research on one's own classroom teaching. The standard also includes opportunities for teachers to deepen their content knowledge over time—to know where to go and how to stay up to date in their disciplines.
Professional Development Standard D: Coherent, Quality Programs
This standard is about organization, the structure of programs, and being more programmatic about professional development at all levels. This is really what you are here to talk about, for we need coherent and integrated programs at all levels. Some of the coherence-building pieces are goals and visions that are shared among all the different parts of the science education community.
We heard earlier about how important it is for all parties involved in the preparation of teachers to work together, coordinating the components and building in those same elements of continuous assessment, reflection, improvement, and collaboration that you have seen before. We need less separation of science and teaching; pedagogical content knowledge is the glue. We need less separation of theory and practice; being on site in the context of the learning situation is the glue. We need less individual learning and more collegial and collaborative learning. We need less fragmentation and more coherence.
We need the courage to go off the beaten path, and I wish you success with the programs you will be putting together.
The Montana Systemic Teacher Education Preparation Project (STEP)
Robert Briggs, Montana State Systemic Initiative Lyle Anderson and Elizabeth Charron, Montana State University
Meeting the challenge of Standards-based reform has already begun in many states. Current efforts in Montana, Louisiana, and Connecticut were described, not as exemplars, but to stimulate discussion on lessons learned and the potential for adapting successful strategies in other states.
The Montana STEP collaborative involves five units in our state's university system, seven tribal colleges, school districts, and the State Office of Public Instruction. Project leaders were well aware that to accomplish any kind of mathematics and science reform in the state, they would have to be collaborative and involve all aspects of the system. Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States but has a relatively small, spread-out population, which complicates the desire for collaboration. Therefore, telecommunication was used heavily in our project.
Breaking down human barriers to communication was the next challenge. Elementary teachers did not talk very much to middle school teachers, high school teachers, or university departments in either the education or the scientific disciplines. They certainly did not do a lot of talking across disciplines, between mathematics and science, for example, or any of the other disciplines. Improving communication and coordination among organizations, teachers, and others directly involved with education in sciences and mathematics was a priority.