Contributing to Florida’s Future, Today
Recent PKY outreach activities have helped us gather the experience, tools, and strategies for collaborating with UF scientists and researchers, and assisting school and district leaders as they lead local improvement efforts. P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School is uniquely prepared to partner with educators as they work to address a renewed state and national focus on science, math, and technology while integrating and explicitly teaching 21st century skills. P.K. Yonge has acquired a reputation for quality, hands-on, classroom-focused professional development that directly addresses challenges faced by today’s educators.
Over the past ten years P.K. Yonge has been focused on improving reading achievement by integrating research-based instructional strategies and curriculums. Our successes prompted us to develop innovative strategies for sharing what we have learned with others. Several funded elementary and secondary literacy reform projects began the development of a collaborative, classroom-focused approach to professional development:
- Goals 2000: Funded by the Florida Department of Education and led by Ms. Nancy Dean and Dr. Jean Schiffbauer, this three-year professional development grant (1998-2001) focused on improving teachers’ skills in increasing student achievement in reading and targeting appropriate reading interventions. Two week summer institutes included 20 secondary teachers per year from 8 different schools in 4 school districts. Follow-up training and support as well as a focus on content area literacy were included. Teachers were coached to become leaders as they were encouraged to lead workshops for teachers new to the project the following summer.
- M.S.S. SAIL: Summer Adventures in Literacy—Research to Improve Reading Comprehension Results for Middle School Students. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, this research project was a directed research priority designed to validate the effectiveness of a summer intervention program collaboratively designed by P.K. Yonge and UF COE faculty. The proposal was funded for $540,000 from August 2000 to April 2004. Drs. Lynda Hayes (PKY Director of Research & Outreach) and Nancy Corbett (UF Department of Special Education) implemented different versions of the SAIL program in 10 different middle schools in 7 schools districts throughout rural, north Florida over three years. Local teachers were trained by the project investigators to implement M.S.S. SAIL curriculums and research-based instructional strategies designed to address the needs of struggling adolescent readers. Findings from the combined results of six research studies conducted during the three year project suggest that for middle school students reading below grade level an intensive, inclusive summer reading program may result in greater gains in reading comprehension and reading fluency than reading tutorial programs embedded during the school year or traditional content-oriented (i.e., science, math) summer school programs.
- Leadership through Reading: One outcome of the GOALS 2000 project was the development of a cross-age reading tutoring program as an innovative approach to reading intervention. From 200-2005, Nancy Dean collaborated with Dr. Candace Harper from UF’s College of Education to receive a federally-funded project to expand application of Leadership through Reading to second language learners. Twenty teachers from 4 Florida school districts and 14 schools were trained and supported as they implemented this cross-age tutoring program focused on improving the English oral language and literacy skills of ELL students.
- PKY SAIL expansion K-8: Funded by PKY general funds, the M.S.S. SAIL program was expanded and further developed to include struggling readers in grades K-8 beginning in 2000 and serves approximately 100 students and their families each summer. By 2006, PKY SAIL was expanded to include immersive and extended professional development opportunities for teachers from other schools through a program titled P.K. Yonge Teacher Scholars.
P.K. Yonge’s reputation for research-based innovation and a growing focus on professional development led to several new activities, projects, and partnerships to support literacy reform in north central Florida:
- Reading Best Practices Center: P.K. Yonge faculty served as Lead Team members and project consultants in the development of the Florida Reading Initiative, the major project resulting from this collaborative partnership with the Northeast Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC). The Reading Best Practices Center was funded by the Florida legislature to NEFEC for $500,000 from July 2000 to June 2001. Drs. Linda Lamme, Zhihui Fang, and Danling Fu led summer literacy training for P.K. Yonge elementary faculty.
- Florida Reading Initiative: P.K. Yonge faculty served as members of the Lead Team and consultants to a state-funded partnership project between NEFEC and P.K. Yonge. To date, the school-wide reform project designed to assist schools in achieving 100% literacy has been funded for over $10,000,000 (July 2001-June 2009) and has assisted 85 north central Florida schools as well as schools in Duval, Highlands, Hillsborough, Leon, and Monroe counties. As a member of the Lead Team, P.K. Yonge’s Director, Dr. Fran Vandiver, consults with elementary and secondary principals in essential research-based strategies for effective school leadership while PKY Reading Coaches led ongoing training and development for 100+ reading coaches. Additionally, more than 20 PKY faculty members have served as trainers for the FRI Summer Reading Academy. Dr. Holly Lane, UF COE, served as a consultant to the development of the training modules. Dr. Nancy Dana, UF Center for School Improvement, has collaborated extensively with Florida Reading Initiative schools and districts to develop, implement, and sustain teacher inquiry through locally-established professional learning communities.
