Final CUOS K–12 Education Outreach Program Report, March 2002

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VI. Appendices

Appendix A. Peer Review of Our Programming

An almost-final review of our programming and achievements took place on Oct. 27, 2001, on campus.

Presenters were

Jeannine LaSovage, K–12 Outreach Director, Reach Out! Advisor Overview, Mission and Goals
Martha Toth, Program Associate, Webmaster Technology: Supporting People and Programs Efficiently and Effectively, and Reaching the World
Susan Shoemaker, Pontiac Program Manager, Pontiac City Councilwoman Pontiac Learning Community Coalition and the Owen Elementary Coordinator/Resource Center Model
Debra Hamann, Elementary Program Manager, Reach Out! Coordinator, UM Engineering Graduate Reach Out!: Empowering UM Students and Leading the Development of the Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti Learning Community Coalition
Aarti Rajeha, UM LS&A Graduate, Wayne State University 3rd-Year Medical Student Reach Out! Pioneer and Personal Testimony of Programs Designed and Rescued, UM and Community Partnerships, Research Experience for Teachers, and Continuing Relationships as a UM Reach Out! Alumna
Ben Kaufman, UM College of Engineering Graduate, GM Engineer Science Clubs in Schools, Churches, and Subsidized Housing Community Centers; Developing UM Student Organizations into Stakeholders; and Continuing Relationships as a UM Reach Out! Alumnus
Karyl Shand, UM College of Engineering Graduate Teens: Pioneer High School Learning Community Model, Academic Mentoring and Community Resource Credit Classes, Personal Discovery Workshops and Slumber Parties, and Business Partners for Career Exploration
Jerry McMahon, Simon Eaglin, & Jerry Hartweg, Kiwanis Partners Business & Community Model for Career Mentoring, Career Fairs and Panels, and Workplace Tours with Lessons to Demonstrate Math and Science Relevancy
John Nees, Research Scientist Being a Scientist and a K–12 Educator: Programs, Partnerships, and Sharing the Joy of Science with Teachers, Youth, Parents, and Community Members
Greg Spooner, Research Scientist Projects and Experiences to Challenge Perceptions of “What is Science, Who Does Science, and How Do We Learn Science?”
Debra Hamman Orientations, Training, and Program Evaluation
Doris Calvert, Community Developer In Conclusion, a Mother & Community Leader’s Testimony

The review panel included

TaShara Bailey, Engineer, Student Support & Development, Minority Engineer Program Office, & Representing Levi Thompson, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Engineering, UM

John Barfield, Chairman Emeritus, Bartech Group

Barry R. Borgerson, President, Complete Leadership, Inc.

Sharon Burch, Program Director, Engineering Undergraduate Education, UM

Henry Caudle, Principal, Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor Public Schools

Lisa Dengiz, Director, Ann Arbor Neutral Zone Teen Center

Bob Galardi, Principal, Pattengill Elementary School, Ann Arbor Public Schools

Jeffrey Howard, Assistant Director for Academic Service-Learning, Editor - Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, UM

Ann Kirchmeier, Coordinator of Administration & Education, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center for Sensor Materials , Michigan State University

James C. MacBain, Director for Research Relations, College of Engineering, UM

Charles Moody, Director of Science Curriculum, School District of the City of Pontiac

Tracey Patterson, Coordinator of Education, Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Machining Systems, UM

