140 COMMONWEALTH AVENUE
CHESTNUT HILL,MA 02467
Non Technical Summary
Purpose Our proposed work directly address the SPECA program need area of Curriculum Development, Instructional Delivery Systems and Expanding Student Career Opportunities. We are proposing an educational program to bring a farming experience to within the school by creating an interdisciplinary hydroponic science curriculum for urban schools. Audience We are focusing our efforts in areas of the northeast that have high minority populations and lower income areas in the towns and cities in and around Lawrence, MA, Boston, MA, and Providence, Rhode Island. We have chosen these three areas because they have high percentages of recent immigrants and minority students. Products We will develop curriculum materials that are correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards that teachers can utilize their own classrooms. We will also generate guidelines that can be used by other projects to design their own professional development programs. We will develop an on-line presence where teachers can share best practices and youth can view short video career discernment vignettes of people in the food and agriculture field. Outcome/Impact In total we will impact around 9000 - 10,000 urban youth and 90 teachers over the three years of this grant. We have designed a rigorous internal research agenda and external evaluation to determine the efficacy of our program. We will be able to make strong claims regarding how our program has improved youth interest in science, STEM and agriculture related careers, as well as their understanding of the scientific inquiry process.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
Create a hydroponics program for high-school science classrooms that engages urban, minority students in conducting scientific research investigations in food production.Implement a professional development program to support teachers in conducting scientific and mathematical inquiry around the growth of food with their students.Scale our program where each site location will train up to 10 new teachers per year. Therefore, at the end of three years we will have trained70-90 teachers across the northeast.Engage teachers as peer mentors where teachers with more experience with hydroponics will help support new teachers as they join the program.Train high-school teachers on the scientific and technological aspects of hydroponics through an intensive one-week summer institute and a set of five follow-up professional development workshops during the year for a total of 45 direct contact hours with teachers.Develop a set of hydroponic-based curriculum materials that support teachers in how to conduct rigorous scientific research, support learning about science careers, the chemistry, physics, physiology of plant growth, and economics of indoor hydroponic crop production.Develop a set of mini-vignettes and videos of individuals across the food industry and their career discernment process and how learning/knowing science helped them to succeed. We will choose a wide range of individuals including chefs, greenhouse managers, urban farmers, etc... as students tend to have traditional or stereotypical views of agricultural careers (Fraze, Rutherford, Wingenbach, & Wolfskill, 2011).Conduct rigorous research and evaluation of both the teacher training and the impact on student interest in science, and their intentions to pursue a STEM and/or agricultural-based career. To that end, our research and evaluation designs will enable us to conduct rigorous pre-post assessments of program participation on student interest, knowledge, and intentions to pursue STEM and agricultural-related careers. In addition, our research and evaluation designs will allow us to measure the impact of teacher implementation on these constructs by examining what aspects of the curriculum teachers utilize in their classrooms. In this way, our research and evaluation goes beyond pre-post measures but our findings will be able to inform other program designers regarding what aspects of the program are most critical in terms of maximizing positive impact on youth outcomes (see research and evaluation sections for the details).
Given the interdisciplinary nature of our proposed work, we have brought together a diverse set of experts from a range of organizations, including the Lynch School of Education at Boston College (Dr. Barnett-Science Educator), Dr. Jameson Chace a biology professor at Salve Regina University, and Ms. Lindsey Cotter-Hayes, who directs the educational agriculture program at Groundworks-Lawrence. We have also recruited numerous businesses to help support the proposed work (see letters - matching funds) and have garnered support and interest from many schools (see letters) in the Boston Public School system, surrounding districts, and Boston's assistant superintendent's office for English Language Learners. Dr. Barnett will be the overall lead for the project and will work closely with graduate students from Boston College to support the roll-out and implementation of the materials. The graduate students will help to coordinate the recruitment of teachers, co-lead the curriculum development, and oversee the making of the hydroponic kits for teachers. In addition, the graduate students will ensure that the research instruments are administered and will lead the analysis of the data under the supervision of Dr. Barnett. Dr. David Blustein will be leading the career-development aspects of the project and will supervise a graduate student as they lead the development of the video vignettes and the Career Case studies that will be in the curriculum. Dr. Chace is the team's biology expert and will lead the Rhode Island (and southern Massachusetts) implementation and will ensure that all materials are scientifically accurate and that the scientifically methodologies utilized are appropriate. Ms. Cotter-Hayes will lead the northern Massachusetts implementation of the project. Ms. Cotter-Hayes also has extensive experience in agriculture and works closely with a number of urban farms and will ensure that our curriculum materials are providing the skills and knowledge that local area farms need. Dr. Silva Mangiante has significant experience in working with minority youth and is a science and math educator. Dr. Silva Mangiante will work with Dr. Barnett and Dr. Chace on the curriculum materials and professional development trainings. To manage our work, we will form teams with overlapping project staff. This structure will allow for an open flow of information and will ensure that work on one team is complementary and supportive of work on another team. We will form a leadership team that will consist of the project PIs, external evaluator, and two lead teachers (who will be co-teach the summer programs). The leadership team will formally meet six times per year with the goals of examining the progress of the work, examining the evidence team's data and the internal formative evaluative research, and evaluating the future direction of the project. Specifically, Dr. Barnett and Dr. Chace will lead the curriculum development team. As the leader of the development team, Dr. Barnett in collaboration with Dr. Chace and Dr. Mangiante will oversee the pedagogical design and teacher supports that will be embedded into the curriculum and the design and implementation of the supportive technology. All project staff will work closely with our external evaluator and Dr. Barnett to ensure that the research and evaluation instruments have sufficient content validity and that the data are collected and analyzed. Our external evaluator, Dr. Jacqueline DeLisi from EDC, will also work with our research team to ensure that our internal research aspects of the project are not over-taxing the students or teachers.