Five science faculty members from California Baptist University will lead a team revamping curriculum development in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District.
Dr. Jim Buchholz, professor of mathematics and physics, became the principal investigator for the $1.35 million state grant, which will be spread out over the course of three years to enhance the teachers’ skills and improve student academics.
“There are 46 high school teachers from the Chaffey High School District, which will include science teachers in biology, chemistry, physics, earth and space science,” Buchholz said.
Dr. Patrick Schacht, assistant professor of biochemistry, will be one of the involved faculty members leading one of the science sections from CBU.
“The first thing that we are going to be doing is collect information from the teachers,” Schacht said. “They’ve done some rather extensive surveys with the teachers so we should get that data soon of what topics in the new shift of curriculum they feel they don’t have the tools to teach right now.”
After the results come back, the team will tailor the needs, give equipment and new simulations they might need or possibly refamiliarize them on areas that have not been emphasized in years.
The next step will focus on the ninth to 12th grade students’ needs and testing.
“ There’ s been a shift within the high school curriculum and within the testing standards that’s emphasizing more integrational material, understanding of concepts and critical thinking about concepts, rather than just memorizing facts and regurgitating facts,” Schacht said. “This was a grant to provide some of that support to teaching that style in the classroom that would be a little more hands-on and applying what they know to something practical, rather than just memorizing and saying the right answer to that question.”
Buchholz said Chaffey has old labs, which the team will update with more modern features, including computer-interfaced laboratories.
“The system is set up so the teachers can monitor the students’ screen so they have an ability to help individual students in areas where they struggle or to be able to see whether a certain group of students are way ahead,” Schacht said.
In July, the CBU team will provide teacher training for topics they will be implementing in the upcoming semester, and five times a year, the team will meet with the teachers and students to do pre- and post-testing,