One-night-only museum to showcase grant challenges

DELTA MUSEUM - North Jackson Elementary School faculty touring the Delta Flight Museum are, from left, Katy Johnson, fourth grade; Stephanie Whiten, STEM Resource; Lisa Bennett, kindergarten; and Kasey Sheridan, gifted/STEM Resource.

DELTA MUSEUM – North Jackson Elementary School faculty touring the Delta Flight Museum are, from left, Katy Johnson, fourth grade; Stephanie Whiten, STEM Resource; Lisa Bennett, kindergarten; and Kasey Sheridan, gifted/STEM Resource.

The hands-on, interactive “Jacksonian Air and Space Museum” will be open — for only 45 minutes — at South Jackson Elementary School Monday evening, Aug. 13.

Open from just 5:45 to 6:30 p.m., the walk-through exhibit is the culmination — and celebration — of a Mathematics & Science Partnership Grant with a really long title: “Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills through Scientific and Mathematical Argumentation and Reasoning,” according to Deborah Riddleberger, science curriculum specialist for the Jackson County School System.

As part of the two-year effort funded by the MSP grant, 28 elementary and middle school teachers participated in a week-long workshop July 16-20. In a partnership with the University of Georgia, they focused on professional learning and activities related to aeronautics and astronautics.

ROCKET BUILDERS - East Jackson Middle School teachers Thomas Layfield, left, and Robert Andrews build model rockets in a variety of formats during a week of professional learning funded by a Math & Science Partnership Grant. They are among the staff presenting a hands-on, interactive "museum" Monday night at South Jackson Elementary School.

ROCKET BUILDERS – East Jackson Middle School teachers Thomas Layfield, left, and Robert Andrews build model rockets in a variety of formats during a week of professional learning funded by a Math & Science Partnership Grant. They are among the staff presenting a hands-on, interactive “museum” Monday night at South Jackson Elementary School.

Teachers built and launched rockets and hot-air balloons, took field trips to the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta and to Athens-Ben Epps Airport, and heard presentations from members of the Civil Air Patrol and Jackson County Airport Manager Tom Strong, Riddleberger explained.

“As a culminating activity, teachers have created interactive exhibits for the ‘Jacksonian Air and Space Museum,'” she said. “We hope students and their families and members of our community will come out to see and celebrate their efforts.”

The hands-on exhibits will demonstrate the principles of aeronautics and astronautics. CLICK HERE to see a list of the teachers and the exhibits they are planning.

The exhibits will be set up in the atrium and Media Center hallway at SJES, 1630 New Kings Bridge Road, Athens. The exhibit precedes the monthly meeting of the Jackson County Board of Education, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the school.

Georgia’s Department of Education receives the funds for MSP grants from the U.S. Department of Education, with the amount allocated to each state determined by student population and poverty rates.

The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to winning high-need school systems who partner with institutions of higher learning – in JCSS’s case, UGA – “to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science by enhancing the content knowledge and teaching skills of classroom teachers.”

Georgia’s state Board of Education received 23 proposals and announced awards of approximately $3.6 million in MSP grants at its September 2016 meeting.

READY FOR LIFT-OFF - Capt. Brian Johnston of Barrow-Jackson Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol is ready to lead the rocket launch team, gathered at Jackson County's Gordon Street Center in Jefferson. The elementary and middle school teachers from across the Jackson County School System fashioned a variety of devices as part of a professional learning week funded by a Math & Science Partnership Grant.

READY FOR LIFT-OFF – Capt. Brian Johnston of Barrow-Jackson Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol is ready to lead the rocket launch team, gathered at Jackson County’s Gordon Street Center in Jefferson. The elementary and middle school teachers from across the Jackson County School System fashioned a variety of devices as part of a professional learning week funded by a Math & Science Partnership Grant.

JCSS was one of just eight school systems to win funding; the other seven recipients were universities, university foundations or Regional Education Service Agencies that work with several counties in designated geographic areas.

Riddleberger and UGA faculty from the College of Education and the College of Engineering led the professional learning and facilitated the work for Project EPSSSMAR, which included the week-long professional development work.

“Counting this current project, which runs through September, we have earned a total of $1,902,756 since 2004,” Riddlebarger said. JCSS has earned one of the competitive MSP awards six out of the seven times they have been available.

The nearly $2 million in MSP grants “is in addition to the PRISM (Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics) grant we received in 2004,” Riddlebarger explained, noting that grant brought approximately $1.5 million to Jackson County to support K-12 mathematics and science professional learning.

PRISM was funded by the National Science Foundation and was a five-year initiative of the Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia in partnership with the GaDOE, four core public universities, one regional, and one state university and 13 school districts in Georgia.

JCSS serves approximately 8,000 students in 10 elementary, middle and high schools across Jackson County.