Buffalo Science Teachers’ Network (BSTN)
The purpose of this year-around teacher preparation and professional development project is to prepare and support educators to help all students achieve high standards of learning and development in middle school science. This project is funded through the New York State Education Department by Teacher/Leader Quality Partnership (TLQP)—NCLB federal funding. Current research and data (including student achievement) guides our goal setting and all activities. The project works in cooperation with Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) Science Department, Buffalo State College (BSC), the Center for Excellence in Urban and Rural Education at BSC, the Buffalo Museum of Science, Science Education for Public Understanding (SEPUP), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as other organizations supporting improved science education. BPS is an urban, high-need district in Buffalo, New York, serving about 46,000 students.
* Provide content and pedagogical instructional activities for pre-service and in-service teachers.
* Infuse New York State Math, Science, and Technology (NYSMST) standards and assessments in all activities.
* Incorporate principles of effective professional development.
* Coordinate efforts to meet the induction and/or professional development needs of the collaborating district.
The project provides, at minimum, 56 hours of intensive professional development for Buffalo Public School (BPS) middle level science teachers. These teachers range from first-year teachers to teachers with over 10 years of experience. During the first two years of the project, 16 teachers participated each year. (Nine teachers have been involved in the project since its’ inception.) Beginning in the third year of the project, the number of teachers participating increased to 26—which is approximately half of the middle-level science teachers in the BPS district.
The teachers have been involved from the very beginning in goal setting and planning the activities they participate in. These activities include the Summer Institute (a series of professional development activities, occurring over a one- to two-week period in the summer), the Fall/Winter Weekend (a series of professional development activities, occurring over a weekend in the Fall or Winter), presenting and attending national and state-wide professional conferences, working with BSC pre-service science teachers in various capacities, and other professional development activities.
Buffalo State College undergraduates studying science education methods, theory, and techniques are participating as student teachers, observers, assistants, and teaching lessons in various Buffalo Public School middle school and high school classrooms.
The project is being thoroughly documented: all major planning and discussions are video taped and the proceedings are transcribed. The project will serve as a model for other school districts to involve their teachers, local teacher preparation institutions, community organizations, and private industry in working together to meet the needs of our middle school and high school students in the 21st century.
Responsibilities & Benefits
BSTN is a district-wide Buffalo Public Schools Science Department project, which is sponsored by Teacher/Leader Quality Partnerships funding, through Buffalo State College.
If you participate, you will be joining a group of educators who are demonstrating a unique approach to professional development. Our model enables you to be both teacher and learner in a network of Buffalo Public School (BPS) teachers and administrators, Buffalo State College (BSC) faculty, and Buffalo State College pre-service Science Education students. In order to make this relationship as productive as possible, you will be expected to participate in the following professional development activities:
* Attend Fall/Winter Weekend Retreat
* Provide classroom opportunities for BSC pre-service teachers to work with BPS students
* Attend Summer Institute Planning Meeting, Spring
* Attend week-long (40 hours) Summer Institute
* Attend Summer Institute or Fall/Winter Weekend Retreat facilitator committee meetings, if applicable
* Provide evaluations of program activities
As a participant, you will receive:
* Compensation ($100/day stipend) for participation in the Summer Institute
* Compensation for prep time ($50/hour) and materials, if you volunteer to act as a facilitator of specified project activities
* Technological tools and other materials for use in your classroom
* Opportunities to mentor pre-service teachers
* A supportive environment to try out new ideas that will enhance your science program
* Opportunities to participate in national science education field tests and pilot new curriculum
* Support to attend professional conferences
* Assistance in grant-writing, to support classroom innovation and activities.
We see this program as a great benefit to your school, primarily because it will positively impact your students. Specifically, efforts will be directed at increasing student science skills, so that they will be successful on the BPS Science Exams and the NYS Intermediate Level Examination in Science Grade 8.