March 3, 2002

"SEEDS Receives Local Recoginition" Canton, Ohio

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

At it’s February meeting, the Board of Directors of the Stark Education Partnership recognized Dr. Jane Hazen Dessecker, Director, Instructional Services at the Stark County Educational Service Center for her efforts in raising student achievement in Stark County. Judge W. Don Reader, Board Chair, presented a plaque to Dr. Dessecker "In thanks and appreciation for your outstanding work in guiding the design and implementation of the SEEDS project." Dr. Dessecker accepted the award "With thanks on behalf of the over 1,000 elementary teachers in Stark County who have participated in the SEEDS project over the years." Mr. Larry Morgan, County Superintendent thanked Dr. Dessecker for her "untiring efforts to improve science education throughout Stark County."

The beginning of science reform in Stark County can be traced back to a landmark document, A Nation at Risk, in 1983. In 1984, County Superintendent Dr. Sims charged the math and science consultants to improve the science and math programs for the county. An initial project, PRISM (Project to Redesign the Instruction of Science and Math) began and was the precursor to many of the accomplishments achieved in science today. Led by Dr. Dessecker, a group of science teacher-leaders: David Lewis, Perry Local; Connie Hubbard and Teresa Purses, Minerva Local; Carol Walker and David Miller, Jackson Local; and Nancy Baker-Cazan, Tuslaw Local; helped develop a multi-year improvement plan. Many in-services were held, technology was implemented, but probably the most significant impact was the growth of teacher-leaders and the beginning of networking between teachers across district boundaries.

In 1989, another significant aspect of science reform occurred. The Education Enhancement Partnership (TEEP) (now the Stark Education Partnership) was formed by local foundations to provide funds for schools to improve. One of the ten councils formed was the Science and Math Council. Under Dr. Dessecker’s continuing guidance, some of the original teacher-leaders were involved as well as some new ones; Nancy Varian, Osnaburg Local; Richard Dinko, Central Catholic, Bill Reitz, North Canton; and Sue Boon, Louisville. A proposal was developed and submitted to TEEP for $500,000 to implement a hands-on, minds-on science program, SEEDS, Science Education Enhancing the Development of Skills, in 1992. During the early days of implementing the SEEDS program, the project leaders soon realized the need for more funds and far more professional development. A group of teacher leaders developed a proposal to the National Science Foundation which resulted in a grant received in 1995 for three million dollars over five years. SEEDS was one of only eight projects funded by the NSF in the first year of awarding local systemic change grants in science. With the addition of elementary classroom teacher, Mike Daulbaugh (Alliance City), the Program Management Team was completed to guide the grant activities and evaluation.

Over the years, elementary teachers who participated in the professional development opportunities offered by SEEDS have commented on the impact that SEEDS has had on their professional careers. Sue Oryszak of North Canton, Canton Chamber Teacher of the Year in 2000, wrote it was amazing to hear that four of the five finalists for Teacher of the Year spoke of their involvement in SEEDS. Sue added, "I was so interested to learn how involved each finalist was with some form of the SEEDS program. It hit me how much of an effect on science education it has had. I think it has been the most effective change I can think of."

Dr. Dessecker said that "The curriculum model designed by the teachers for the SEEDS program is now being expanded for use in other disciplines such as math, language arts and social studies. Teacher-leaders are being identified and trained and new professional development programs are being put in place to train teachers in new ways to present these topics."

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