Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

Middle School Receives Petit Family Foundation Grant To Expand Science Program

The Middle School of Plainville has received a $9,550 grant from the Petit Family Foundation to expand its science program, according to Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kathleen Binkowski.

The grant proposal, developed by Middle School Science Instructor David Moore, was based on historical standardized test results and student data reflecting an increasing trend in the development of a lack of interest and confidence in science, particularly for female students. Data also indicated that both male and female students surveyed do not perceive themselves as pursuing a career in science. The science program enhancements, made possible through the grant funding, will address these issues and goals that include improving student interest and engagement in science, improving student self confidence in science, and developing aspirations in students to pursue a career in science.

The program design focuses on getting all students to think and act like scientists through creating learning experiences with real world themes and expanded "hands on" and inquiry based learning. A primary component of the model features students interacting with real world scientists and professional role models from the science field. Role models will work with students to improve interest in science and aspirations to pursue a career in science. One component will be the development of a daily weather forecast by students on a weather website. Mini-weather stations will enable each student to have "hands on" experience using meteorology instruments to forecast the weather.

The first phase of the program implementation will occur during the 2009-10 school year and will include a sixth grade unit on managing a weather station. Year two of the program will include the implementation of a medical science unit for seventh graders and a biotechnology unit for eighth graders.

"I am proud of David Moore and the members of the science department for the development of this grant proposal. It is very forward thinking and meets a critical need in education. We are also extremely grateful to the Petit Family Foundation for their generous support," said Dr. Binkowski

"The stimulus for this program was the interests and roles of my family. My daughter Hayley was very interested in the sciences and intended to explore a science pre-med major at Dartmouth, Jennifer was an RN and Michaela hoped to help animals, perhaps as a veterinarian. The Board of the Petit Family Foundation strongly believes that we need to support education in the sciences in middle school, a time when students traditionally lose interest in this area, especially the girls. We hope that Mr. Moore’s program will serve as a starting point to award similar grants in other schools in the years to come," stated Petit Family Foundation Board of Directors President, Dr. William A. Petit, Jr.

-Posted on August 13, 2009 at 02:27 PM

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