GSC News

GSC Joins Forces with JASON Project

Through a partnership between Glenville State College and the JASON Project, dozens of West Virginia teachers are receiving special training in science that they will utilize in their classrooms.

The JASON Project is a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Geographic Society, in partnership with, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy and other leading organizations. JASON embeds the cutting edge research of its partners into core Science curricula and professional development. JASON connects young students with great explorers and great events. Its core curriculum units are designed for 5th through 8th grade classrooms but are flexible enough to be adapted for higher or lower grades.

Glenville State College has partnered with the JASON Project to enhance the efforts of GSC’s Hidden Promise Consortium goal of unlocking the ‘hidden promise’ of K-12 students in the participating counties. The partnership has been financed for one year through special congressional funding arranged by Congressman Alan B. Mollohan. New funding is being sought to continue the partnership for an additional two years. “We are thrilled to be partnered with Glenville Sate College in our effort to create highly qualified teachers by increasing their knowledge of science and preparing them to inspire and motivate their students through use of the JASON Curriculum. The goals of the program blend seamlessly with those of the GSC Hidden Promise Consortium,” said John J. Gersuk, Executive Vice President, Government Relations, National Geographic Society – JASON Project.

Teachers measuring weather

Teachers use the weather measuring tools that they constructed to gather weather data.

Two JASON curriculum teacher training workshops were held at Glenville State College in June. Each two-day workshop featured professional development designed to increase the teachers’ expertise in implementing inquiry-based science curricula in the classroom. The teachers attending the free workshops were recruited by their Principle or Superintendent in their county. Teachers were trained in three JASON curriculums: Resilient Planet, about Earth’s critical ecosystems, Monster Storms, the science of extreme weather, and Infinite Potential, the current and future challenges of energy. The workshops were conducted by Jason Project Lead Trainers, who are top science educators certified as Lead Trainers after completing an extensive Lead Trainer program in science, professional development, and the JASON curriculum. These experts are sent around the world by JASON to prepare their colleagues to implement JASON in the classroom.

JASON lead trainer and teachers

JASON Project Lead Trainer Rick Folwell of Idaho watches as teachers (L-R) Marty Bunn of Braxton County, LuAnn Cunningham of GilmerCounty, Marquin Godfrey of Upshur County, and Ron Chadwell of Roane County construct weather measuring tools during 'Monster Storms' training session at GSC.

One of the more than sixty teachers who attended the workshops was Ronald Chadwell, a 7th grade teacher at Geary Elementary School in Roane County. “It is fantastic that we have been able to attend the JASON Training at Glenville State College. Without GSC and Congressman Mollohan, this training would not have been available to us. I am looking forward to implementing this curriculum to get my students more involved and excited about learning,” said Chadwell.

A one-day curriculum planning workshop will be held at GSC on August 20th prior to these teachers taking what they have learned into the classroom. Teachers who complete the training will also receive curriculum materials for their classroom. The JASON Project will provide continuing support to the teachers and their classrooms throughout the school year. Another JASON Project Workshop will be held at GSC on Friday, August 21st and Saturday, August 22nd.

Although a date has not yet been announced, Dr. Robert D. Ballard, founder and Chairman of the JASON Project, will visit Glenville State College in the Spring of 2010 to promote the partnership.

“Glenville State College and the Hidden Promise Consortium are very excited to offer the JASON Project for 5th – 8th grade science teachers. As a former superintendent, I know that there are not very many programs or support for science teachers that are as exciting as the JASON Project. Research shows that many students in middle school are bored in every class. The students will definitely not be bored with these teachers and the science units. The teachers that have been trained are excited and motivated to teach their students the curriculum,” said Ed Toman, GSC JASON Project Director and Hidden Promise Consortium Coordinator.

Glenville State College is in the process of developing a program with the Jason Project that would allow science teachers to earn a Master’s Degree through a series of on-line and summer classes. It is hoped that the program will begin in early 2010.

For more information about the JASON Project visit www.jasonproject.org. For more information about Glenville State College’s partnership with the JASON Project, contact Ed Toman, JASON Project Director at (304) 462-6023 or Edward.Toman@glenville.edu.

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