Chris Edwards is a veteran teacher at Fishers High School, having spent more than a decade guiding middle and high school students through U.S. and World History. In his spare time, Chris pens articles and books on subjects from philosophy to teaching methodology. One article, titled Three Cheers for Teachers, may just change the design of teacher professional development.
In his article, Edwards touts that educational reform must come from within, specifically by engaging teachers in both the change process and their content areas. The concept is not radical. It embraces collaborating with the very individuals who ultimately choose to implement or reject new education practices. It also delves into the benefits of content immersion and the use of cross disciplinary approaches.
Scientech, a local group of retired science professionals, was intrigued with this principle especially as it applied to science instruction. Chris and Scientech considered the benefits of professor/teacher collaborations where secondary teachers team with university professors to boost content mastery and teachers then create a curriculum which implements the content they’ve learned by using their own expertise in educational methods. The end result was a $25,000 investment and a summer institute at Uindy during the second week of June for science teachers to engage in the creation of new scholarship under the banner of what Chris is calling the “Field of Teaching.”
Chris introduced the project to the Hamilton Southeastern Foundation hoping the organization could help administer the funds. It proved to be a perfect pairing. Edwards reflects, “The Hamilton Southeastern Foundation has a long history of helping classroom teachers realize their visions for how to improve the educational experience of students in the HSE school district. Scientech has a long history of promoting science and science education in the state of Indiana. These two groups have now joined together to offer support for these new research-based concepts about how to engage teachers in professional development. Ultimately, educational reform can only be shaped from the classroom outward, and the Scientech Summer Institute has been designed to help facilitate positive change where it matters: in Indiana’s classrooms. With the Summer Institute I’m hoping to create the same kind of environment that we have at Fishers High School, where innovative ideas can be developed and implemented without delay. The Institute would not be possible without both Scientech and the HSE Foundation.”