- Improving Literacy through School Libraries - Project Book TaLC—Teachers and Librarians Collaborating: Dr. Lynda Hayes served as a grant writing consultant to NEFEC to develop a proposal for the U.S. Department of Education Federal Literacy & School Libraries Grant. The project was funded for $233,368 from October 2002 to September 2003. P.K. Yonge librarians worked with Drs. Ruth Lowery and Colleen Swain from UF COE as well as librarians from eight small and rural NEFEC schools to purchase new books for their libraries, share research-based strategies for actively collaborating with the school faculty in designing reading programs, and create a Professional Development Network.
- P.K. Yonge Reading Coach Model Grant: During the 2002-2003 school year, P.K. Yonge was awarded $65,795 by FL DOE to support elementary, middle, and high school reading coaches at P.K. Yonge and ongoing professional development for classroom teachers. In addition to writing and submitting PKY’s grant proposal, Dr. Hayes provided support and assistance to surrounding school districts as they developed their Reading Coach Model Grant proposals. As a result of PKY’s technical assistance, an additional $1,052,000 in grants was awarded to the NEFEC districts to support reading coaches and professional development during the same funding period.
- Early Reading First - (REACH: Raising Expectations for All Children): In 2004, Dr. Lynda Hayes was contracted by NEFEC to develop a $4,300,000 Early Reading First proposal funded by the Federal Department of Education; a second Early Reading First proposal was funded for $4,200,000 in 2007. PKY’s kindergarten teachers and Dr. Lynda Hayes partnered with Dr. Hazel Jones (UF COE) and NEFEC to mentor 32 preschool teachers and provide in-depth professional development on research-based instructional strategies to improve early literacy and language outcomes for high-risk children in 6 rural, north Florida school districts. PKY faculty in collaboration with researchers from UF’s College of Education have emerged as leaders in early childhood education as 32 preschool classrooms have been transformed to serve as model/demonstration sites for Florida’s voluntary preschool education program. Drs. Christy Cavanaugh, Holly Lane, Tina Smith-Bonahue, and Kristin Kemple from UF COE have assisted with professional development and data collection.
- Teacher Scholars Reading Academy: Capitalizing on our success with SAIL and Research in Action, the PKY Teacher Scholars Reading Academy was developed in 2006 and has been offered annually since. 80 teachers from four school districts have spent two weeks with PKY teachers in their SAIL classrooms and afternoons in targeted workshops led by PKY faculty. The focus of the academy is on developing research-based instructional strategies to address the needs of struggling readers through immersion in observation, collegial learning, and implementation. Principals and reading coaches join their faculty on the last day to observe in classrooms and develop an action plan for implementation. Scholars spend the following school year engaged in teacher inquiry to deepen their learning and use of new instructional strategies.
- Miami/Dade District Leaders: Sponsored by UF’s Lastinger Center for Learning, PKY hosted over 20 instructional and curricular leaders from the Miami/Dade district office in July 2007. Strategies for focusing and leading school-wide reform and visits in SAIL classrooms were shared. Our visitors left with a new found enthusiasm and list of research-based experiences for leading school improvement efforts in their district.
- Project CHOiCE! - Creating High School Options in Comprehension and Engagement: PKY developed and field-tested various successful approaches to secondary reading intervention. Project CHOiCE! (FLDOE JustRead Florida! $270,000) partners P.K. Yonge faculty, University of Florida researchers Drs. Nancy Waldron and Nancy Corbett, and three Levy County High Schools to implement and evaluate alternative intervention programs designed to enhance reading comprehension, purposeful learning, and the engagement of adolescent struggling readers. 32 teachers, 4 reading coaches, and 3 high school principals trained together for 16 days during the 2007-2008 school year to implement and assess two PKY created reading intervention programs: Leadership through Reading and Speech & Debate. Dr. David Miller, UF CAPES director, assisted with project data analysis.
PKY, An Emerging Leader in Science and Technology Reform for Florida’s Schools
As we prepare for future leadership and school renewal opportunities in science, math, and technology PKY is focused on developing skills and strategies for integrating and demonstrating research-based practices for developing 21st century skills.
