Terms of participation
Studies are beginning to
demonstrate the positive effects of trained teacher leaders on school reform.
Embracing science and mathematics instruction initiatives, this project is
developed around the needs of existing and aspiring teacher leaders in the
Duval County Public Schools - the 16th largest school district in
the nation, with a large percentage of low socioeconomic status (SES) students
challenged to bolster their achievement in science and mathematics. Under the
Jacksonville Urban Systemic Initiative (JUSI), a National Science
Foundation-sponsored program designed to reform science and mathematics
instruction and reduce the achievement gap between high and low achieving
students (many of whom are underserved minorities), one goal of teacher
training is the development of teacher leaders emphasizing action research as a
professional development approach. This new project studies the sustained
effects of a group of these teacher leaders in K-12 mathematics and science
classrooms, specifically the impacts on student achievement and teacher
This research project will
expand the previous efforts and focus on the challenging issues of
sustainability and impact on students by answering the following questions:
- What are the effects of
networking teachers who have participated in graduate courses and
professional development programs that emphasize action research on
teacher leaders in science and mathematics and their practice in their own
- To what degree are the
development and support of teachers doing action research associated with
improved student achievement and interest in science and mathematics?
- What are the factors that
promote ongoing partnerships between institutions of higher education and
K-12 schools to sustain inquiry-oriented professional development?
To determine the effects of the
ongoing action research and teacher networking as professional development
experiences, the following quantitative and qualitative methods will be used:
- Surveys, interviews, and focus
groups involving teacher participants in sustained action
research-oriented professional development in order to gauge changes in
- Teacher analyses of their data resulting
from continued cycles of their action research.
- Comparison of student grades,
standardized test scores, absenteeism, class completion, and interest in
further science and mathematics education with school and district data.
- Surveys and interviews of key
project partners and the analysis of artifacts generated.
The anticipated products of the
research project are
a real and virtual network of teacher leaders implementing action
teacher-generated assessment data and disaggregated data
comparing students in project teacher classes with relevant school and district
a model for teacher development that includes characteristics
inherent in changed behaviors associated with action research leading to
enhanced student performance,
a dedicated website sharing the project and teacher action plans
and experiences, and
a manual describing action research for teacher leaders including
real examples of teacher-generated problems, data, and results, with
implications for schools, districts, and the state of Florida.