Research and Development Design—A Hybrid Project to Develop and Assess Change in STEM Teacher Integration of Scientific Inquiry

Research and Development Design—A Hybrid Project to Develop and Assess Change in STEM Teacher Integration of Scientific Inquiry

United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This project narrative describes the proposed intervention and assessments of a hybrid online and face-to-face teacher development partnership effort between the Austin, Texas based non-profit organizations Changing Expectations Corp, the Harvest Foundation, and the STEM teachers of African-American and bilingual students in two urban, high-need school districts being recruited from central Texas. The overall goal of this proposed project is to design, develop, and pilot test a new online mentoring and assessment (e-Education) model that will build the capacity of districts to improve STEM teachers knowledge and skills in implementing, supporting, and adapting inquiry STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum enhancement activities.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In most major urban metropolitan areas, including Austin, Texas, many adolescent African-American males have tragically been relegated to a permanent underclass, surviving in a subculture of poverty, crime and drugs, and predatory, senseless street violence. African-American males have become social pariahs feared by some, totally ignored by others, and largely kept in the margins of American society. The causes of this national disgrace are complex and multi-dimensional. African-American youth have been Ill-served and literally betrayed by an inadequate and at times, dysfunctional, public education system. Too often, African-American children are born to and raised primarily by teenage girls after engaging in unprotected sex with teenage boys, neither of whom are financially, socially or emotionally equipped to bear the burdens of parenthood. As a result, children born to these circumstances, along with their teenage parents, get trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty, financial despair and economic stagnation. Tragically, American prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers are now home to millions of African-American males, many of whom have been incarcerated for preying upon and victimizing other African-American males. Wide spread urban gentrification and the reduction in housing discrimination has ironically fostered the mass exodus of millions of middle and upper class African-American professionals from inner city ghettos into new African-American professional enclaves in formerly all-White suburbs. This separation of suburban African-American professionals from African-Americans remaining in the inner city has arguably sharpened the class distinctions and increased the internal divisions within the African-American community. Worse, it has deprived millions of African-American youth with the opportunity to engage, be mentored by and interact with successful African-American men who once served as inspiring role models for achievement and success in the community. This separation of suburban African-American professionals from African-Americans remaining in the inner city has arguably sharpened the class distinctions and increased the internal divisions within the African-American community. Worse, it has deprived millions of African-American youth with the opportunity to engage, be mentored by and interact with successful African-American men who once served as inspiring role models for achievement and success in the community.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Uniqueness of this Model. Additional value that this proposed model for online and face-to-face support for STEM teachers presents include: • Utilizes Elluminate online technology to provide both synchronous and asynchronous capability integrated with Sakai online technology as the learning and assessment management system. Such technology will closely mirror face-to-face communication. • Provides a content-focused online mentor experience. Participating teachers will receive more individualized guidance for building capacity to improve teacher quality, to improve teacher practice, and to improve student achievement. • Uses forthcoming research and assessment results to develop a new model of online learning for improving STEM teacher knowledge and practice for teaching underserved students. • Will be aligned to iNACOL standards of the The International Association for K-12 Online Learning. • The proposal plans to further develop the only National Lab Day project in the Austin, Texas area that presents out-of-school STEM learning activities and events for African-American and bilingual students and to connect those activities to in-school formal STEM teaching.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Description of the Hybrid STEM Teacher Mentoring Program This proposed program emphasizes these key structural features of an effective mentoring program (Kepp and Mike, 2009). 1. The Setting and Participant Selection. The setting for the online mentoring project will take place entirely online in both synchronous and asynchronous activities, and the teachers will not need to meet face-to-face with mentors or with other teachers for the interactions. Up to 40 in year one and up to 50 in years two through five, STEM teachers and their African-American and bilingual Hispanic students recruited from central Texas will be the sole subjects in the cyberlearning/face-to-face and assessment project. The Austin ISD and Pflugerville ISD have an ongoing commitment to partner with the Harvest Foundation, and Changing Expectations will work with district central office staff partners to produce a shared understanding of partner expectations for this project. Since 31 teachers from across several states (including several from the Austin ISD in Texas and from Louisiana, New Mexico, Indiana, New York, and Washington, DC.) had previously committed to participate in the proposal, they will also be able to participate in this project. Additional STEM teachers affiliated with the City University of New York, the University of the District of Columbia, and the New Mexico State University partner sites will be recruited to join the project. These sites will be the primary target of future teacher selection activities. 2. Structured Appropriate Curriculum and Assessment for Teachers. To meet STEM teacher needs, the online mentoring project will utilize two curriculum and assessment tools: Dilemmas (these formative assessments are based on the previous model used for the Eisenhower Regional Consortium’s online mentoring project) and Inquiries (this summative assessment strategy is based on a feature of the NTC’s eMSS program). Dilemmas are short, open-ended scenarios that will pose questions about specific, practical instructional and content issues; they will originate from the mentees and/or from the mentor teaching experiences. Mentees and mentors will participate in online facilitated discussions offering possible solutions to a Dilemma, which will serve as perturbations to cause mental dissonance that is needed for teacher change. The nature and structure of Dilemmas will invite a wide range of ideas, offering opportunities to exchange contrasting viewpoints and will motivate participants to respond. Dilemmas will offer mentees a direct, engaging and useful way to participate in the project, and they will be assessed for understanding scientific inquiry. Sample Dilemmas may derive from the Consortium’s project; four to five Dilemmas discussions will take place each Fall semester. The learning triad for the Dilemma interactions will include one mentee, one mentor, and one facilitator. Dilemma postings will