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SciTEC provides professional development for Louisiana teachers

The Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC) in the College of Education at Louisiana Tech University had the privilege this summer of serving as a state-recognized provider of professional development for teachers of science statewide.

Through the S4 Teacher Institutes, educators from across the state engaged in rich, rigorous and relevant science standards exploration of strategies and steps for implementation and delivery of integrated scientific content for grades k-12.

Teachers from across Louisiana gathered at Louisiana Tech’s SciTEC for professional development, science education exploration.

The S4 institute was designed by Cathi Cox-Boniol, director of Project ACHIEVE, with help from Missy Wooley from the Louisiana Department of Education. Additional team members and leaders from across the state included Brian Fontenot, Kyle Duhon, Jean May-Brett, Jessica Rivero, Emily Swenson, Jodi Sanchez ,Suzanne Prince, Rhonda Matthews and Heather Howe.

“As chair for the state’s development of the new science standards, I knew early on that these powerful three-dimensional standards had the potential to truly transform teaching and learning in the classrooms across our state,” Cox-Boniol said. “However, I also recognized that because the new standards were completely different from anything our science teachers had been working with it would be essential that we spend adequate time providing them with quality professional development that would both equip and empower them to successfully implement them.

“That was the premise for the development of our S4 Institute which provided four days of intensely specific yet highly engaging training designed to help teachers unpack and understand the new standards.”

Cox-Boniol said the S4 Institute started with a broad stroke that allowed each participant to completely dissect a standard before actually taking a deep dive into each component of the new three-dimensional format including science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. As the institute progressed, teachers applied what they learned to a lesson in action, worked collaboratively to create a crosswalk that showed the difference in the content associated with the Grade Level Expectations as compared to the new standards. They discussed instructional shifts, studied phenomena, worked on bundling the standards, engaged in engineering design, and ultimately developed a scope and sequence for the upcoming year.

“It was thrilling to see them start as apprehensive and even confused about the new standards then leave us confident and celebrating the shift that they could see coming for their students,” said Cox-Boniol. “Their feedback proved that not only were we on the right track in developing the new standards, but we were definitely providing the support they needed in order to embrace the change and then make it a reality in their classroom.”

Sessions were held statewide this spring at the LADOE Teacher Leader Summit and again in June and July. Meetings were held at Louisiana Tech in the College of Education, Ouachita Parish School Board, Plaquemine Parish School Board, Sabine Parish School Board and virtually through an online Moodle class. Additional sections of the course will be offered in the fall through Louisiana Tech’s Office of Professional Education Outreach in the College of Education.

“We at SciTEC have had the privilege of collaborating with Mrs. Cox-Boniol and Mrs. Wooley on numerous educational efforts through the years,” said Dr. Lindsey Keith-Vincent, director of SciTEC. “It was only fitting that they help lead this transformational educational efforts and assist with equipping Louisiana science teachers with the information necessary to implement the standards successfully.

“We were honored that they had interest in working in concert with SciTEC to create and provide a solution for educators during this transitional period.”

Written by T. Scott Boatright – boat@latech.edu