July 16, 2001

"$56,000 Goes to Science Materials Center" Canton, Ohio

From: Stark Education Partnership
Contact: Jean Wales, Communications/Operations Manager
Phone: (330) 452-0829
Fax: (330) 452-2009

The Board of the Stark Education Partnership has approved a $56,000 grant to the Stark County Education Service Center for investigating the feasibility of developing a science materials center for Stark County. The center would provide science materials to classroom teachers in grades kindergarten through twelve. It would additionally provide for teacher training in the use of the materials. It would build on the foundation in science reform developed in Stark County over the last ten years achieved through school districts working together with the community.
The center would play a key role in continuing the gains that Stark County has experienced in the science portion of the fourth and sixth grade proficiency tests. "Few people realize that test scores in science have consistently risen year after year for both fourth and sixth grade," said Dr. Joseph Rochford, acting Director of the Stark Education Partnership. "Fewer yet realize that our children have consistently outscored the state average."
Key to the county test scores has been the presence of SEEDS (Science Education Enhancing the Development of Skills), a local systemic change initiative for science grades K-6. SEEDS is a unique collaboration between sixteen school districts, three private schools, the Stark County Educational Service Center, Ashland University, and the Stark Education Partnership. In 1995, the SEEDS Project garnished the largest local systemic science grant, $3 million, ever given by the National Science Foundation in the state of Ohio. The project was awarded an Ohio's BEST Practice award in 1997, as one of the state's exemplary education programs. In 1999, an additional one million dollars was received from the National Science Foundation for a second grant, SATURN, for science reform in grades 7-12.

The Stark County science materials center would expand on the foundation of SEEDS, SATURN, and another existing program, SAMM (Science and Math on the Move) which delivers high-tech equipment, portable planetariums, and GLOBE environmental monitoring equipment to county middle and high schools. All three initiatives have been supported by the local school districts, the Stark Education Partnership, and area foundations.

Jane Hazen Dessecker, Director of Instructional Services, at the Stark County Educational Service Center, and the director of the SEEDS project states, "Nationwide school districts with exemplary science programs that have been in operation for twenty or more years attribute their success to having science materials centers." Last year grant funds were used to visit five national centers in Phoenix, Mesa, Seattle, Anchorage, and Pittsburgh. The grant funds this year will enable more research to be completed on the feasibility of a center for Stark County. Of primary concern is finding a suitable building and its subsequent added cost to the project. A warehouse of approximately 14,000 square feet is needed with dock loading capabilities. Separate rooms for training in the warehouse would also be important. Anyone with knowledge of available facilities in Canton is asked to please call Jane Dessecker at the Stark County Educational Service Center at 330-492-8136.

Stark Education Partnership
220 Market Avenue South, Suite 350
Canton, Ohio 44702-2171
Phone: (330) 452-0829
Fax: (330) 452-2009