include self-reflection on how the interactions resulted in the incorporation of new scientific inquiry ideas into instructional practices. The PI and Co-PI will collect input through the needs assessment for Dilemma topics for each team to make the final decisions about topics to be covered. Inquiries are discussion guides designed to help mentees—with the help of mentors—to deepen their STEM teaching practices, content knowledge, and boost their effectiveness with African American and Hispanic students in high-need settings. The Inquiries, which will form the core, intensive work of the online mentoring project, will involve participating in online collaborative projects between mentors and mentees based on data collected from classroom contexts with the goals of planning, implementing, and reflecting on new and adapted scientific inquiry enrichment activities and lessons for the National Lab Day project of the Harvest Foundation. To implement enrichment, out-of-school activities for bilingual and African-American students in areas where no National Lab Day events are planned, teachers will receive mentoring and support for developing such National Lab Day events in their community. Inquiries will be flexible and adaptable to a mentee's own teaching situation. Inquiries will follow a Plan, Practice, and Reflect cycle, and the materials developed from the process will be used to construct an electronic portfolio. STEM topics for the Inquiries will be selected between the mentees with input of the facilitators and PIs. This cycle will allow mentees to dig deep into a topic and apply it to other aspects of their teaching. Up to three mentees and their mentors, guided by a facilitator, will work together on an Inquiry over a period of eight weeks. Inquiries will be offered during the winter and spring. Each session will offer a choice of topics so mentees can select an area relevant to their teaching. The learning triad for the Inquiry interactions will include mentees from all three school levels (elementary, middle, and high school), mentors, and one facilitator. The PIs will use the online assessments to collect data on STEM teacher change in knowledge and skills during the NLD project. Two types of online assessments that will be part of the project are (1) portfolio collections of scientific inquiry practices in NLD projects and lessons scored with rubrics and (2) reactions to case studies/hypothetical NLD teaching situations scored with rubrics. Each summer an online institutes to develop and share inquiry-based STEM practices will be hosted by Dr. Timothy Paglione (CUNY) and the Aerospace Education Lab (AEL). The AEL is a state-of-the-art classroom that brings new technologies to partnership cities to excite students about science and math. In 10 unique workstations, visitors can explore these technologies through 'hands on/minds on' activities that model real-world challenges in aviation. The AEL contains a wind tunnel, weather station; aircraft design station and a virtual reality flight simulator. The summer institutes at CUNY will allow for all participating online facilitators, the PIs, mentees and mentors to interact via distance learning technology with and learn from experienced STEM teachers at that site as they are trained by an experienced STEM expert using emerging STEM technologies in aerospace (physics and astronomy) science. As several of the participating online mentee and mentor teachers will be from the CUNY area, their participation in the summer institute hosted at the CUNY will also be supported by this project. 3. Experienced Mentors for High-Quality Online Mentoring. This online mentoring project requires qualified educators to support STEM teachers. While a small staff will manage the project, it is the mentors and facilitators whose day-to-day interactions with the teachers comprise the heart of the online mentoring project. A partnership has been established with Texas Regional Education Service Center 5 to recruit online STEM mentors (see the letter of collaboration) from a group currently working in this area. Mentor selection will be a multiphase process beginning with an application. See the Supplementary Documents section for a Letter of Commitment from potential mentors. Online mentors must be experienced educators who have taught STEM for ten or more years. The recruitment and selected teacher participants, mentors, and facilitators will represent all citizens, women and men, underrepresented minorities, different native language backgrounds, and persons with disabilities. Mentors will also be identified from the pool of former Eisenhower Regional Consortium’s online participants, who are all National Science Foundation Presidential Award-winning teachers. Emphasis will be placed on establishing a "Science Corps" of active and retired STEM professionals as online facilitators to assist the mentors and teachers in classrooms, schools, and at district levels (National Science Board, 2009) and NLD events. Professional organizations, such as the American Chemical Society and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, will be contacted for potential participants. 4. High-Quality Facilitators to Ensure Collaboration, Learning, and Reflection. The online facilitators will be critical to maintaining an effective online mentoring project. A partnership has been secured with Educational Development Center (EDC) to provide that high-quality online facilitator training (see the letters of commitment section for that email regarding the collaboration). In her dissertation on the facilitation of Online Mentoring, Taylor (2007) demonstrated that an established, structured facilitator training program was a necessary component of an effective online community. 5. Access to STEM Content and Resources. The online mentoring project will not be just about content-specific support--it will emphasize teacher access to a vast array of peer-evaluated STEM instructional materials and resources (National Science Board, 2009) as well as access to a nationwide network of STEM educators and scientists. The project matches mentees with a mentor who has experience teaching the same content subject and grade level as the mentee. The project will engage STEM teachers in planning, applying practice to their classroom and NLD events, reflecting with their mentor, collaborating with other STEM teachers working on similar goals to change instructional practices and improve student learning, and participating in peer assessments of teaching practices. 6. Rubrics or criteria will track teacher change in scientific inquiry performance on assessments. Data from the formative and summative assessments will be analyzed using the Secondary Teaching Analysis Matrix (STAM) rubric (Gallagher, 1995), which provides for scoring of artifacts and observations along a continuum from didactic to scientific inquiry-based teaching. Changing Expectations Corp will support the participating STEM teachers to provides small-group STEM presentations at the African-American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation conferences and at the African-American Youth Resource Center. The STEM teachers will provide 55 minute small-group learning activities, and resources will be provided to purchase materials to send students home with individual project kits on related STEM topics. Digital and face-to-face follow-up mentoring of under-served students will be provided. STEM sessions are being planned for the coming 2011-2012 school year. STEM professionals are needed for the following dates: October 15, 2011 at LBJ High School, November 18, 2011 at Covington Middle School, January 28, 2012 at Reagan High School, and March 30, 2012 at ALC, Austin ISD.
About You
Organization:
Changing Expectations Corp
About You
First Name

