(Karen Wink / American Press)
Southwest Charter School teacher Jasmine Goodly builds a trap for sowbugs from a potato during the math and science program Tuesday at Prien Lake Elementary School. (Karen Wink / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 11:52 AM
Thirty-five Calcasieu teachers gathered in Prien Lake Elementary School’s library Tuesday for the final week of a special math- and science-focused summer program for third- and fourth-grade teachers.
The program is a part of the district’s three-year federal Math Science Partnership Grant, which is a part of the national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics initiative. This is the final year of the grant.
Teachers from 15 schools are participating in the three-week program, including teachers from both Lake Charles Charter Academy and Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy.
The teachers meet at Prien Lake Elementary each morning for math lessons, and afternoons are usually spent taking field trips and doing science experiments. Sessions are taught by McNeese State University professors.
The teachers have traveled to Tuten Park, PPG Nature Lab, Henderson Swamp and the National Wetlands Research Center as part of the program.
Participating teachers also commit to meeting at least five times throughout the school year for further training and follow-up as part of the grant.
Laura Phenice, a curriculum coordinator at R.W. Vincent Elementary and a master teacher for the camp, wrote the grant for the camp.
“I’ve been a science teacher for 18 years. I saw the need for it in the district, in my own experience and my children’s, who at that time were in elementary school,” Phenice said.
She said her role as a master teacher is to “bridge the gap.”
“We make the connection between academics and the classroom,” she said. “The professors teach college-level subject matter. We take it and present activities and lessons that teachers can take back to their classrooms and do.”
“We are increasing the teacher’s content knowledge and producing more confident teachers,” added Kathie Rose, the math master teacher.
Each year the program shifts its area of focus within the math and science subjects. This year the program is focusing on life science and algebra and data. Previous years have covered physical science, space, geometry, measurement and number-to-number relations.
Phenice said organizers try to cater the program to meet the needs of the teachers.
Wendy Brown, a third-grade teacher at Maplewood Middle School, has been a part of the program for all three years.
“We’re learning real-life activities that align with the Common Core. We’re doing a lot of stuff, data analysis, graphing,” she said. “Doing these activities myself will help me teach my students. When students do hands-on activities they take ownership and they can remember and recall the information.”
Similar programs funded by the Math Science Partnership Grant are also ongoing in the district for fifth- and eighth-grade teachers.