The Dallas Citizens Council Rallies $285,000 in Funding
to Advance Science Education in Dallas ISD with
Museum of Nature & Science Content and Teacher Instruction
DALLAS (July 20, 2010)
– School may be out for the summer, but the Dallas Citizens Council, the Dallas Independent School District and Museum of Nature & Science are in overdrive improving the way science will be taught and learned in Dallas ISD starting this school year. Thanks to $285,000 raised to date by the Dallas Citizens Council, a new Museum of Nature & Science program called Leaders in Science will bring fresh content and new science-teaching techniques to 20 Dallas ISD schools this year, and 60 more in two more years for a total of 80 schools in the program’s first three years.
Science aptitude indicates an ability to think critically and problem-solve, which leads to an ability to secure jobs and ultimately drive a country’s economic engine. While the percentage of Dallas ISD students passing the Science portion of the TAKS test increased at both passing and commended levels during the 2009-10 school year, there is still room for improvement in Dallas ISD schools. Dallas ISD, The Dallas Citizens Council and Museum of Nature & Science collaborated to help address this issue in Dallas ISD schools.
“Students learn best when they’re engaged and excited,” said
Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “To help them see science in a new light, it became important to explore ways to re-engineer how science is taught. The Museum of Nature & Science’s hands-on, innovative approach to education will enhance our teachers’ ability to inspire a passion for science among our students. Leaders in Science represents a fantastic opportunity for our teachers, and we look forward to seeing them incorporate their experiences in the classroom.”
“The Museum of Nature & Science exists to inspire minds in nature and science through exploration and informal learning. It is so rewarding to be able to take what we do best and deliver that directly to the classroom,” said
Nicole Small, Museum of Nature & Science CEO. Sponsorships from AT&T, Boone Family Foundation, The Dallas Citizens Council, HEB/Central Market, The Beck Group and TI Foundation are funding four major components of the Leaders in Science program:
Teacher professional development session led by MNS during summer break
Year-round, dedicated staff at MNS who provide content, lab support and otherteacher resources throughout the school year, including:
Tasks and/or laboratory investigations for upcoming units of study
Sample investigations for teachers distributed via a semi-monthly newsletters
Low-cost alternatives to laboratory investigations (e.g., MNS will show teachers how DNA extraction can be done using dishwashing soap and alcohol, rather than using expensive materials purchased through school supply companies)
Facilitating MNS materials/technology rental and training
Conveying instructional methods that best support standards and motivate
MNS educators “bring the MNS field trip to the classroom” four times/year, using teaching methods or materials not available in most classrooms
Online database of cost-effective, curriculum-oriented activities or labs to be made available to teachers and/or the public Leaders in Science will reach 160 fifth-grade science teachers within its first three years, or by 2012. However, the program is designed to be scalable to all grades within Dallas ISD schools and other districts and school systems. Its reach is limited only by funding.
“The Dallas Citizens Council believes in
Leaders in Science because of its potential to help all children learn to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers,” said Donna Halstead, The Dallas Citizens Council President. “We appreciate all sponsors of the program’s first three years, and fully expect this program to grow through additional, future corporate and private support.”
About the Museum of Nature & Science
The Museum of Nature & Science – the result of a unique merger in 2006 between the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children’s Museum – is an AAM- accredited non-profit educational organization located in Dallas’s Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The facility also includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The Museum of Nature & Science is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts and HP. The Museum of Nature & Science also is building a new $185-million museum on a 4.7-acre site in Victory Park to complement the Fair Park facilities.
About The Dallas Citizens Council
The Dallas Citizens Council is an organization comprised of the leadership of Dallas’ 100+ largest businesses. Its purpose is to promote a favorable business climate for Dallas and a good quality of life for all Dallas citizens, with the conviction that each requires the other over the long term.
About Dallas ISD
The Dallas Independent School District is home to 225 schools serving more than 157,000 students. Named by the Brookings Institution as the most improved urban district in Texas and the second most improved in the nation, Dallas ISD is proud to have the top public school in the country according to Newsweek Magazine. It is the district’s goal to graduate students ready for college and the workforce.