The Teachers and Students for Community-Oriented Research and Education, or T-SCORE project, is designed to help teachers develop and teach health science lessons that provide students with learning experiences that grow their interest and knowledge about the health sciences.
T-SCORE provides professional development for teachers in the Kansas Career and Technical Education (CTE) Heath Science Pathway and core teachers within health science academies and professional learning communities. Through professional development, T-SCORE connects teachers with KUMC researchers and health care professionals to bring new health science knowledge and expertise into the Health Science Pathway classes. By focusing on CTE Health Science Pathway teachers as the main agents of change, T-SCORE we will have an impact on students who will enroll in college and career-related health science programs after high school and beyond.
T-SCORE builds upon the Career and Technical Education (CTE) national initiative which emphasizes “learning by doing” through the application of technical and academic content in the real-world context. T-SCORE relies on empowered teachers who will use inquiry-based educational strategies to help students develop the tools necessary to investigate health disparity issues in their communities. Students are ultimately able to see how science and research can serve as powerful tools to ameliorate disease and illness impacting their communities.
AIM 1. Teachers — Collaborate with teachers to develop innovative health science pathway curricula, to be implemented by empowered teaching fellows who are knowledgeable about scientific inquiry, engaged in health science research, and committed to bringing community-based issues into the classroom.
AIM 2. Students — Enable teachers to implement a high quality Health Science Pathway curriculum with students enrolled in the Health Science Pathway courses, increasing inquiry-based learning and engagement of students in the health sciences.
AIM 3. Community — Disseminate professional development training materials, inquiry-based modules, student projects, implementation guides, and lessons learned both within the targeted schools and across the state and nationally.
This SEPA award encompasses a partnership between the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health (KUMC), KUMC Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health, KUMC Office of Diversity and Inclusion, KU School of Education, and Kansas School Districts in Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas.
Through T-SCORE, teachers and KUMC faculty will incorporate new modules into the Health Science curriculum to build students’ understanding of scientific inquiry and interest in health disparity research. The innovation of our proposed T-SCORE teaching fellow training is that teachers will work collaboratively and alongside KUMC health disparities researchers through a sustainable professional development infrastructure. Our T-SCORE innovation also stems from our focus on health disparities as the content that will enhance interest and buy-in of students and get teachers to be closer to community health issues. Local health disparities issues will also be more likely to resonate with student scholars, since the issues will focus on their own communities, giving them a sense of ownership and investment in finding solutions to local problems. We anticipate approximately 120 students per year will be positively impacted through the modules, for a total of 480 students by the end of the grant period.
Rather than a static or top-down mandate, the T-SCORE theoretical framework is based on an empowerment model that emphasizes empowering teachers and researchers to be change agents by providing them with resources, opportunities for curriculum development, and an authentic professional learning community. By creating a framework in which teachers and researchers collaborate for curriculum development, we draw on the concept of the professional learning community (PLC). Engaged students will harness the power of inquiry-based preparatory health sciences programs to lead the workforce in health science research and health care in the future.
In sum, T-SCORE will serve to expand opportunities for students to acquire new knowledge, and it will also challenge their assumptions about research knowledge as irrelevant or out-of-reach. Students will begin to view the process as purposeful and consequential for the health of their communities. Further, T-SCORE will enable students to see firsthand the workforce contributions they can make by choosing careers in public health research and preventive health care, along with the other more traditional medical and health science opportunities.
T-SCORE will ultimately impact the health of communities.
T-SCORE is designed to have a direct impact on the communities with trained T-SCORE teaching fellows leading the charge. T-SCORE addresses one of the most pressing issues facing health science education in the US: How can teachers engage a diverse group of students effectively so that they have a solid understanding of scientific practices, then be able to appreciate that what they are learning is relevant to their lives and their experiences? T-SCORE will create opportunities and resources to build the bridge between health science research knowledge and students’ everyday experiences with health disparities issues by incorporating health science teachers into a collaborative learning experience along with KUMC faculty. Through this collaboration, T-SCORE teaching fellows will integrate health disparities modules into the Health Science Career Pathway curriculum, as required by NGSS.
Our communication and dissemination plan includes three major target audiences: an internal audience working on continual program improvement, a regional audience that has a vested interest in monitoring and emulating initiatives to improve student and teacher performance, and a national audience that might be interested in developing similar programs to enhance the early career pipeline for health disparities research.
We will establish a comprehensive approach to program evaluation that allows us to examine short- and long-term measures of success, and inform ongoing improvements to the program. As short-term markers of progress toward our ultimate goal, we propose a comprehensive evaluation plan, based on specific milestones and measurable objectives.
The overall evaluation process will be coordinated by the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium (KC-AERC). The goal of the KCAERC consortium is to improve student achievement by providing powerful tools for data-driven research and evaluation that will inform practice and policy for P20 education in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Dr. Leigh Anne Knight has carefully crafted the evaluation plan proposed in this application and will lead the involvement of KC-AERC throughout the five years.
KCAERC includes researchers from multiple disciplines at four major research universities. As external evaluators, their efforts will be guided by the outcomes and evaluation plan illustrated in the logic model below. Additionally, our external evaluators will partner with the EAC for ongoing evaluation throughout the funding period. The Educational Advisory Committee’s specific role in evaluation will be to review the initial logic model proposed in our evaluation plan, along with the research education program. Four times each year, our evaluation team will present the EAC team with a report on the progress of each specific aim and milestones. A set of outcomes will always be measured, but the EAC, teachers and students will be given the opportunity to suggest new measures for evaluation, to be implemented each year. With the assistance of our contracted evaluator, we will develop an annual report each fall that summarizes both the qualitative and summative results of our evaluation from the previous summer and make this available to the entire community.
Our curricular modules, descriptions of student projects, and our implementation guides will all be collated and posted on our website The evaluation plan includes a rigorous quasi-experimental design that includes a control groups and propensity score matching for both teachers and students
Career and Technical Education (CTE) health science teachers from public schools in Kansas City and Wichita, Kansas, and high school students enrolled in the Health Careers Pathways Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Health science, health careers, health related programs, health disparity issues
Associated SEPA Publication(s)
Envisioning Career Technical Education as a Platform for Student Empowerment
PubMed / HHS Public Access
Alonso Luaces M, Cearley M, Chang K, Cupertino P, Ramaswamy M