MDN: U of M Receives Grant To Improve Science Education
The University of Memphis has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to help improve science instruction for English learners.
The five-year grant from the U.S. Education Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition was awarded to the U of M’s Center for Research in Educational Policy for “LASER Focused: A Model for Teaching Inquiry-Based Science to English Learners.”
According to information from the U of M, research shows that inquiry-based science instruction is particularly effective for English learners because the hands-on method can make science more accessible while also helping to develop language skills.
The goal of LASER Focused is to create a research-based, systemic initiative using a series of interventions over a five-year period to improve inquiry-based science instruction for English learners in 18 public schools in Denver and Aurora, Colorado.
CREP director Marty Alberg, and principal investigator for the project, said in a statement. “The findings from this study will impact educational policy and practice at the national level.”
Dr. Christine Bertz, research assistant professor, is co-principal investigator.
The proportion of English learners enrolled in schools in the two Colorado cities is high: 133 different languages are represented by ELs in Aurora Public Schools, and more than 170 languages are represented by students in Denver Public Schools.
The intervention is based on the Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform model developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center. The SSEC is a sub-awardee on the grant and will develop the new EL materials, then train facilitators to provide professional development to 225 teachers in Denver and Aurora.