Phillip G.

Last Name

Eaglin, PhD

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Changing Expectations Corp

Organization Phone

512-496-6824

Organization Address

202 Kettleman Lane N

Organization Country

, TX, Williamson County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, TX, Travis County

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Dr. Eaglin was instrumental in the design and implementation of the US Department of Education’s Eisenhower Science and Mathematics Consortium Project and the Texas and Southeast Regional Comprehensive Center grants, serving as Research Associate and Program Specialist from 1997-1998 and from 1999-2008, respectively. Dr. Eaglin holds a PhD in science education from The Florida State University, and he has taught middle school and high school science levels. The Eisenhower Regional Consortia’s online mentoring project was designed, managed, and facilitated by Dr. Eaglin from 1999-2005. He is also strongly committed to supporting the STEM teaching and learning of high-need, traditionally underserved, underrepresented populations.

Mr. Lofton was a commissioner for The City of Austin nearly 6 years serving on Resource Management and Community Development Commission Boards. Michael has received many community service awards, including awards from Senators, State, City and County Elected Officials, NAACP, Austin Area Urban League and AISD and also a Proclamation from Mayor Will Winn for The African American Men and Boys Conference.

In addition, Mr. Lofton was named as one of Austin Heroes by The Austin American Statesman in December 2006. Mr. Lofton has been noted for his efforts in the following: Placing over 400 Katrina Family Victims in Homes, The release of Lacresha Murray, The James Byrd Case, Creation of Austin's "Black Child Care Owners Association", TV Coverage of The Cedar Street Incident as well as having Former President Bill Clinton of his TV Show.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

The African American Men and Boys Conference is a project hosted by The Michael Lofton Talk Show. The first conference was held on June 3, 2006. These conferences were designed to provide resources information and support to help develop a more self-sufficient African American Community. With African American Men and Boys working together, we believe this will help our young develop the mental tools and strategies to enable them to succeed better in life. Many of the kids do not have a male father figure in their homes, and this is a major problem.

A University of Texas-Austin Evaluation Analysis provided meaningful data regarding the impact and success of the Harvest Foundation conferences. A total of 1113 students that took the African American Men and Boys Conference‟s (AAMBC) Student Evaluation of the conference. Surveys were given to all student participants at the close of workshop sessions during the 2008-2009 academic school year. Surpisingly, African Americans made up only 53% of the respondents, Hispanics made up another 36%, Whites 7%, all other racial classifications combined for nearly 5%. High School students were 64% of the respondents, Middle School students made up 28% of the respondent, and primary and elementary school students made up 3%. The average age for students is nearly 15 years old (14.97) and the average grade is 9th. The AAMBC is in fact much more diverse than its name would suggest, as only 53 % of conference attendees were African American and 40% of attendees were female.

