Jeff's Corner

I'm sitting here in my office thinking that it can't be two days before Thanksgiving.....it seems like I just finished writing the last Jeff's Corner! This year has certainly flown by so far.
There are a couple of items of importance that I need to share with you. First, this is the last year of NSF support for the South Carolina Statewide Systemic Initiative. This means that this may be the last year for our Curriculum Leadership Institute. So if you are interested in the CLI, this may be your last chance. The same goes for the Administrative Leadership Institute. So if your school would like to send a team to Myrtle Beach in February for the ALI or if you are interested in participating in the CLI this summer, please give Gloria Allen a call.
Although the NSF funding for the SC SSI ends in August 1998, the State of South Carolina is supposed to support the SC SSI at 50% of its current funding level. (This was part of the agreement the State made with NSF when NSF first funded the SC SSI in 1993.) Dr. Nielsen has requested the additional funds in her budget request to the State Legislature to support the SC SSI at full level beginning fiscal year 1998. Full funding will be necessary to keep a full staff for the Hubs. If the requested funds are not appropriated, the Hubs may lose their science and mathematics specialists. If this happens, the Hubs will no longer be able to offer the services to the schools that they have been able to these past five years. If you support the Hub concept and think the Hub has helped you and your school, please let your local legislator(s) know. Their support is critical if we are to continue offering the services that we have offered in the past.
Just to let you know what has happened since the SSI was initiated in 1993:
• State scores on the MAT7-Math at the 4th grade level have risen 3.36 points
• State scores on the MAT7-Math at the 5th grade level have risen 1.71 points
• State scores on the MAT7-Math at the 7th grade level have risen 2.78 points
Although state scores on BSAP Science at the 3rd grade level have decreased, scores at schools where the Hubs have concentrated their efforts have increased by 8.30 points.
Hubs have obtained over $1 million in external grants (other than state education dollars) to help support the effort.
Hubs provide over $500,000 in science and mathematics materials for teachers to use in their classroom.
Because we feel the SC SSI has been successful, a group of educators from around the state is working hard on a years 6-10 NSF grant. We hope that NSF will rate our proposal high and fund us for another 5 years. However, we cannot bet our future on NSF.
Another item I wanted to share with you is our new building addition. As I mentioned in the last newsletter we have the money for the new addition. We have worked closely with the architect firm of Heery International to come up with a design that we think will be functional. Although we have had to cut back by 10,000 sq. ft. from what we had originally planned, we feel the 30,000 sq. ft. addition will meet our needs.
The new building will have additional classroom space, a television studio, computer classrooms and science laboratory. In addition it will have a large outreach room that will enable us to expand our materials loan program. We will also have enough office space to house the entire staff!!! We have enclosed the latest floor plan and exterior plan for the addition. Please feel free to review and let us know what you think. Your views helped us refine our original building and we again hope to refine our current plans with your input.
Finally, we are in the planning stages of developing a scientist/mathematician trading card collection (and you thought I forgot about it didn't you Karey?!!). Just like baseball trading cards, we want to put local scientists, engineers and mathematicians on trading cards. If you have someone you think would make an ideal person to put on a trading card, please send us their name, address, telephone number/e-mail address. We will contact them and get the other pertinent information to put on the trading card. At first we will publish the trading card as a cutout in the newsletter and eventually publish the cards themselves. In addition to the trading cards, we would like to publish your articles on activities you have done with your students. Please send your articles to either me or Cindy Sparling at the RPSEC.
Finally, during this Holiday Season, let me share with you some of the things for which I am thankful. I am thankful for:
• a family that supports the crazy hours that I keep.
• a staff that is second to none.
• teachers that I work with everyday who do a great job and want to do better.
• administrators who are true instructional leaders who support their faculty and allow them to do their jobs.
• colleagues from around the state who are just as dedicated to improving math and science education.
• the support of our local legislative delegation.
• the support of USC Aiken
• the support of local business and industry, particularly WSRC, without whom we could not accomplish half of what we do.
• the support of the local professional and amateur societies that help us with various functions throughout the year.
• the numerous individuals who continue to support us every year through their donation of time and/or money.
I could go on but the newsletter editor has told me I have limited space so I will stop here. As always, we appreciate the support we get from all our constituents. If we can help you in any way, please let us know. Have a happy and safe holiday season. We'll see you next year!

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Ruth Patrick Science Education Center
University of South Carolina Aiken
Copyright © 1997-98 by the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.

RPSEC@sc.edu
URL: http://rpsec.usca.edu/newsletter/Dec97/JEFFS.html (December, 1997)