Thesis

The Development and Implementation of an Earth Science Curriculum and the Effect That Professional Learning Communities Had on the Process at One Comprehensive High School

Purpose of Study: The project will be a case study that critically examines the process of the development and implementation of the new Earth Science/CP curriculum, working with and supporting the teachers to ensure their success in this process, and finally deconstructing the components of the Professional Learning Community model. This project will provide an in-depth look at the entire process of curriculum development and implementation from both the perspective of the teacher and the administrator, providing an account of what is working well with the current process and what areas could be improved. Procedure: The project is a case study of the development and implementation of an Earth Science curriculum at a comprehensive high school in Northern California involving two teachers who are new to the teaching profession and 154 students, most of whom are in grade 9. The study included the documentation of the entire process of curriculum development, information regarding the existence of Professional Learning Communities (PLC), interviews with the teachers involved, input from the participant/observer (Assistant Principal), and analysis of findings. Findings: The development and implementation of the Earth Science curriculum was successful during its first year of implementation due to the dedication of the two teachers, support from their department and administration, and the work done with Professional Learning Communities (PLC). There is work to be done regarding the process involved with the development of curriculum and teacher understanding of all components of work being done with PLC. Conclusions: While the project was initially a success, further monitoring of student progress on standardized tests, progress in other science classes, and long term success in science has yet to be determined. Work should continue with Professional Learning Communities and a focus on student learning.

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