Four major themes emerged from the qualitative, open-ended student responses regarding the insights gained by hearing the conference‟s speaker(s). The four themes were 1) Value of education and encouragement of higher education; 2) Goal setting and planning; 3) Perseverance and 4) Inspiration and motivation. The student responses regarding insights gained through listening to various conference speakers was overwhelmingly positive.
Value of education
Nearly 20 percent of the respondents wrote of gaining insights pertaining to the value of education. Value of education is conceptualized as the student‟s finding of significance in schooling or in degree attainment. It is apparent in the student responses that the value of education for many of these students is the access that it allows one to better jobs and quality of life. One student wrote of the conference, “I am motivated to stay in school and continue, I don‟t want to skip classes anymore”. Another student wrote, “I‟ve learned that education is very important and that you can become anything you want if you believe in yourself”. The conference speaker has at least temporarily convinced the first student to stay in school and attend classes that he usually would skip. The second student‟s statement suggests an uncertainty regarding the value and importance of his schooling experience. The second student seems to be persuaded to dream of the possibilities of what he may become with hard work, studies and belief in himself. These comments are typical responses to the question, what insights have you gained from the conference‟s main speakers today?
Career information and guidance
The subcategory, career information and guidance, emerged under the major topic, value of education. Career information and guidance refers to knowledge and insights passed to students from the speakers pertaining to career options and educational credentials required for said careers. Students appeared to be interested in learning the educational requirements of various career fields as well as their salary ranges. One student indicated that he learned what accounting is and how it works through the conference. Other students reported learning similar information about the fields of engineering, law and pharmacy.
Goals and Planning
Goals and planning represent the second of four major themes that emerged from student‟s responses regarding insights learned from conference speakers. Goals and planning are conceptualized as having a long-term dream or aspiration to work toward. Long-term aspirations or goals require delayed gratification and strategic planning for successful attainment. Goals and planning also has three sub-categories of responses. The three subcategories are 1) finances, 2) peer influences and 3) sexual relations. Finances, peer influences and sex are three areas that often represent challenges for low income high school students and threaten to derail their educational pursuits.
A large percentage of the student responses tended toward goal setting and planning. Students made comments such as these: “I should find out what I want to do with my life”, “how to set goals and leave a legacy for my family”, “make a goal and go for it, set checkpoints to help you stay on track with the set goals” and one cited learning “how to set goals and find the purpose of schools”. Clearly, the speakers were aiming to awaken a sense of agency and control within students. Students were encouraged to use school for their own productive purposes rather than becoming passive victims of a schooling experience that may not be satisfactory to them or their communities.
Finances
Students received encouragement to attend college but finances continue to serve as a major concern for many of the conference‟s attendees. Students made mention of insights on obtaining financial aid and tuition being helpful. In Table 2 we saw that only 13 percent of conference attendees and 6%of Blacks, considered financial difficulty a significant concern of students from their school but contradict themselves regarding ability to pay for college. It stands to reason that if financial concerns were not a major issue, then paying for college wouldn't pose a problem. This discrepancy simply serves to underscore the fact that often students do not have a very clear sense of the family‟s financial situation unless it is particularly severe.
Peer influence
Students seemed to appreciate messages regarding peer influences. Messages consistently stressed choosing friends wisely, independent thinking and leadership as ways to avoid getting into trouble. One student summed the message up nicely by stating, “ I learned that I don‟t have to follow anybody to be successful”. Another student added, “ I learned that peer pressure can end a career”.
Sex
Conference attendees commented on messages about sex received from conference speakers. Speakers that made mention of sex consistently exhorted students to wait to have sex and have “safe” sex if you must engage in intercourse. One student summed up the conference‟s sentiment very well by stating, “I have learned that you should wait to have sex because it takes away a lot of time that you could use in making your dreams come true”.
Perseverance
