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K-State Today

June 17, 2013



Staples receives $260,050 STEM grant from Kansas Board of Regents

By Patrice Scott

Kimberly Staples, associate professor of science education in the department of curriculum and instruction, received a $260,050 grant from the Kansas Board of Regents for her proposal "Advancing 6-12 Science Achievement: SHIFTS in Next Generation Science Teacher Professional Development."

"SHIFTS" is an acronym for Project SHIFTS, which consists of Science Learning Communities, Higher-Level Reasoning, Integrated Content, Future STEM Careers, Technology-Rich Instruction and Assessments, and Standards-Based Curriculum.

Staples said that middle and high school science teachers in Junction City and Kansas City, Kan., representing USD 475, USD 500 and private schools, will receive ongoing professional development with the goal of advancing student achievement through scientific research and collaboration.

In total, this project will impact 2,500 students from diverse populations, increasing the number of students who may demonstrate an interest in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.

Staples explained science learning communities — consisting of science teachers, principals, special education teachers and paraprofessionals — will be established to increase middle and secondary student science mastery and increase students' abilities to engage in higher-level reasoning of abstract science phenomena.

To accomplish this goal, Project SHIFTS is designed to prepare teachers to transition to content integrative, research-based instruction. Staples said Common Core Standards for literacy in science and Next Generation Science Standards, or NGSS, are foundational to each component of the model.

She is especially excited that each teacher will experience and receive current technologies to implement research-based instruction in the classroom.

"Being able to provide diverse pathways for all students to participate in science as a human endeavor creates the type of systemic change we need in science teaching and learning," Staples said.