The teacher training I described in my article today is not the only way more science expertise can find its way to the elementary classroom educators. Here are some other avenues:
- Del Mar elementary schools largely outsource science to specialists who teach separate classes. Students leave their regular classrooms to rotate into the classes in science, art, music and technology. The program costs more than $1.5 million annually for a school system of fewer than 4,200 children.
- Another program matched teachers with graduate students in the sciences who mentored them. Rick Beach, president of the San Diego Science Alliance, said student achievement rose under the program. But funding is spotty, reliant on grants that come and go, and its biggest funding source dried up a few years ago.
- Several biotech companies have programs that put scientists directly in the classroom to teach classes. BIOCOM, the biotech industry organization, runs a Science Education Speakers Bureau that does just that.
- Cristina Trecha, who runs the Fleet Center program we described in our article, is also partnering with Mesa College to require elementary teachers-in-training to come to Fleet.
But the problem persists on a systematic level, Beach said. “How do we deal with 6,000 elementary school teachers that could benefit from this kind of intervention?” he asked.