The third major theme of insights gained from conference speakers was perseverance. Perseverance refers to the idea that hardships and difficulty will arise but the student must endure and the reward will be worthwhile. Student responses typically referred to overcoming obstacles and navigating roadblocks. For example, a student wrote, “ You don‟t give up on school just because you are having a hard time”. Another student added, “No matter if you go through rough times, you still have to move on”. Perseverance includes both sacrifice and hard work. The theme, perseverance had two subcategories, 1) decision making and 2) racial pride.
Decision-making
Decision-making refers to making intelligent choices, choices that will allow one to continue toward their goals as well as effective problem solving behavior. Typical responses stressed the importance of thinking prior to acting. A student wrote, for example, “Today I learned a lot of things, like taking responsibility and knowing what you going to do and what the consequences are”. Students indicate that the conference encourages students to understand that they are responsible for their own actions and therefore need to develop strong practical problem solving and decision making skills.
Racial pride
The racial pride category refers to assurances that students can achieve high levels of success despite their racial categories and that race should be a source of dignity and self-esteem rather than an albatross around one‟s neck. Typical student responses were as follows: “No matter what race, whether male or female, you can do anything you set your mind to even become president ” and “I am strong because I come from strong ancestors”. Many of the conference‟s speakers encouraged students by defiantly insisting, “black people are more than society tells us we are”. Messages of racial pride hearken to a long tradition of racial uplift though dedication, hard work and perseverance within the African American community.
Inspiration and Motivation
The fourth and final category is inspiration and motivation. Inspiration and motivation are conceptualized as the speakers‟ messages of affirmation and encouragement, which are intended to give confidence to students regarding their schooling, educational and career goals. One student stated, “ I learned to feel more confident about myself”, others stated learning basic but essential lessons such as “to always try” and “I can do something with my life”. Despite their young ages, it is apparent that many of the students do not get the amount of emotional support and mentorship that students typically need to be academically successful. A number of the student responses indicate that students are longing to have intellectual affirmation. Students need inspiration and motivation regarding their educational experiences it appears that some are having this particular need met in the Monthly Men and Boys Conferences. Two sub-categories emerged within the inspiration and motivation category. Those two sub-units are 1) manhood and leadership, 2) authentic care.
Manhood and leadership
Manhood and leadership encompass notions of what responsible, stable male should be as well as the notion of leadership through independent thinking and respect for others. Responsibility and respect was key in student responses within this sub-category. Common responses were that respect is to be given and received. This attention to manhood and leadership is a component of the African American Men and Boys conferences that is of particular interest and need within the African American community.
Authentic care
Students expressed the belief that Lofton and conference speakers genuinely believe in them and want to see them reach their highest potential. One student summed it up perfectly by stating, “They truly care and want to see a change in our generation and are willing to fight for us”. One of the key issues effecting student-teacher relationships is Valenzuela‟s (1999) notion of authentic caring. Students want teachers to have a sincere concern for their personal and academic well-being. However, many teachers have an aesthetic care, one that is concerned with a “commitment to ideas or practices that purportedly lead to achievement” (Valenzuela, 1999).

Because of the magnificent success of the Men and Boys Conferences, in February 2007 we hosted the first African American Women and Girls Conference geared toward the unique life experiences of African American girls. The response was overwhelming. Four African American Women and Girls conferences have been held since February.

In addition, we have created a foundation, "The African American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation, Inc.", to continue this effort. Changing Expectations Corp was developed as a 501 c(3) tax exempt non-profit to provide educational programs for the Harvest Foundation.

Changing Expectations Corp provides small-group STEM presentations at the African-American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation conferences. STEM professionals provide 55 minute small-group learning activities and resources to purchase materials to send students home with individual project kits on related STEM topics. Digital and face-to-face follow-up mentoring of under-served students is provided.