Tim Vandekerckhove, Detroit Edison

1. Summary of Findings and Recommendations

A. Strengths and Positive Findings

1. K–12 Center’s programs and strategies align well with and have been successfully implemented to achieve mission and goals.
  • The center stayed focused on math and science and it reached out to a broad spectrum of K–12 students. It managed to reach many groups underrepresented in technical fields without excluding anyone, partly through its choice to operate at subsidized housing and predominantly black church sites.
  • Reviewers noted and approved of the emphasis on learning the scientific method over scientific facts.
  • Programs addressed both math and science learning and the affective issues that so vitally impact academic achievement: student views of their own abilities, the responsibility they take on for their own lives and futures, their aspirations, and their network of support for when they need help.
  • Attention to motivation through career exploration is a promising strategy for improving student willingness to expend the effort required to master difficult, technical subjects.
  • The consistent emphasis on relationship is characteristic of Center activities and shows potential as a tool apart from the content of programming. Because of the variety and history of programs, the Center is now seeing, at the high school level, youth who have been involved for several years in summer camps, science clubs, career exploration programs, and academic classes outside of school. These “veterans” should achieve the best overall results from the multifaceted interventions. (Now is the time to gather data, in cooperation with other university groups skilled at such research; see Recommendations section.)
2. The Center achieved an extraordinary range of long-lasting and genuine collaborations with diverse groups.
  • The authenticity of partnerships is indicated by the evolution of programs over time—both to adapt to what had been learned through experience and to accommodate the needs and to take advantage of the expertise of partners.
  • The CUOS K–12 program crossed boundaries and engaged other service groups in a manner unprecedented in National Science Foundation Center experience. Bringing in Kiwanians who support joint programs with both funding and dedicated volunteers is a prime example.
  • Even those of us with some previous familiarity with one or more Center programs were surprised at the number and diversity of community groups that had worked in partnership with the Center. Examples include schools in several districts, other universities, AmeriCorps and 4-H Extension programs, many businesses, service groups, recreation centers, subsidized housing community centers, churches, and other coalitions.
3. There is considerable evidence of parents and other community adults assigning greater importance to science and math, and getting more involved personally in young people’s learning and planning for the future.
  • A great many adults have volunteered as career exploration resources (listed on the Center’s Web site), offering to share knowledge of their own career fields with youth.
  • The commitment of Kiwanis volunteers to extensive and very personal guidance of children unrelated to them is something we have not seen elsewhere.
  • Encouragement and reinforcement of parents and extended family in their support of children’s learning and aspirations can make a critical difference in significantly changing the cycle that has hindered the advancement in science and math education for many years. This model’s importance cannot be over-emphasized, and the way in which the Outreach Center has embraced and utilized the concept is really commendable.
4. The number and variety of UM students engaged in volunteer work was and is edifying.
  • Steady recruiting, training, and support of hundreds of undergraduate students every year in programs requiring a long-term, weekly commitment—in an era when many “volunteers” are actually paid (work-study, AmeriCorps, etc.)—is, we believe, unprecedented at the University of Michigan.
  • The list of some 50 university organizations, plus numerous departments, schools, and colleges, from which these volunteers came exhibits unparalleled breadth and inclusivity. Adoption of sites by a social fraternity, an engineering honor society, a multicultural group, and two pre-med organizations illustrate this phenomenon.
5. The effect of volunteer work on the service providers appears significant and warrants further study and documentation.
  • Young adults had some affective needs of their own met by their participation: they profited from a sense of belonging, a wider social group, a less stressful and competitive environment, a restored balance in their lives, and a sense of higher or selfless purpose.
  • Undergraduate students experienced noteworthy growth in adaptability, responsibility, civic mindedness, and empowerment by planning, running, and adjusting programs and by making a commitment to be there regularly for particular children or teens.
  • There were some intriguing anecdotal reports about the effect on retired volunteers of working with children, teens, and young adults, which would also be fruitful areas for research.
6. An unsung side effect of Center programming is the “public face” it gives the University of Michigan in communities outside of its campus.
  • These young coordinators and volunteers are exceptional representatives of the University, as well as ambassadors of science. Partners testified—and reviewers saw concurring evidence in both reports and review presentations—to the effect that creative, bright, energetic, and compassionate young adults solved problems and communicated effectively with diverse groups in a variety of community settings.
  • Programs that both serve and “stick” are important to the University’s image. These programs give as much as they take, and they are reliable and dependable to outside partners.
7. The Center exhibits unusually flexible and effective administrative and support procedures.
  • Staff, coordinators, mentors, and volunteers receive high-quality orientation, training, and ongoing support.
  • There appears to be a healthy environment where creativity and commitment are fostered by support and appreciation.
  • Individual staff and volunteers, who obviously have knowledge of the programs with which they work most closely, seem to have an understanding of how their activities fit into the overall scope—evidence of good communication and confidence in the structure, leadership, and direction of the program.
  • The quality of program support, human resources development, program tracking is very good. A good database was kept of the number of participants from the many constituencies.
8. The maturity level of the program and the experience base of its staff position it well for providing consulting and technical assistance for replication elsewhere.
  • With its expansive programming and networks, the CUOS K–12 Outreach Program has the potential to serve as a technical assistance center for both other U-M School of Engineering K–12 efforts as well as more broadly.
  • The vision of recent UM graduates and Reach Out! alumni to serve one- or two-year stints as “I>Reach Out! ambassadors,” coaching others on site for an extended period while they develop similar programs, is both a unique and interesting concept for program propagation and a powerful testimony to the importance they assign to work they have contributed to.