- EETT Laptops for Teachers: In 2003-2004, FLDOE awarded PKY a competitive Enhancing Education Through Technology Grant (EETT; $300,000). During the summer of 2004, PKY hosted a five-day Technology Integration Institute (TI2) for PKY and Dixie County high school faculty. During the institute teachers learned how to integrate technology in educational settings to enhance student learning and Gateway Project presentations. Participating teachers received a laptop computer and planned innovative approaches for integrating reading, writing, and technology.
- EETT - Classrooms of the Future, Today: (EETT; $375,000). Beginning in 2008, PKY teachers started updating their technology skills through job-embedded, classroom-focused training provided by PKY’s Technology Integration Specialist, David Young, and the Florida Digital Educator summer training series. On-demand, need-based professional development is provided through the project website (PKNET: PKY Networking Educators for Tomorrow). PKY’s Curriculum Coordinators provided targeted support to 4th, 5th, 6-12 English, and 6-12 science teachers as they created and implemented project-based learning units. Project funds supported (1) digital classroom makeovers, and (2) increased availability of Mobile Lab Stations and digital cameras. Our goal is to create a model/ demonstration site for technology integration, 21st century skill development, and project-based learning for Florida’s schools. With support from Drs. Kara Dawson and Cathy Cavanaugh, associate professors in educational technology, we have been documenting and systematically evaluating our approach to professional development and our efforts to transform curriculum and instruction.
- Let’s Talk Science!: Inspired by the efforts of Ashley Pennypacker (PKY 5th grade teacher) and her experience working with Dr. Rose Pringle to improve her science teaching, Dr. Lynda Hayes (PKY Director of Research and Outreach, PI) partnered with Dr. Rose Pringle (Co-PI) in the School of Teaching and Learning and Union County School District to develop a multi-layered, classroom-focused, job-embedded, school-wide approach to improving science teaching. In June 2007, we were awarded a one-year FLDOE Math Science Partnership grant ($967,394) to develop immersion teacher training modules to support a school reform process focused on implementing an inquiry-based approach to science. Partnering University of Florida STEM scientists and COE science teacher educators with Union County and PKY elementary teachers and secondary science faculty provided a unique opportunity to blend available resources, experiences, and expertise to develop a powerful, intensive, ongoing professional development model for improving science instruction. The project website hosts four short films documenting the processes and content of the project as well as the final project report: http://education.ufl.edu/grants/letas/
- 2009-1020 Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers - Educating Sustainability and Social Responsibility through P.K. Yonge’s Community Garden and Farmers’ Market : ($10,000) Developed by PK Yonge 9th grade teachers, Michelina MacDonald and Jennifer Cheveallier, 9th grade biology students will research plant growth and development and the role gardening plays in sustainability. Groups of 2-3 students will be responsible for cultivating, maintaining, and harvesting sixteen square feet of garden using the square-foot gardening technique. Every student will collect data in a field journal, utilize a class wiki to discuss their learning with their peers and experts in agronomy, and use digital video and pictures to chronicle their experiences throughout the year. As students care for their gardens, they will develop a marketing campaign to advertise P.K. Yonge’s Community Garden and Farmers’ Market in which vegetables, herbs and bedding plants will be sold to the P.K. Yonge Community after school. To instill community outreach and social responsibility among our students, the proceeds from the Farmers’ Market will support St. Francis House, a local homeless shelter. As students execute P.K. Yonge’s plant industry, they will visit the homeless shelter and interview a homeless person or family. Using these interviews, students will compile a book of essays, “Giving Voice to the Homeless” that will become part of the student generated documentary of the year’s project
- National Science Foundation Math Science Partnership - U-FUTuRES—University of Florida Unites Teachers to Reform Education in Science: ($5,000,000; submitted/pending) In partnership with Dr. Mary Jo Koroly, UF scientist, Dr. Rose Pringle, UF science educator, and six Florida school districts (Alachua, Flagler, Hernando, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union), the vision of U-FUTuRES is to develop sustainable district capacity for leading and reforming K-8 science education through IHE/LEA partnership support for an NSF-sponsored Teacher Institute for the 21st Century. U-FUTuRES project goals are as follows: (1) Develop viable, sustainable UF cross-departmental partnerships dedicated to improving K-12 science achievement; (2) Build district leadership capacity to support science reform in partnering LEA’s; (3) Improve K-8 science teaching and students’ science achievement in partnering LEA’s; and (4) Develop, implement, and institutionalize a job-embedded U-FUTuRES Science Teacher Leadership graduate degree co-facilitated by the University of Florida College of Education and UF STEM partners.