Expected Impact and Outcomes
Other anticipated results of the online mentoring and assessment intervention include:
• The intervention provides a variety of collaborative mechanisms for teachers designed to support their effective exploration of teaching STEM curriculum and deepen their understanding STEM content.
• Online mentoring will support experienced as well as novice teachers to improve instructional practices for K-12 STEM teaching and learning. It will incorporate Changing Expectations’ expertise in addressing educator needs for continued professional growth, reflection, and collaboration. Even the best teachers need instructional materials and resource specialist to assist them (National Science Board, 2009).
• Online content-focused mentoring and assessment can be a cost-effective, efficient way to support the needs of both the district and its staff members. Teachers are able to work on it when time permits, at their own pace, and to receive individualized support through online mentoring. This online mentoring project is likely to be more effective than the current face-to-face mentoring because educators often have very limited time to commit to face-to-face interactions with their colleagues. Upon demonstration of feasibility, the online mentoring program should be easier to scale up for national distribution than traditional modalities and in a variety of settings.
Specific criteria will be used in the selection of participants that will include the socioeconomic need of their students, the number of years of teaching experience, and the number of African-American and bilingual, Hispanic students taught. The project has the potential to impact approximately 2,600 African-American and Hispanic students in a single school year.

STEM sessions during the 2010-2011 school year were held on November 13, 2010 at Connally High School (Pflugerville ISD), December 11, 2010 at Garcia Middle School (Austin ISD), January 29, 2011 at Dailey Middle School (Del-Valle ISD), and April 30, 2011 at Dobie Middle School (Austin ISD).

Broad Dissemination of Results
In an effort to more broadly disseminate the results of the Dilemmas and Inquiries, an online searchable archive (perhaps using a Wiki) and email listserv (such as created for the original Eisenhower Online Mentoring Project) will be created for Internet access by any educators and researchers not participating in the online mentoring project. Information about the new and repurposed (adapted) STEM curriculum enhancement activities developed by the cross-school level teams will also be disseminated electronically. Database usage by visiting educators will be tracked, together with characteristics of website visitors who access the online mentoring results. Annually, archive visitors will be requested to complete an on-line survey to provide feedback regarding their implementation of the information presented (e.g., providing evidence for how the mentoring information was used, observed indicators of student-related outcomes). Annual presentations by the PIs on research findings will also be made to the STEM network and at multi- and interdisciplinary activities and institutions that serve underrepresented groups and where diversity is a priority, and results will be shared with the National Lab Day network.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

101-1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

1,001-10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

The Harvest Foundation's recently developed African American Youth Resource Center (AAYRC) as a response to the broad critical needs, often unmet, among several African American youth and families in this community. AAMB Harvest Foundation and key community stakeholders have come together to build and deliver a high quality community-based system of support to minimize the local disparity of this demographic. Changing Expectations Corp will be a service provider of STEM education at the AAYRC. STEM sessions at the Harvest Foundation conferences are being planned for the coming 2011-2012 school year--October 15, 2011 at LBJ High School, November 18, 2011 at Covington Middle School, January 28, 2012 at Reagan High School, and March 30, 2012 at ALC, Austin ISD.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Motivating students to attend local Saturday STEM sessions may be a barrier. However, bus support and transportation to the Youth Resource Center along with incentives from classroom teachers, such as extra credit on grades, will be provided.

Tell us about your partnerships

Changing Expectations Corp is a 501 c(3) non-profit that was developed to provide educational support services for the Harvest Foundation, also an Austin-based 501 c(3). The purposes of Changing Expectations Corp are (1) educational research, development, and technical assistance specializing in closing the academic achievement gaps for traditionally underserved students at high-need schools and (2) development and technical assistance in educator preparation and professional development programs. Changing Expectations Corp also provides K-12 education tutoring, outreach services, and informal learning opportunities to the community and the public.

As indicated earlier, Changing Expectations Corp is partnering with the Harvest Foundation to provide STEM education to local high-need, urban youth. Schools in two central Texas school districts have expressed commitments to participating in the proposed project. The Austin-based African-American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation currently has educational partnership agreements with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) and Pflugerville Independent School District (PISD) with support from the City of Austin and Travis County governments to host regular youth conferences, which have already incorporated four Changing Expectations Corp STEM events. In addition, Changing Expectations Corp has secured a letter of commitment from PISD to participate in the STEM project.

