The proposed project by the American Physiological Society (APS) will develop, test, and disseminate three program models designed to promote excellence in science education and that are fully aligned with the New Generation Science Education Standards: 1) Six Star Science Online Teacher (OT) Professional Development Program;2) Frontiers in Physiology Research and Community Leader (RCL) Fellowship;and 3) Regional Professional Learning Communities (RPLCs). Each model is focused on improving science education at the local level in line with state and national standards, building connections between teachers and scientists engaged in NIH research, engaging participants in "Communities of Practice", and building awareness of and interest in biomedical careers among middle and high school students. The OT Program will engage 30 middle/high school teachers annually in a year-long online professional development program that will increase their use of Six Star Science/student- centered teaching methods that build students'knowledge and skills in science and their understanding of the role of biomedical research in their lives and careers. The online program will reach teachers in both urban and rural areas and from all school types. The RCL Fellowship will offer 15 teachers annually an opportunity to engage in a summer of hands-on biomedical research with APS members, and gain leadership skills that they will use at workshops and in online communities with colleagues. The RPLC program will work with APS regional/state chapters to help them partner with K-12 teachers in their areas on both the regular activities of the chapter, including their annual meetings, and on building a regional community of practice that shares information and perspectives on both science and education. Resources and materials from all programs will be freely available through the APS website and the APS digital library, the Archive of Teaching Resources (www.apsarchive.org). Program evaluation will focus on impacts on teacher learning and the use of Six Star Science strategies in the classroom, as well as teacher and researcher ongoing participation in the APS Effective Science Teaching online communities.
The APS Frontiers in Physiology programs provide middle and high school teachers, their students, and the general public opportunities to learn about the important contributions that both basic and clinical research make to public health. Through the research and professional development experiences of teachers in the program, they become knowledgeable advocates for the importance of both types of research to our understanding of the human body in both health and disease, and our development of both treatments and prevention of disease and injury. The products developed through the project will be freely accessible online to teachers, students, and the general public in free, easy to access formats and will be promoted via the APS website and the National Science Digital Library.