LENS (Learning Enhanced through the Nature of Science) is an inter-disciplinary professional development program designed to develop science content knowledge, pedagogical skills, assessment literacy, and peer coaching capacity among Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) high school teachers of Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The project is a partnership between Old Dominion University (ODU), Tidewater Community College (TCC), the College of William and Mary (W&M), and VBCPS.
The Center is collaborating with faculty from the Darden College of Education at Old Dominion and faculty from such institutions as Clemson University, Kent State University, University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth, and University of Minnesota with the expressed goal to help students graduate on time with the skills and dispositions necessary to successfully enter the workforce or pursue higher education.
TEAMS (Teaching, Education and Awareness for Military-connected Students) is an interdisciplinary initiative to ensure that practicing educators and those new to the profession have the awareness, knowledge, and evidence-based competencies needed to maximize learning for students of military families. By augmenting and facilitating the missions of other agencies and programs, we ensure every military child is educated in military conscious schools by individuals who are well prepared to effectively respond to the unique learning and social-emotional needs of military-connected children. Current initiatives include collaboration with foundations and agencies to offer workshops and conferences, ongoing assessment projects (e.g., Mil-CAT), and the offering of a 12 credit graduate certificate program.
Investing in Innovation (i3)
The project focuses on providing students in high-need middle schools with increased access to rigorous and engaging coursework in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) using a scaled-up implementation of a proven cooperative learning model in mathematics instruction, called STAD-Math. The project also focuses on teachers by incorporating an innovative, high-quality, multi-tiered approach to professional development that employs school-based math coaching, an online platform to promote a sense of community, and teacher-made videos of their own practices.
The use of technology plays a key role in providing professional development to mathematics teachers in rural and urban areas across the nation in a highly cost-effective way, linking them together in a professional learning community to promote sustainability. Desired outcomes include statistically significant improvements in math achievement among students by the third year of implementation and closing achievement gaps for limited English proficient students and those with disabilities. The project is designed to serve 135,000 students in 185 high need middle schools across the U.S. over a 5 year period.