 7, 2014, 10:28 AM by Cleveland County Schools   [ updated Jul 18, 2014, 1:05 PM ]
Over 150 North Carolina educators converged at Shelby Middle School to take part in a week-long professional development workshop conducted by Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC), in partnership with the N.C. Science, Math, and Technology (SMT) Education Center.

The teachers spent the week of June 16-20 strengthening their science content knowledge and learning about the grade-specific science unit they will teach next year.  

Supported by a 5-year Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, educators in grades one through five explored hands-on, inquiry-based science subject matter ranging from the life cycle of butterflies to weather to electric circuits. 

The STC curriculum provides an opportunity for students to think like scientists by having them make hypotheses, manipulate materials, and conduct experiments with their peers.

Participating North Carolina counties include Cleveland, Greene, Johnston, McDowell, Moore, Warren, and Wilson.  Educators from Casar Elementary, Kings Mountain Middle, Marion Intermediate, Shelby Middle, Springmore Elementary, Township Three Elementary, Union Elementary, and Washington Elementary schools attended the training sessions on behalf of Cleveland County Schools.

“The LASER i3 program has brought lots of strong professional development to Cleveland County Schools’ teachers in the area science,” said Donna Ketron, CCS Director of Elementary Education.  “Our teachers have been dedicated to attending the training for the past several summers.”


About the Program
In 2010, the SSEC received a five-year Investing in Innovation (i3) validation grant from the U.S. Department of Education. With over $33 million from public and private funders, the SSEC is validating its LASER model for science education reform in three diverse regions: northern New Mexico, North Carolina, and Houston, Texas.

Over the five years of the program, the SSEC’s LASER i3 project – with regional support from the SMT Center – will have provided 42 North Carolina schools with high quality professional development, science instructional materials and support, and leadership development opportunities.

Major components of i3 LASER include (1) a research-based curriculum; (2) materials support for accompanying science kits; (3) differentiated teacher professional development for effective learning and teaching of the curriculum; (4) strategic planning and leadership development and (5) ongoing community collaboration with business, government leaders and parent organizations.