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Pllanning for the New Elementary Science Program It is a bact; plan that admits of no modification. Publilius Syrus, Maxim 469, circa 42 B.C. Planning is the process by which school districts determine how they are going to bring inquiry- centered science to their students. A structured planning process acts as a catalyst to change by focusing on the needs of students and teachers and the best ways of serving them. By planning care- fully, school districts have a greater chance of successfully imple . . mentlng t ae science program. The planning process begins with people. As Robert Evans, an expert in strategic planning writes, " [Most people] treat reform as a product and, focusing on its structural frame, often overlook its human face. But change must be accomplished by people.... To do this, we must broaden our perspective on change and re- think the essentials of leaclership."~ Getting Started: Identifying the Stakeholders A core of committed people who are concerned about the status of science education in their district often band together to initi 39

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Building a Foundation for Change ate a reform effort. They are sometimes called stakeholders, be- cause they have a "stake" in the success of the program. Often the stakeholders are spurred on by a leader who has a vision of quali- ty science education for all children en c] would like to see it be- come the districtwide norm. The planning process begins when the stakeholders come together to form a leadership team that will spearhead the reform. Who are the stakeholders in a typical community? They may include the following: Parents are an invaluable resource because they are invested in their chil~lren's education. Parents will work hard to create an im- proved science program if they are convinced that it's in their chil- dren's best interest. Some parents may bring to the reform effort expertise in a certain area, such as proposal writing. Parents may also serve as a link between the school and community organiza- tions that can be enlisted to support science education reform. Teachers have the job of nurturing chilciren's natural curiosity and facilitating the inquiry-centered program. It's essential that they be included in discussions about the program and involved in decision making. At the start, many may not feel comfortable teaching inquiry-centered science. To cope with this situation, it's important to begin by identifying teachers who are familiar with inquiry-centerecl science en cl including them in the planning ef- fort. This group of teachers can then work with those teachers who are less familiar with teaching through inquiry. School administrators (principals and assistant principals) manage the school; their support is critical to the implementation of a new science program. Principals en cl their staff oversee teachers and provide opportunities for them to improve their teaching. Because principals work so closely with teachers, it's essential that principals understand all that is involved in teaching inquiry-centered science and be willing to support teachers in their efforts to develop ex- pertise in this area. Principals may also be asked to explain, or even justify, the science program to parents, who view principals as their contact point in the schools. The more supportive principals are, the more likely the success of the reform effort. The school district science coordinator or specialist coordinates all aspects of the science curriculum. These indivicluals are usually fa 40

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program miliar with current research in science education, as well as with strategies for bringing about change in elementary science. In many school districts nationwide, science coordinators have spear- headed the reform effort. The superintendent has tremendous influence over any district program. For example, each year he or she has the ability to allo- cate funds to initiate or expand the science program during the annual budget cycle. Tf the superintendent is convinced of the need for an inquiry-centerec3 science program, success is likely. The superintendent is also in regular contact with the Board of Ed- ucation en c! can take responsibility for keeping board members in- formed about the implementation process. Members of the business community can form partnerships with school districts and assist with the reform effort by providing fi- nancial support for establishing a materials center or purchasing curriculum modules. They also may give interested employees time off from their job responsibilities so that they can assist school districts with their reform efforts. Scientists and engineers from college and university faculties, in- dustry, government laboratories, and science museums have a spe- cial interest in the scientific literacy of the next generation. They can help with the reform effort in many different ways, including assisting in professional development programs for teachers, re- viewing curriculum materials, en c! becoming community advo- cates for the program. Stakeholders may be spurred to action by many different fac- tors. For example, parents, concerned about the quality of science teaching in their child's school, may bring this issue to the atten- tion of other parents as well as to teachers and administrators. Or through experience, teachers may come to see that "learning through doing" is the most effective way to teach science. These like-mindec3 teachers may begin talking to each other and to their principals, thus starting a chain reaction that results in the forma- tion of a leadership team. In some cases, a superintendent may convene a task force to assess the status of the district's current sci- ence program. Finally, a university scientist or corporate leader, clisappointed in the quality of recent graduates, may begin to work closely with local school districts to improve science teaching in 41

