Planting the SEEDS of Science Thinking and Learning: Sustaining Our Investment
Twenty-five years ago, the commitment to improving math and science began collectively in Stark County. The Stark Education Partnership established working councils to identify strategies that would improve math and science outcomes. Led by Dr. Jane Hazen Dessecker, Science Consultant from the Stark County Educational Service Center, the science council brought together Stark's top educators and business leaders who identified a top priority for the county - the development of hands-on elementary science.
In 1994, Dr. Dessecker, along with a small team of educators and in-kind support from the Partnership, successfully obtained a $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. That grant - SEEDS (Science Education Enhancing the Development of Skills) - supported professional development for 1,000 elementary teachers impacting 30,000 students; was the largest local systemic initiative grant ever awarded in Ohio; won an Ohio BEST practices award in 1997; and was recognized nationally by the National Education Association and the National Staff Development Council.
Further, to ensure sustainability, Dr. Dessecker and her team visited science and math material management centers across the nation, then designed Stark's own award winning center. Today, the Bill Mease Center for Science and Mathematics is located at the R.G. Drage Career Technical Center
and is one of the first multi-district science and math education support facilities in the country. Its consultants, Dale Gallucci and David Miller, provide professional development for teachers, replenish and house science materials, support ordering and management of living organisms, and facilitate joint district purchases. By making high-end equipment available, the Center is able to provide districts access to technology that all schools need but few can afford.
Next week's Issues will feature the Science and Math on the Move (SAMM) component of the center.