GCPS Teachers Give Up Time during the Summer to Learn

Teachers from Randolph spent their summer in an innovative program designed to change how science is taught across Virginia.

Elizabeth Ferguson and Sara Rowan were selected for the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA), which kicked off with a four-week Elementary Science Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

RES teacher Elizabeth Ferguson at work in the institute (Photo credit: Lawson Craighill)

Funded by a $34m grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the program is intended to shift science instruction from the traditional teacher-led classroom to a hands-on, problem-based learning lab.

Teachers are also awarded a $5,000 stipend, $1,000 for classroom supplies, and an all-expense-paid trip to the Virginia Association of Science Teachers Professional Development Institute in the fall.  Additionally, each teacher is assigned a master teacher to provide mentoring throughout the school year.

VISTA also offers free professional development for new middle and high school scienceteachers, and district science coordinators.