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Building a Foundation for Change the schools. These and many other scenarios can initiate a major science education reform project. Understanding the Risks of Change Before proceeding to the next step in the planning process, it's im- portant for leaders in the district to be aware that change is not ac- complishecl without some controversy and dissent. Researchers have fount! that people go through at least six stages as they are in- troduced to an innovation and asked to participate in its execu- tion.2 Typically, people start out feeling detached en cl uncon- cerned about the proposer! change. They then begin to want to know more about the change and become concerned about how it will affect them personally. More people may be willing to try the innovation at this stage, but they often fee] unsure about the change and their ability to be successful at it. As time passes, an even greater number of people become committed to the effort and see themselves as important players. At the beginning of a reform effort, people in the district will be at different stages of the change process. Some people may im- mecliately recognize the importance of the project and be really to be team players and collaborators. Other people may be more re- sistant to change and less interested in becoming involved; some people may even be opposed to the project. The leaclership team should be prepared to accept this reality en c! to meet different stakeholders at a level where they feel comfortable. By knowing "who's who" in the district, the leader can set a realistic pace en cl bring on those who are ready first, while giving the others more time to become familiar with the innovation. In a process such as this, it's impossible to convince everyone that inquiry-centered sci- ence is worth pursuing. A more realistic goal is to bring in enough people who represent the stakeholders to create a "critical mass" of indivicluals cledicated to the reform. Organizing the Leadership Team In forming the leadership team, it's important that all the stake- holders be represented, but it's equally important that there be an appropriate balance of team members. An effective leadership team might consist of the school district science coordinator, the 42

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, an expe- rienced elementary school teacher, an elementary school princi- pal, and a scientist from the local community. Although establishing a new science education program is a team effort, the team does need a strong leader. This person must be knowledgeable about elementary school science and how school bureaucracies operate. It's also helpful if the leader has a track recorc! working in groups charged with builcling consensus around a shared vision. The ability to develop a vision anc3 convey it to others is an essential quality of leadership. "Vision grabs," write Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus in their book Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charged "Initially it grabs the leader, Who then is able to get the] attention tof] others Eso that they] also get on the bandwagon." Furthermore, vision "animates, inspirits, trans- forms purpose into action." This kincl of energy is essential to en- gage the leadership team in the complex planning process need- ed to put a new science program in place. A Three-Step Strategic Planning Process With the formation of a leadership team and the development of a shared vision, team members now must engage in an intensive strategic planning process. There is a growing body of literature about the planning process, and several useful sources are includ- ed at the end of this chapter. The essence of this process involves three steps. I. Perform a needs assessment. This step consists of becom- ing informed about the status of the current science program in the district (i.e., the internal environment) and then about what is going on elsewhere and what resources are available (i.e., the ex- ternal environment). Through the internal assessment, the district needs to focus on questions such as, How much inquiry-centered science is already going on in the district? Are teachers and ad- ministrators interested in pursuing inquiry-centered science? Have students been enthusiastic about inquiry-centered science? During the external assessment, the team should do extensive re- search on inquiry-centere(1 science. Issues that need to be consid- ered at this stage include what state frameworks are already in place, the National Science Education Standards, the kinds of cur 43

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Building a Foundation for Change riculum modules available, opportunities for professional devel- opment programs, strategies for establishing a science materials support system, and opportunities for building support in the community. A subcommittee approach to the needs-assessment phase is described in the following section, "Planning Sten by Sten." ~ ~ , , I. Articulate a cusmct~cre vision tor an effective science program. The committee must articulate a vision that reflects the unique val- ues and beliefs of its district. The vision is the framework around which the reform effort is developed. The vision leaLls to goal statements, which are the foundation for the strategic plan. For ex- ample, a goal statement might be "Transform the teaching of sci ence to communicate the excitement or relevance of science" or "Form collaborative and sustainable partnerships between school districts and local corporations." The goal statements provide a sense of direction and identify the discrepancies between where the district is and where it wants to be. Teachers, administrators, and community activists engage in the strategic planning process, an essential step in ensuring the success of an inquiry-centered science program. 44