Changing Expectations Corp also partners with the National Lab Network (NLN). What is NLN? National Lab Network is more than just a day. It's a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators. The NLD provides access to volunteers, university students, scientists, engineers, other STEM professionals and, more broadly, members of the community are working together with educators and students to bring discovery-based science experiences to students in grades K-12. When an educator posts a project, the NLD system will help them get the resources needed to bring that project to fruition. As a result of the NLD partnership, two STEM professionals were recruited from the University of Texas-Austin College of Natural Sciences to deliver STEM events this past school year for Changing Expectations Corp and the Harvest Foundation.

For more info on NLN, visit http://www.nationallabnetwork.org/about

Other partners on the STEM project include:

Ms. Barbara Treacy is the Director of EdTech Leaders Online, a national capacity-building online professional development program for state departments of education, school districts, regional education service providers and teacher training institutions, with participating organizations in over 35 states. Since 2000, Barbara has led teams of curriculum developers, online facilitators, instructional designers and online specialists to provide graduate level training programs in online learning, a catalogue of over 60 online workshops in specific K-12 subject areas and grade levels, and a national forum for online specialists implementing local online programs. Barbara will lead the preparation of the STEM teachers as project facilitators.

Dr. Kevin Foster is an anthropologist and a University of Texas at Austin faculty member. During 2009-2010 he was on leave to serve as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Executive Branch Policy Fellow assigned to the NSF Math and Science Partnership Program. Dr. Foster's passion is to bring research, teaching and community service together for the purpose of improving academic outcomes for African American, Latina/o and other students. Dr. Foster received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and his B. A. from the College of William and Mary. Dr. Foster will provide and support academic development strategies for the students participating in the NLD events.

Dr. Tim Paglione is an associate professor and radio astronomer in the Department of Natural Sciences at York College, City University of New York, in Jamaica, NY. Previously, he was a lecturer at the Astronomy Department of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He studies star-forming clouds in the centers of galaxies including our own. He was recently part of a bi-national team constructing the largest telescope in the world sensitive to light at millimeter wavelengths, the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) or Gran Telescopio Milimétrico (GTM). He was also the principal investigator of the UMass/INAOE Galaxy Survey. Dr. Paglione will provide one videoconference training institute at CUNY each summer for participating mentees, facilitators, and mentors on scientific inquiry. He will also provide assistance as one of the lead STEM researcher and disciplinary experts as the second lead online facilitator.

Explain your selections

The City of Austin, Texas recently provided funding for the Youth Resource Center. Austin Independent School District has supported the local conferences. Additional support for the STEM work will be obtained from local businesses such as Time Warner Cable and Bank of America through grant proposals. Personal donations of Dr. Eaglin, Mr. Lofton, and individual STEM presenters have also and will continue to be used to support the work. Receiving such a grant from changemakers would allow the two founders to not use their own personal funds for the work and would support the purchase of STEM resources and the involvement of STEM teachers.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

The infusion of resources offered by this partnership will be used to build institutional and community capacity that can be sustained well after funding ceases. Changing Expectations Corp will seek a commitment from the participating schools districts and city/county governments to continue to work collaboratively to strengthen STEM teacher in-service preparation and underserved student learning by proposing to further develop the project following this funding period. In addition, Changing Expectations Corp will continue the hybrid model of teacher inservice development by securing approval from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to offer continuing professional education (CPE) credit for teachers wishing to meet certification renewal requirements. In addition, approval as a TEA Educator Preparation Program (EPP) for developing preservice teachers will be sought. Subsequent funding of efficacy and replication studies will also be pursued following the initial development of this replicable and scalable STEM education innovation to study its scale up and impact.

Partnerships and Accountability
Please tell us more about how your partnership was formed and how it functions. What specific role does each partner play? What unique resources does each partner bring to the initiative?

The African American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation, Inc. is a unique 501 c(3) Non-Profit organization that will bring together successful African-American men as mentors and partners with African-American boys while doing so within a structured, educational environment and with a specific focus upon reducing the academic achievement gap between African-American boys and their Caucasian peers.

