Superintendent’s Memo #097-13

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

April 12, 2013

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  The 2013 Science through an Interdisciplinary Approach (SIA) Summer Institutes

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Office of Science and Health Education, is pleased to announce the 2013 Science through an Interdisciplinary Approach (SIA) summer Institutes.  The Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Resource Use Education Council (VRUEC), Regent University’s Martinson Center for Mathematics and Science, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) have formed a partnership to design and deliver three professional development Institutes on both content and pedagogical methods for teachers.  Two of the Institutes will be for K-5 teachers and the third Institute will be for middle and high school teachers. These learning experiences for teachers are designed to support the implementation of the Science Standards of Learning (SOL).

The three institutes are as follows:

  1.  SIA – Physical Science through an Interdisciplinary Approach
    Audience: K-5 teachers
    Dates: July 14-19, 2013
    Location:  Regent University Campus, Virginia Beach, VA
    Lead: Dr. Jenny Sue Flannagan, Regent University
    Focus: Physical Science
       
  2.  SIA – Our Living Environment: Cycles, Systems, and Processes
    Audience: K-5 teachers
    Dates: July 28 – August 2, 2013
    Location:  Graves Mountain Lodge, Syria, VA
    Lead: Page Hutchinson, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
    Focus: Life and Earth Sciences
       
  3.  SIA – Investigating the Biodiversity of the Southwest Virginia Watersheds
    Audience: middle and high school teachers (teachers from Superintendents’ Region 7 will be given first preference)
    Dates: July 7-12, 2013
    Location:  Hungry Mother State Park, Marion, VA
    Lead: Suzie Gilley, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
    Focus: Investigating the biodiversity of the southwest Virginia watersheds

Each Institute will offer a summer on-site, week-long professional development training for teachers and will also offer continued support for the participating teachers throughout the following school year through monthly webinars, two Saturday face-to-face meetings, and school classroom observations by the Institute instructors.

The summer Institute sessions will model exemplary science instruction, especially focusing on content and processes using interdisciplinary instruction, student teams, and inquiry-based, project-based, and place-based learning. Teachers will then work in teams throughout the school year 2013-2014 to design and teach an interdisciplinary unit on the content received during the summer instruction.
Upon successful completion of the full Institute, each teacher will be provided with an incentive of $300.

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will assume the cost of registration, lodging, and meals for all participants for the summer sessions of the Institutes. School divisions are encouraged to cover mileage expenses for the summer sessions for division participants as this cost is not assumed by the VDOE; however, this is not a requirement of the program.
The VDOE will assume the cost of mileage and meals for participants for the two Saturday sessions conducted during the 2013-2014 school year.

Enrollment for each Institute is limited to 36 teachers (108 total) from across the state.  Institutes one and two are for K-5 teachers and schools will be encouraged to send a team of teachers from their school.  Institute three is for middle school and high school teachers, and teachers from Superintendents’ Region 7 will be given first preference for Institute three.  Selection of participants for all the Institutes will be based on the order in which applications are received, a balance of participant teams from the eight superintendents’ regions (except for Institute three), and a balance of participant teams from school divisions. A team of teachers from a school or division will be given preference over individual teacher applications.

The Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) and the Regent University Martinson Center for Mathematics and Science will manage Institute registration.  Registration for each of the Institutes will be closed when the Institute is filled, and all registration will be closed on June 17, 2013.  Registration can be completed online at http://vast.org/vaeducation.html.  Notifications of acceptance will be provided to applicants and the applicants’ school principals by e-mail on or before June 21, 2013.

Questions regarding registration should be directed to Charity Mack, via e-mail at cmack@regent.edu or by telephone at (757) 352-4123. Other questions regarding the Institutes should be directed to Barbara P. Young, science specialist, via e-mail at barbara.young@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-2676.

PJW/BY/rt