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program 3. Produce a s~ateg~c plan. The strategic plan is a five-year plan for each of the five critical elements of a science program (i.e., curriculum, professional development, materials support, as- sessment, and administrative and community support). In ac3di- tion to defining long-term goals, the plan identifies yearly targets for each element. PIanning Step by Step To create a strategic plan, a school district must go through each phase of the strategic planning process for each element of its pro- gram. An effective way to proceed is to divide the leadership team into several subcommittees and to assign a chairperson for each group. Each chairperson has the responsibility of recruiting an ad- ditional five to seven people to serve on the subcommittee. Each subcommittee's job is to develop a plan for its element, using the three-step strategic planning process described in the preceding section as a guide. As each subcommittee works, it's cru- cial that the whole committee meet regularly so that its members do not lose sight of the interdependent nature of their endeavor. The following paragraphs describe each subcommittee's role in the planning process. These descriptions are meant to serve as examples of strategies that some school districts have found effec- tive. The message implicit in each description is to proceed care- fully. For example, most school districts c30 not start by purchasing a full set of science curriculum modules all at once; instead, they may begin by pilot testing one moclule per grade level. The teach- ers and the committee can then meet to review the results of these trials and make a joint decision about the logical next step. The same principle applies to the other four elements. As commitment to the program grows, so should investment in each of the pro- gram's ctistinctive elements. Curriculum Subcommittee The work of this subcommittee is twofold to investigate the ex- tent to which inquiry-centered science is currently being taught in the district and to identify curriculum materials that reflect the in- quiry-centered philosophy. To find out what is going on in the dis- trict, subcommittee members may visit classrooms and contact 45

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Building a Foundation for Change principals. In the process, they may find teachers who are already teaching inquiry-centered science and would be interested in be- coming involved in the reform effort. In this way, the leadership team can expand its base of support. The next phase of this group's work, learning about the in- quiry-centered materials that are available, is more complex and will probably take more time. The first step is for the subcommit- tee to become familiar with the National Science Education Stan- dards and to consider how their goals align with local curriculum goals. From that point, there are many ways to look for available curriculum materials. For example, if the group knows of a district that already has an inquiry-centered science program in place, a few representatives could visit that district and observe classrooms, review curriculum materials, and meet with teachers and adminis- trators familiar with inquiry-centered science. In addition, several organizations, such as the National Sci- ence Resources Center (NSRC), the Education Development Cen- ter, and the Lawrence Hall of Science, can provide information about inquiry-centered science curriculum materials. (Information about these and other organizations can be found in Appendix A.) After gathering this information and sharing it with the whole leadership team, the subcommittee might develop a cur- riculum matrix. The curriculum matrix is the framework for all that is taught in the science program. It's sometimes divided into sub- categories, such as life science, earth science, physical science, and technology. The curriculum matrix should provide a sequence of learning within each category that enables students to build on previous learning and prepare them for subsequent explorations. The matrix for the NSRC's Science and Technology for Children (STC) program is shown in Figure ~1. As a way to begin developing the curriculum matrix, the sub- committee might decide to purchase a few sample modules and to pilot them in selected classrooms. This approach enables the sub- committee to offer the teachers it has identified as interested and informed during its initial research the opportunity to teach the modules and have some input into curriculum decisions. Figure ~ shows a sample sequence for the curriculum segment of the strategic plan. 46

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program Sequence of STC Units - Organisms Weather Solids and Liquids Comparing and Measuring 2 The Life Cycle of Butterflies Soils Changes Balancing and Weighing 3 Plant Growth and Development Rocks and Minerals Chemical Tests Sound 4 Animal Studies Land and Water Electric Circuits Motion and Design 5 Microworlds Ecosystems Food Chemistry Floating and Sinking 6 Experiments with Plants Measuring Time Magnets and Motors The Technology of Paper Figure 4-1. Curriculum matrix for the NSRC's Science and Technology for Children program Professional Development Subcommittee The first step for this group is to learn about the professional de- velopment program, sometimes called in-service education, for teachers currently in place in the district. How many days per teacher has the district allocated for in-service education? Is any time set aside specifically for science? Is there a way to incorporate the professional development needs for teaching science into the existing program? Has the group identified any principals who are particularly enthusiastic about the possibility of a new science pro- gram? If so, would any of them be willing to use some faculty meet- ing time for professional development purposes? Once the cleci- sion has been made to purchase some kits for pilot testing, this 47

