Teacher Development Grant 2019-2020 Project Summary
South Plantation High School • Plantation, FL
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) faces an unprecedented number of teachers retiring and the need to orient thousands of new teachers every year. As new teachers join the field, teachers receive less and less time to deepen their knowledge, collaborate with other teachers on shared challenges, and plan their lessons. South Plantation High School’s Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration Program is no exception to this trend. Teachers in this program are dedicated and passionate; however, due to the reduced time for teacher planning, their lessons often overlap or leave gaps in environmental science academic progression. Teachers also do not have the time to update their content knowledge with the latest technological advances, Florida history, or data trends to stay current in their field. Additionally, in the coming year, the school will be adding the Cambridge Environmental Management and Cambridge Global Perspectives curricula keeping with the environmental theme. Through the support of a grant from McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation, South Plantation High School teachers will be able to obtain updated professional development and create a comprehensive Environmental Science Pathway for students. The participating teachers will form an Environmental Science and Everglades Restoration Professional Learning Community (PLC). The pathway will be guided by the central theme of finding solutions to protect the planet.
The grant will allow teachers the time to work collaboratively with their peers to identify common student challenges, develop shared goals for the pathway, gain the skills needed to implement these goals, revise and enhance pathway curriculum and lessons, and refine the curriculum based on student outcomes. The guiding themes for Pathway will include:
1) Reduction of Carbon Footprint – Individual, Organizational, and National
2) Water Issues: Sea level rising, Water matters (South Florida Water Management), and Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)
3) Human Population Issues – Overpopulation’s Impact on the Environment, Resiliency Architecture, and Harmful Algal Blooms
The teachers will benefit from an environmental advisory committee to be made up of local, expert scientists. Experts serving on the advisory committee will provide insights on industry standards allowing for improved alignment with the curriculum. Members could include representatives from the Nature Conservancy, Advanced Green Technologies, Power Panel, AECOM (a top-ranked engineering design firm), South Florida Water Management, the Everglades Foundation (K-12 curriculum), the Youth Leadership Council, and Broward College (faculty from their Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Science). Teachers will gain up-to-date data, current trends, and technological solutions first hand and students would benefit from presentations from these experts. The teachers will also participate in professional learning through the attendance at local and regional conferences hosted by organizations such as the Everglades Coalition (a group of environmental nonprofit organizations), GEAR (a group of scientific agencies), National Science Conference and National Service Learning. As a result of this focused, comprehensive curriculum development and newly acquired skills obtained by the teachers, students will become more engaged in their coursework and gain industry-identified content knowledge and employability skills.
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