NASA-Supported Professional Development Program

April 4th, 2002 by Adam

Plymouth State College will receive funding to offer earth system science professional development courses for educators online, beginning spring 2003. PSC’s program rounds out a network of 20 universities and science organizations that comprise the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA). The grant was announced by the Arlington, Virginia-based Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).

Plymouth State College will offer the online courses under the program name “Training Earth System Science Teachers (TESST)”. TESST will enhance the science content, process skill and standards-based practices of K-8 teachers in central and northern New Hampshire school districts. Almost half the New Hampshire population and public schools are in rural areas.

The College’s program will be responsive to the various needs of the region and the state, and will reach out to those living in communities that can’t participate in an on-campus experience. Sign up for the courses will begin in the summer.

Plymouth State joins this nationwide network in addressing the critical shortage of K-12 educators skilled in teaching inquiry-based, earth system science to the country’s students. Institute President Nancy Colleton says, “We are thrilled to have Plymouth State College join the ESSEA team. Plymouth will make a unique contribution to the program, while addressing the basic earth science education needs of New Hampshire’s K-12 teachers.

The Institute — working in partnership with the Center for Educational Technologies (CET) through funding from NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise – created ESSEA to facilitate the delivery of three fully-developed online graduate courses (for grade K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 teachers) by universities, colleges, and science education organizations. The CET at Wheeling Jesuit University designed the state-of-the-art online courses. The graduate-level courses are designed to address the high need for K-12 teachers who are skilled in teaching earth science using an inquiry approach.

For information on the Plymouth State College ESSEA program contact Dr. Mark Turski, or (603) 535-2749.