The mission of the MSTe Project is to provide expertise, inspiration, support and means to all elementary teachers in the participating schools so that they might better construct and sustain learner-centered environments where curriculum, instruction and assessment are guided by contemporary pedagogical practices and matched to MST learning standards.
The stated goals of the MSTe Project are:
- To equip a group of leadership teachers in three-person MSTe teams with enhanced pedagogical, content, and leadership skills in order that they might reflect upon and improve their own practice, conduct exemplary inservice programs for other teachers, and become regional MST leaders. This enhancement was accomplished through two, four-week summer workshops, peer coaching and ongoing meetings throughout the academic year.
- To provide 1,320 NYS elementary school teachers with the ability to use inquiry and design as mechanisms to connect MST in their classrooms; to enhance their MST skills; and to encourage them to engage in reflective practice, through two- week regional summer enhancement workshops and 30 hours of follow-up meetings and peer coaching during the school year.
- To develop a substantial and significant infrastructure of MST capability within the MSTe Project schools.
- To enhance the mathematical, scientific, and technological capabilities of elementary school students through instruction that interconnects MST.
- To support systemic change by enhancing the scale-up efforts of the NYSSI and NYCUSI and bring the lessons learned to MSTe Project participants.
- To develop an Implementation and Resource Guide as a planning and decision-making tool for MSTe teams.
During Years 1 and 2, Project activities largely focused on enhancement of 20 Leadership Teams. These teams participated in two years of sustained staff development activities at Hofstra and Stony Brook Universities and Brookhaven National Research Laboratory. Ongoing support to the teams was provided by Project PIs.
During Year 3, the MSTe Leadership Teams implemented twenty workshops for second-wave teachers. The predominant model involved planning for 30 teachers from each of the participating districts to attend 15 hours of Spring 2000 workshops, two summer weeks (35 hours/week), and 15 hours of Fall 2000 workshops. Thirteen districts utilized this pattern. Some districts (the larger ones) preferred to recruit 60 teachers, conduct a 50-hour workshop during Year 3, and invite the same teachers back for an additional 50 hours the following year.
During Year 4, the MSTe Leadership Teams again implemented local workshops for second-wave teachers. During this period, eighteen district-based workshops were conducted by the Project Leadership Teams and 462 teachers were served. A design and technology study program at the University of Greenwich, in England, was again sponsored by the Project and paid for entirely by participants.
During Year 5, the Project Management Team developed an RFP and invited proposals from MSTe Leadership Teams to conduct additional 100-hour teacher enhancement workshops for teachers during the period from January 2001 to August 2002. The MSTe Project Co-PIs worked with each of the districts and BOCES to develop these programs in response to a set of workshop guidelines (contained in the RFP) that were developed and revised over an eight-month period. Each participating district had submitted a work plan to the Project office. The plans built on the Project philosophy of design-based integrated learning, and "MSTing" instructional materials. Proposals were received from 10 school districts and BOCES to provide 100-hour workshops for over 200 new teachers. Local school Superintendents signed off on the proposal submitted by their district.
The Summer 2001, statewide workshop served an additional 63 teacher-leaders in 16 new school districts across New York State; A team from the Center Line (Michigan) District joined as well.
The Project has exceeded its total in-service targets. The proposed number of teachers was 1320. In years one and two, 60 leadership team teachers; Years three and four, 1200 second-wave teachers; and in years five, 60 statewide leaders. The actual number of teachers served by the Project was 1418 teachers. During years one and two, it served 63 leadership team teachers; Years three and four, 1044 second-wave teachers; and in year five, 238 second-wave teachers, 59 New York statewide lead teachers and 4 Michigan lead teachers.