Planned activities will be sponsored and developed:

(1) to combat crime, juvenile delinquency and destructive anti-social behavior by African-American youth;
(2) to foster academic achievement and educational excellence by identifying and working to eliminate the academic achievement deficits exhibited by African-American youth;
(3) to build working partnerships between successful African-American men and boys through educational workshops and mentoring programs;
(4) to educate young African-American males about successful strategies for achieving economic prosperity and personal wealth through entrepreneurial and employment activities.

Changing Expectations Corp is a 501 c(3) non-profit that was developed to provide educational support services for the Harvest Foundation. The purposes of Changing Expectations Corp are (1) educational research, development, and technical assistance specializing in closing the academic achievement gaps for traditionally underserved students at high-need schools and (2) development and technical assistance in educator preparation and professional development programs. Changing Expectations Corp also provides K-12 education tutoring, outreach services, and informal learning opportunities to the community and the public.

As indicated earlier, Changing Expectations Corp is partnering with the Harvest Foundation to provide STEM education to local high-need, urban youth. Schools in two central Texas school districts have expressed commitments to participating in the proposed project. The Austin-based African-American Men and Boys Harvest Foundation currently has educational partnership agreements with the Austin Independent School District (AISD) and Pflugerville Independent School District (PISD) with support from the City of Austin and Travis County governments to host regular youth conferences, which have already incorporated four Changing Expectations Corp STEM events. In addition, Changing Expectations Corp has secured a letter of commitment from PISD to participate in the STEM project.

Changing Expectations Corp also partners with the National Lab Network (NLN). What is NLN? National Lab Network is more than just a day. It's a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators. The NLD provides access to volunteers, university students, scientists, engineers, other STEM professionals and, more broadly, members of the community are working together with educators and students to bring discovery-based science experiences to students in grades K-12. When an educator posts a project, the NLD system will help them get the resources needed to bring that project to fruition. As a result of the NLD partnership, two STEM professionals were recruited from the University of Texas-Austin College of Natural Sciences to deliver STEM events this past school year for Changing Expectations Corp and the Harvest Foundation.

For more info on NLN, visit http://www.nationallabnetwork.org/about

How are you building in accountability for students' successful STEM learning outcomes? Please provide a summary and examples.

Teachers will also be provide a $1000 stipend--substitute teacher coverage to allow for limited participation during the school day to share ideas learned with Professional Learning Communities, a $500 reimbursement stipend at the end of December for related National Lab Day scientific inquiry STEM resources, $300 after completing the Winter OR Spring inquiry session, and $200 after participating in the research component. Providing the stipend only after teacher participation has occurred will assure that STEM teachers are participating in the program and producing successful outcomes for their African-American and bilingual students in the NLD activities. Elementary and middle school learning will be linked to high school learning outcomes by partnering mentees on Inquiries from all three school levels to collaborate on adapting STEM activities to add value to them by making them either more inquiry oriented and/or integrating timely direct instruction in them. Such collaborative work will promote better alignment of STEM expectations at elementary, middle, and high school levels (National Governors Association, 2009). The school level partnerships will promote shared responsibility/accountability among the teachers and will also allow elementary and middle school teachers to better prepare their students for high school and college STEM courses by reflecting on and adjusting their own teaching. As an additional incentive, participating teachers will receive Texas Education Agency approved continuing professional education (CPE) credit that will be used to meet their state certification renewal requirements.

Needs

Investment, Human Resources/Talent, Marketing/Media, Research/Information, Pro-bono help (legal, financial, etc.), Innovation/Ideas, Mentorship.

Please use this space to elaborate on your selection above and/or to add needs that may not be listed.

Subsequent funding of efficacy and replication studies will also be pursued following the initial development of this replicable and scalable STEM education innovation to study its scale up and impact.

Offers

Human Resources/Talent, Marketing/Media, Research/Information, Collaboration/Networking, Innovation/Ideas, Mentorship.

Please use this space to elaborate on your selection above and/or to add offers that may not be listed.

In an effort to more broadly disseminate the results of the Dilemmas and Inquiries, an online searchable archive (perhaps using a Wiki) and email listserv will be created for Internet access by any educators and researchers not participating in the online mentoring project. Information about the new and repurposed (adapted) STEM curriculum enhancement activities developed by the cross-school level teams will also be disseminated electronically. Annual presentations by the PIs on research findings will also be made to the STEM network and at multi- and interdisciplinary activities and institutions that serve underrepresented groups and where diversity is a priority, and results will be shared with the National Lab Day network.