An Innovative Approach to Promoting Success for At-Risk Students: The Partnership Enhancement Program

  • Yopp, John (PI)

    Grants and Contracts Details


    I. PROPOSAL SUMMARY The University of Kentucky (UK) Partnership Institute for Mathematics and Science Education Reform (PIMSER), a center dedicated to the development, dissemination, and implementation of science and mathematics education improvement initiatives, fosters long-term partnerships across academic levels to facilitate education reform. Three core concepts of partnership are critical to success: collaborative project development, mutually beneficial exchange, and integration and engagement of higher education faculty and K-12 teachers from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines across K-16 levels. A founding purpose of PIMSER was to sustain best practices emerging from the five-year $24.5 million Appalachian Mathematics and Science Partnership project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). A novel model piloted in Year 2, the Partnership Enhancement Program (PEP), has attracted growing local and national interest for its potential to empower school districts to take authentic ownership of school improvement initiatives. The PEP approach contrasts starkly with current iarge "top- down" K-12 STEM education reform models. This program supports year-long collaborations of K-12 school districts and postsecondary faculty to address locally identified STEM education challenges. Each school district and its faculty partner(s) design and develop locally implemented projects to address those needs. After five rounds of collaboration in rural schools, external evaluators have found the PEP to be effective in removing or reducing school-specific barriers to student achievement, specifically improving student achievement data, facilitating the growth of professional leaming communities, improving assessment and data-driven practices in schools and districts, and empowering teachers through pivotal leadership roles in designing and implementing reform projects. The purpose of the proposed Toyota USA Foundation-PEP is to establish a new consortium of academic and community partners in central and northern Kentucky to test the transferability of this unique model from rural to urban districts. Funds would support approximately 12 Toyota USA Foundation-PEP partnership projects in schools across both regions. This initiative will develop faculty partners from regional colleges and university and teachers from schools identified by partner P-16 Councils. Target outcomes are to build school leadership and capacity to address local challenges using school-specific data to drive reform efforts, to engage higher education faculty from STEM content and education disciplines into district-level problem-solving, and to enhance higher education faculty pedagogy and awareness of K-12 education challenges.
    Effective start/end date9/1/088/31/10


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