District wide in-service days for teachers used to happen regularly. It was an important time when teachers from Homer to Seward and all places in-between could network, compare curriculums and share learning experiences while getting updated on the latest classroom techniques. A time when new teachers could find assistance from seasoned classroom veterans and learn about community educational partnerships such as the Caring For The Kenai (CFK) environmental program. However, due to budget constraints district wide in-service days have become a thing of the past.
"It was suggested at our evaluation dinner this spring, that if CFK would pay for the substitute teacher time, we could schedule a district wide in-service for high school science teachers; and that with all the new teachers it might be a way of increasing participation in the annual contest," said Merrill Sikorski, CFK coordinator. The program sponsors Unocal Alaska, and Agrium approved the idea and last week 15 teachers and interested community members attended the workshop. Former Nikiski science teacher Rick Frederic coordinated the Environmental Training day; Frederic is presently acting as a science teacher specialist for the KPBSD under a special grant.
Frederic's students have been very successful in the CFK environmental awareness contest, going on to win Presidential Environmental Youth Awards and appearing on ABC's Good Morning America. He has been able to purchase special technology for Nikiski science classrooms with proceeds from his students CFK successes that would not have been available otherwise. This year the CFK program will put $10,000 into high school classrooms of the contest winners, and over $6,000 in cash prizes for the students.
"It was a great turn-out, we had teachers from Kenai, Seward, Soldotna, Nikiski, Skyview, Voznesenka, Ninilchik, and Homer. We even did some great networking during lunch, which was compliments of Arby's. It's really exciting to see the community support for our science curriculums like the CFK. I've assigned the contest for the last 13 years, and am looking forward to being able to help other teachers with the program this year," said Frederic. Frederic prepared a special Power Point training for teachers that can be downloaded for reference at his website. In the afternoon the group visited the Challenger Learning Center and explored their new media-tech room, while sharing ideas to enhance science learning for students of the KPBSD. Frederic's web page is available at http://pages.mhlearningnetwork.com; complete information on the CFK program is available at www.caringforthekenai.com.
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