B. Weaknesses and Concerns

1. The Center has not done enough quantitative evaluation of the impact of programming.
  • While applying student performance metrics to the K–12 outreach activity is understandably difficult, some procedure in this regard would have been useful. At the very least, could not the grades of the participating children have been tracked?
  • Although there were neither funding nor resources to do a formal tracking of the students who were tutored and mentored, some informal metrics might have been useful.
  • The absence of quantitative data is a glaring concern. The collaboration that currently exists in other aspects of the program should be broadened to incorporate the kind of performance information available to schools, which would provide empirical validity to the program’s efforts and results.
  • Some quantitative numbers regarding work with other organizations would have been helpful. [In response to this comment, such information was provided in an addendum, following on pages 56-57.]
2. There does not appear to have been enough University or College of Engineering involvement (beyond undergraduates).
  • Even though a few scientists and graduate students demonstrated involvement in Center programs, the College of Engineering was not as visible as other intellectual partners.
  • Despite a very good effort in establishing a broad spectrum of stakeholders (including undergraduates, teachers, parents, people in the community, retired people), the one area where stakeholders were not sufficiently developed was in the broader University community.
  • There appears to be a disconnect between the program’s apparent impact on the community and its support within the College and the UM as a whole. It would seem that the program’s management could have done a better job at communicating with and responding to advice and guidance from personnel within the College.

C. Specific Recommendations

  • Regarding the absence of quantitative data: program staff should exercise their collaborative skills to engage (1) other university partners in the more formal study of the effects on undergraduate volunteers of their program participation, and (2) K–12 partners to track outcomes for their child and teen participants. We recognize that the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act limits Outreach Center access to some relevant data, but school partners should be eager to discover and demonstrate results with the data available to them (test scores, grades and other teacher assessment of performance, enrollment in advanced classes).
  • The program has appeal broader than the College of Engineering. While it appears to be a “natural” for incorporation into similar outreach and educational programs within the College, it may be best situated at a central administrative location, because it involves students and faculty from many disciplines.
  • The University should take the lead in offering the Center a new “home base.” Foundation, corporate, and other stakeholder funding should be solicited to support maintenance and expansion of this exemplary program. Several reviewers believe strongly that the staff is too lean already for what the program encompasses.
  • The Ginsberg Center can contribute to the further development of the CUOS K–12 Outreach Program. Efforts might include: strengthening and measuring University students’ preparation for citizenship and community participation, making available resources on reflection to engage student participants around issues related to their community involvement, and faculty development in curriculum-based service-learning.
  • Center staff are clearly in possession of important information and experience regarding “best practices” in the complex areas of coalition-building and informal science education. While the Web site has been used to generously share such information, it should also be disseminated in more traditional ways, such as journal publishing. Staff might consider pursuing small grants to free up the time and personnel to accomplish exactly that.
  • Center staff have the expertise and demonstrated willingness to mentor others through the development of similar programs. Doing so in the future should be less of a sideline and more a part of their core mission. A “consulting” or “technical assistance” function should be an integral part of any future Center configuration or structure.