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Building a Foundation for Change Strategic Plan for Curriculum Visit classrooms and principals. Identify interested and informed teachers. Identify available inquiry- centered curriculum materials. Visit classrooms in districts already implementing inquiry- centered science. Organize a curriculum committee to begin work on the district's curriculum matrix. Select teachers, resources, and grades for pilot testing. Conduct pilot testing. Review pilot results and make recommendations. Figure 4-2 subcommittee must ensure that time is allocateci to prepare teach- ers adequately for introducing the new curriculum units. Lack of sufficient time for professional development is an on- going issue for inquiry-centered elementary science programs. Therefore, program directors need to be creative in fintling ways to address the issue. For example, teachers could use the time they have while their students are attending art, music, or physical ed 48

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program ucation for professional development efforts; arrange to have sci- ence when an experienced colleague can visit the class to assist; or invite parent volunteers to assist with materials management so that the teacher has more time to devote to working with students on substantive issues. Figure 4~3 shows a sample plan for the pro- fessional development element. Strategic Plan for Professional Development Become familiar with current professional development . . . actlvltles. Identify interested principals and lead teachers. Introduce staff to inquiry- centered science through formal and informal presentations. Coordinate professional development activities with pilot testing. Establish a short-term professional development plan. Identify outside sources for professional development opportunities. Establish a long-term professional development plan. Figure 4-3 ~ ... . . ~ 49 _

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Building a Foundation for Change . Materials Support Subcommittee This subcommittee has the responsibility of determining how to sum ply teachers with the materials they need to teach each of the mod- ules in the science curriculum. This group will benefit greatly from a trip to an establishecl science materials support center. Some of these science materials centers are consortia that serve more there one school district. If the district is near an establishecl materials center, the subcommittee may want to consider creating a consortium. The subcommittee can also seek help from local business and Industry leaders in designing an effective science materials sup- port center. For example, local engineers may be willing to evalu- ate the situation and develop a plan that meets the particular needs of the school district. Whatever approach is taken, it's cru- cial for school districts to begin thinking about materials support at the very beginning of the planning process and to be prepared to provide science materials to teachers on schedule, even at the pilot stage. Figure 44 shows a plan for this key element. Strategic Plan for Science Materials Support Visit an established materials support center. Determine district's initial materials support needs. Consult with local business and industry leaders. Develop a long-term plan for effective science materials support. Figure 4-4 50

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program Assessment Subcommittee Although new strategies for assessing student learning may not be introclucecl right away, it's important to begin thinking about as- sessment early in the planning process as preliminary decisions about curriculum are being made. Like the curriculum group, this subcommittee may want to find out whether anyone in the district is using alternative assessments, such as performance-based assess- ments or portfolios (a collection of student work viewed as samples of student learning) in any of the subject areas. Some teachers in the district may be knowlecigeable about this subject and willing to share their expertise. It's essential that the assessment subcommit- tee remain in touch with the curriculum group and be familiar with the curriculum decisions that are being made. Program assessment is as important as individual student as- sessment. Program managers must establish targets to ascertain whether the program is moving along on course. To accomplish this, program managers can design rubrics that chart where the program started ([eve! O) and where it is on the roac3 to complete implementation ([eve] 5~. The rubrics are a way to assess the suc- cess of the program and to ensure that intermediate goals are met. Figure t5 outlines a sample plan for this element. Administrative and Community Support Subcommittee This subcommittee is charged with three tasks developing a bud- get for the new science program, securing funds, and building awareness of the value of science reform within the school system and the community. In developing the budget, the subcommittee needs to work with the school administrator responsible for budget planning. It should consider the following issues: The initial cost of science kits The costs of consumable materials needed to refurbish the kits Salaries for people who refurbish the kits Expenses associated with the ongoing professional develop- ment of teachers 51

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Building a Foundation for Change Strategic Plan for Assessment Classroom Assessment Become familiar with performance- based approaches to science assessment. Identify teachers knowledgeable about alternative assessments. Conduct pilot testing with an emphasis on alternative assessments. Review results of pilot testing and make recommendations for incorporation into the districtwide assessment plan. t ~ Prepare teachers for implementation of districtwide plan. Program Assessment Establish rubrics for each element of the program. Use rubrics to ensure that target goals are met. Figure 4-5 52

