When InSciEd Out expanded their science education program from Rochester, Minnesota to the Twin Cities metro a few years ago, they hoped to close the achievement gap in science classrooms across the state. A recent grant offered by the Richard M. Schulze Foundation will help them continue their work toward that goal.
“Taking undergraduate or graduate student volunteers into the classroom to show learners the diversity of science, with the goal for every student to be able to see themselves as scientists is critical in the work we do,” says Greg Sindberg, the manager for InSciEd Out in the Twin Cities and a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. “The funding from the Schulze grant will help to support this endeavor by allowing us to hire an additional staff member to formalize volunteer recruitment and create a training program.”
InSciEd Out works with teachers to enact lessons in the classroom with an eye to training students for 21st-century science. Since starting in Rochester in 2008, students who participated in the program have seen improvements in content knowledge, attitude toward science and participation in the sciences.
In their Twin Cities efforts, the program receives advisory assistance from CBS faculty as well as operational assistance and support staff from the College to help the program run. The $50,000 grant will go to help enhance the program’s volunteer outreach capabilities, building on their early successes since the 2013-14 expansion.
“Our expansion in the Twin Cities to multiple school districts stretched the capabilities of our personnel as well as our volunteer network,” Sindberg says. “Adding additional staff will support establishing a more formalized mentorship program where we prepare and enable our volunteers to be more prepared and successful in the classroom.”
Through these efforts, aided in part by the efforts of CBS faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate volunteers, the InSciEd Out program sees the potential for direct benefits to science educators across the state.
“Our goal as a program is to continue expansion to reach more students and gain more longitudinal data for our program,” says Sindberg. “Each school is unique and requires a personalized relationship as we work with them and support their teachers in this effort.”