Rural Partnership For Science Education

  • Abstract

    1994-1998 Begun in October 1991 upon receiving a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health The Rural Partnership for Science Education has evolved into a strong collaborative effort between the scientific and educational communities in the northernmost county of the Appalachian region. The Rural Partnership for Science Education is an alliance of scientists and educators from the Research Institute of The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital ten public school districts Hartwick College State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oneonta and its Biological Field Station the Science Discovery Center Corning Science Products Division the Clark Scholarship Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences. The Partnership focuses on the needs of educators and students increasing their understanding and appreciation of the importance of health sciences and biomedical research to society. To this end the Partnership augments curricular resources and extracurricular activities through equipment lending resources sharing field trips science day camps teacher workshops career exploration and research training programs. An extensive formative evaluation component provides information used for the continuing refinement of the program. Summative evaluation activities yield results documenting the impact of the Partnership in targeted areas. Unlike most partnerships that begin with a support stage the Rural Partnership for Science Education was created as an extended collaboration among partners to improve science education in an underserved rural population committed to providing the best education possible for its students. Despite this commitment funds necessary for cultivating effective science education are frequently lacking because of the economics of the region and the isolation of its communities. The proposed plan for the continuation of this program focuses on maintaining successful program components while srengthening ties among partners through electronic communications; at the same time the plan sustains the quality while refining the specifics of the established activities. A monograph about the Partnership will be published and disseminated to over 700 rural small schools throughout The Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of the Northeast & Islands. These efforts will ensure the continuation of the Partnership after the termination of NIH funds. 1991-1994 The Rural Partnership for Science Education application is a collaboration among ten rural New York school districts and the Mary Imogene Bassett Research Institute. The purpose is to enhance the quality of science education in these rural districts. Strategies include development of experiments purchase and transportation of equipment summer science camps expanded summer science training programs and career counseling. The proposed project would serve as a model to be implemented in other geographic areas of similar need.