2. Addendum: Sites and Collaborations

Schools we have worked in

Owen ES, Pontiac (7 years)
Chapelle ES, Ypsilanti (2 years)
George ES, Ypsilanti (4 years)
Pattengill ES, Ann Arbor (1 year)
African American Saturday Academy, Ann Arbor (2 years)
Beaubien MS, Detroit (1 year)
Lessenger MS, Detroit (2 years)
Slauson MS, Ann Arbor (3 years)
Pioneer HS, Ann Arbor (5 years)

Community centers we have worked in

The Neutral Zone teen center, Ann Arbor (4 years)
Pontiac Public Library (2 years)
Peace Neighborhood Center, Ann Arbor (5 years)
Arrowwood Hills Community Center, Ann Arbor (3 years)
Bryant Community Center, Ann Arbor (3 years)
Hikone Recreation Center, Ann Arbor (3 years)
Pinelake Village Community Center, Ann Arbor (3 years)
North Maple Estates Community Impact Center,. Ann Arbor (2 years)
Cobble Creek Community Center, Ypsilanti (1 year)
Community Centers in Boston and Miami—Alternative Spring Break

Church sites we have worked in

Community Church of God, Ypsilanti (5 years)
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Ann Arbor (1 year)

University Of Michigan groups we have collaborated with

Center for the Education of Women, Circle K, College of Engineering, Community Service Commission, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Engineering Service Day planning group, Eta Kappa Nu, Golden Key Society, Hindu Students Council, Martin Luther King, Jr., Service Day planning group, Minority Engineering Program Office, National Society of Black Engineers, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, Office of the President, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pre-Med Club, Project SERVE, Road Scholars, Society of Women Engineers

University Of Michigan student groups our volunteers have represented

Abeng, African Students Association, Alpha Chi Sigma, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Kappa Psi, Alpha Phi Omega, Arnold Air Society, Black Pre-Medical Association, Black Student Monthly, Black Student Network, Caribbean People’s Association, Circle K, Eta Kappa Nu, Filipino American Student Association, Golden Key Society, Hindu Students Council, Interfraternity Council, Juggling Arts Club, Kappa Alpha Theta, UM Marching Band, National Society of Black Engineers, Omega Chi Epsilon, Panhellenic Association, Phi Sigma Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Pre-Med Club, Society of Automotive Engineers, Society of Minority Engineering Students, Society of Women Engineers, Taiwanese American Students Association, Tau Beta Pi, Theta Chi, Volunteer Computer Corps, Women in Science & Engineering

Community groups we have provided with consulting services

Many administrators, teachers, and board members for Ann Arbor Public Schools, School District of Ypsilanti, School District of the City of Pontiac, Saginaw City School District, Grand Rapids City School District, Van Buren Public Schools; Saline Christian School and several home school groups; many K–12 outreach people at Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, Oakland University, Oakland Community College, Washtenaw Community College, and University of Michigan; many AmeriCorps and 4-H Extension programs; Cascade Engineering; Computer Challenge Clubs; Detroit Entrepreneur Training Program for youth; Detroit Franciscan House; Downtown Ann Arbor Kiwanis; Ford Dearborn Rouge Plant; General Motors Pontiac Truck & Bus Group; Health Occupations Partners in Education; NBD Bank of Grand Rapids; Pontiac All Saints Episcopal Church; Pontiac First Presbyterian Church; Public Education Fund of Grand Rapids; Serendipity Reading Clubs of Ann Arbor, YES Coalition of Washtenaw County churches; Ypsilanti Community Church of God Opportunity Center; Ypsilanti NAACP ACT-SO planning group

Where and with whom we are working this year [amended after the fact for accuracy]

  • Pattengill ES, Ann Arbor (lunch-time science clubs, science fair advising; UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Slauson MS, Ann Arbor (Builders Club, academic mentors; community and UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Detroit World Outreach (career exploration consulting)
  • The Neutral Zone teen center, Ann Arbor (limited academic mentoring; community and UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Pioneer HS, Ann Arbor (limited academic mentoring; community and UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Pontiac Public Library (Youth Task Force; co-sponsored by city government, General Motors)
  • Arrowwood Hills Community Center, Ann Arbor (science club; UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Bryant Community Center, Ann Arbor (science club; UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Hikone Recreation Center, Ann Arbor (science club; UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Pinelake Village Community Center, Ann Arbor (science club; UM undergraduate volunteers)
  • Serendipity Reading Clubs (we coordinate with their programs at above community centers)
  • University of Michigan (provided four workshops for incoming freshmen)
  • Washtenaw Mentoring Alliance and Pioneer High School (coplanning spring 2002 Career Fair for PHS, if we still exist)
  • Wayne State University (presented at HealthFOCUS Conference for second year)

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