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program Once initial financial estimates have been made, the subcom- mittee needs to consider funding sources. In some school districts, the superintendent can use some of the money set aside for text- books to purchase science kits. School districts can apply to the U.S. Department of Education's Eisenhower Professional Development Program for funding for professional development activities. Even with these options, however, most school districts find they neecl aclditional funds to establish and maintain an inquiry-centered science program. Therefore, it's important to forge partnerships with influential people in the community, such as corporate execu- tives and university scientists. Corporate sponsors can offer their ex- pertise in planning and organizing programs as well as financial as- sistance with certain parts of the program, such as the startup of the science materials center. Universities can make in-kind contribu- tions, such as providing space for the science materials center. Because community involvement will lead to a stronger pro- gram, this subcommittee would be wise to begin "spreading the word" about the program. One way to begin this effort is to have someone from this subcommittee make presentations at meetings of local business and civic organizations. Or someone may write an article for a local publication. Some school districts have found it helpful to hold a "Family Science Night," where the whole family comes to school and works on an inquiry-centered science activity together, in conjunction with a meeting of a local parent-teacher organization. Figure t6 shows a sample plan for this element of the program. The Importance of Flexibility As the district becomes more involved in reform, the planning team may find that it has to modify its original plans as a result of unforeseen circumstances. Flexibility is key. Although the plan provides a much-needed blueprint for action and a clear path to follow, it's impossible to unclerstand all the variables until the pro- gram is actually in place. Figure ~7 (see pages 57-59) shows a completed strategic plan, with all of the five elements laid out on one chart. It shows clearly how the parts are connected and how many different activ- ities are taking place simultaneously. 53

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Building a Foundation for Change Strategic Plan for Administrative and Community Support Budget Issues Establish a budget for the program considering the following: -Initial cost of science kits -Costs of refurbishing kit -Salaries for refurbishing staff - Expenses for professional development Consider additional funding sources. Networking Activities Make presentations at local business and civic organizations. Hold a Family Science Night in conjunction with the local parent-teacher organization. Begin forging partnerships with business leaders and university scientists. Establish multiple partnerships with stakeholders. Figure 4-6 54

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program The Power of the Committee The Hinsdale School District in Illinois discovered that the inspira- tion provided by a committed science supervisor and her science committee was indeed what it took to bring inquiry-centered sci- ence to its students. Here's how it happened. Mary Kelly, science supervisor for the dis- trict, became interested in inquiry-centered science in the early 1 980s after studying some of the recent research about how chil- dren learn. She brought this information to the attention of some of the principals in the district and the superintendent, who en- couraged Kelly to identify some school districts that had put these ideas into practice. Kelly got in touch with Emma Walton, then sci- ence supervisor in Anchorage, Alaska, and Larry Small of the neigh- boring Schaumburg School District in Illinois. Her discussions with Walton and Small helped Kelly realize the value of using science kits as the basis for the inquiry-centered science program.With their encouragement, Kelly found the courage to consider abandoning textbooks altogether in favor of a modular, kit-based program. But there were obstacles to overcome.The school board saw no reason to make any changes, because the district's test scores were fine.At that point, Kelly called together a committee of scientists to help promote the idea of an inquiry-centered science program. Sci- entists know that offering children inquiry-centered experiences at an early age increases the probability that their interest in science will be sustained throughout school. As it turned out, the support of the scientific community was the added spark needed to con- vince the school board to try something new. At this juncture, Kelly faced a roadblock that school districts em- barking on reform today don't have to confront a shortage of high-quality curriculum materials. In the early 1 980s, there were few science modules available for elementary schools. So for Kelly to realize her dream, she and her district had to begin to develop the modules themselves. continued on next page 55

