Elementary teachers and middle/high school science teachers in southwest Virginia can now enroll in free professional development programs at Virginia Tech, which is partnering with the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) as an implementation site.
The VISTA Elementary Science Institute, which serves teachers in grades 4-6, will begin at Virginia Tech in June of 2013. This four-week program focuses on increasing elementary teachers' knowledge of science and improving their ability to teach science. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28.
Virginia Tech will also deliver the Secondary Teacher Program starting in August 2013, which provides two graduate-level courses for middle and high school science teachers with zero to one years of experience. These courses are presented over a two-year period in the fall semesters. Applications for this program will be accepted through late summer.
Participants in both programs receive individualized coaching from master teachers throughout the year, stipends from $2,000 to $5,000, paid travel expenses, and $1,000 for classroom science supplies.
John Wells, associate professor in the School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the graduate program leader of Virginia Tech’s Integrative STEM Education, will serve as on-site principal investigator and oversee the VISTA program in Blacksburg. Amy Bordeaux will lead delivery of the two programs at Virginia Tech. Bordeaux started her career as a middle school science teacher at James Madison Middle School in Roanoke City Public Schools, taught science methods courses in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University, and has been involved in recruiting and coaching for VISTA.
Virginia Tech has been heading up rural recruitment since the initiative’s launch in 2010, and now joins lead institution George Mason University, the College of William & Mary, and Virginia Commonwealth as VISTA’s fourth implementation site. The Virginia Tech site will make participation in these professional development activities more feasible for elementary teachers and middle/high school science teachers in the southwest area of the state.
The Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) is a statewide partnership among 60+ Virginia school districts, six Virginia universities, and the Virginia Department of Education. Its goal is to translate research-based best teaching practices into improved science teaching and student learning for all students at all levels. The initiative, which is working to build a community of practice across the Commonwealth, is funded by a five-year, $34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Investing in Innovation program, which includes a $5.7 million private sector matching requirement.