The History of Peak Area Leadership in Science
Our organization formed in 1996 funded by grants from Hewlett Packard in conjunction with WestEd. The original concept focused on developing a summer workshop and monthly, four-hour hub meetings that promoted networking and the sharing of ideas concerning inquiry based pedagogy and other aspects of science education. We have been fortunate to be able to continue our mission through the years with generous funding from Hewlett Packard, Agilent Technologies, Intel, the Mikkelson Educational Foundation, Phil Long Ford, the CAST (Colorado Association of Science Teachers), USAFA STEM Outreach Program, and donations from individuals. We also receive support from local school districts in the form of free or low-cost facilities, transportation, printing, and documentation of professional development contact hours.
Professional Teacher Workshops
The Peak Area Leadership in Science project provides a comprehensive teacher education program that features ongoing professional development workshops on science content and instruction. Our goal is to catalyze secondary science reform by bringing together teachers from area high schools and their feeder middle schools to work and learn together so that they can plan and implement articulated, well-sequenced, standards-based science programs that address the needs of all students as they progress through middle and high school.
Science education cultivates a natural curiosity, which leads to investigations that help students interpret their environment. Science curriculum provides academic content in a multidisciplinary, problem-solving approach. Science instruction develops skills that enhance long-term employment prospects and are essential for enabling students to become responsible, informed decision-makers and lifelong learners.
A strong foundation in science will allow thoughtful participation in building our society and sustaining economic vitality in a global economy. Students in the Pikes Peak area have diverse needs, and our schools require assistance as they develop standards-based science programs. This project will help middle and high school teachers successfully transform their traditional science programs into coordinated/integrated standards-based science programs that address the needs of ALL students. The issues of Colorado State Standards, the Colorado Standards Assessment Program and inquiry-based science lessons will be addressed to help teachers better understand how to provide a program of instruction designed to help their students meet the standards.
Participating teachers will be able to earn either university or in-service education credit hours.
A team of Hub coordinators from the PALS project plan and coordinate workshops (Hub meetings) providing science content and inquiry-based lesson training, aligned to National and State standards, to middle and high school teachers from many Pikes Peak area districts. These workshops are open and offered free to all teachers in the Pikes Peak area. The meeting focus is to present science content and to allow the participants to observe and practice using hands-on science techniques. All day Saturday workshops or four-hour workshops are held one evening each month from August through May.
We invite participants from outlying, rural and mountain school districts, such as Woodland Park, Cripple Creek/Victor, Manitou Springs, Fountain/Ft. Carson, Widefield, Calhan, Peyton, Falcon, Elbert County, Douglas County, Pueblo school districts and Ellicott. A short part of every meeting is used for the teachers to network with other teachers in similar content areas or grade levels.