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Building a Foundation for Change The Power of the Committee continued "We began writing the modules and setting up a centralized mate- rials center," recalls Kelly. "We phased in the program over a peri- od of four years. We now have four modules in place for each grade [K-63. I conduct the teacher training program for all the teachers using these curriculum materials." Although Hinsdale continues to use the modules they developed and wrote, most educators advise school districts not to embark on this time-consuming, difficult endeavor. Fortunately, districts can instead use one of several commercial curriculum projects that are consonant with the National Science Education Standards. Over the past several years, Hinsdale's program has reached out to neighboring districts; now 10 districts use the science modules and receive supplies from the Hinsdale materials center."lt has proven more cost-effective for districts to join us rather than start their own programs," says Kelly. Although Hinsdale has a successful program in place, Kelly knows her work is not done. "The science committee is active again," says Kelly. "Our next goal is working on staff development so that teach- ers can develop more sophisticated techniques to use in inquiry- centered classrooms." 56

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program Strategic Plan for the Elementary Science Program Curriculum Visit classrooms and principals. Identify interested and informed teachers. Identify available inquiry- centered curriculum materials. Visit classrooms in districts already implementing inquiry- centered science. Organize a curriculum committee to begin work on the district's curriculum matrix. Select teachers, resources, and grades for pilot testing. Conduct pilot testing. Review pilot results and make recommendations. Professional Development Become familiar with current professional development activities. Identify interested principals and lead teachers. Introduce staff to inquiry- centered science through formal and informal presentations. Coordinate professional development activities with pilot testing. Figure 4-7 continued on next page 57

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Building a Foundation for Change Strategic Plan for the Elementary Science Program continued Establish a short-term professional development plan. Identify outside sources for professional development opportunities. Establish a long-term professional development plan. Science Materials Support Visit an established materials support center. Determine district's initial materials support needs. Consult with local business and industry leaders. Develop a long-term plan for effective science materials support. Assessment Classroom Assessment Become familiar with performance- based approaches to science assessment. Identify teachers knowledgeable about alternative assessments. - Conduct pilot testing with an emphasis on alternative assessments. 58

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Planning for the New Elementary Science Program Review results of pilot testing and make recommendations for incorporation into the districtwide assessment plan. Prepare teachers for implementation of districtwide plan. Program Assessment Establish rubrics for each element of the program. Use rubrics to ensure that target goals are met. Administrative and Community Support Budget Issues Establish a budget for the program considering the following: Initial cost of science kits Costs of refurbishing kits Salaries for refurbishing staff Expenses for professional development Consider additional funding sources. Networking Activities Make presentations at local . . . . . business anc CIVIC OrganlZatlOnS. Hold a Family Science Night in conjunction with the local parent-teacher organization. Begin forging partnerships with business leaders and university scientists. Establish multiple partnerships with stakeholders. 59

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Building a Foundation for Change 1~.~.~.~..~.'..7 To implement an inquiry-centered elementary science program, it is crucial to engage in a step-by-step strategic planning process for each element of the science program. One of the first steps of the planning process is forming a leader- ship team consisting of a school district science coordinator, the as- sistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, an experi- enced elementary school teacher, an elementary school principal, and a scientist from the local community. A strong leader who has the skills to build consensus and articulate the team vision can spur the leadership team to action. The leadership team needs to be aware that most people find change difficult. Furthermore, people in the district will be at dif- ferent stages of the change process, a factor that must be taken into account in setting a time frame for implementing the reform. The result of the planning process is a sample plan for each element and for the whole program. As school districts gain more knowl- edge, they may find it necessary to modify their initial plans. For Further Reading Bennis, W., and B. Nanus. 1985. Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge. New York: HarperPerennial. Evans, R. 1993. "The Human Face of Reform." Educational Leadership 51: 19-23. Gardner, H. 1995. "Limited Visions, Limited Means: Two Obstacles to Meaning- ful Education Reform." Daedalus, journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 124: 101-05. Hord, S. M., W. L. Rutherford, L. Huling-Austin, and G. E. Hall. 1987. Taking Charge of Change. Alexandria, Va.: Association of Supervision and Curricu- lum Development. LeBuffe, T. R. 1994. Hands-on Science in Elementary School. Bloomington, Ind.: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation. National Research Council. 1993. A Nationwide Education Support System for Teach- ers and Schools. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Schlechty, P. C. 1990. Schoolsfor the Twenty-first Century: Leadership Imperatives forEd- ucational Reform. San Francisco: iossey-Bass. 60