Project Overview

Project: 2012 - 2013 High Park Fire Research and Recovery
Teacher: Sarah Bayer
School: Polaris Expeditionary Learning School
Location: 1905 Orchard Pl
Start Date: 09/14/2012
End Date: 05/15/2013

Participant Totals
Student Participants: 21
Mentor Participants: 15

Survey Totals
Teacher Survey: 1
Student Surveys: 21
Mentor Surveys: 15

Teacher Project Survey Results

Please select those areas where you witnessed significant improvement for your participating students.
Yes No Area of Potential Impact
0 1 Improved math comprehension and ability
0 1 Increased registration for advanced math courses
1 0 Improved science comprehension and ability
1 0 Increased registration for advanced science courses
1 0 Improved Communication skills (Written or Oral)
0 1 Improved subject grades
0 1 Improved standardized test scores
1 0 Improved critical thinking skills
1 0 Improved teamwork
0 1 Improved school attendence
1 0 Increase in self-directed learning
0 1 Increase integration of knowledge across subject areas and interest areas
1 0 Increase in knowledge of the workplace
1 0 Increased desire to become a proactive learner
0 1 Increased desire to go to college
0 1 Other areas

Please describe additional areas that may have been impacted by this program.

Please indicate the percentage of your students who are actively moving in the direction of becoming proactive learners.

I have a better understanding of the importance of doing well in math.
i used the program as a source of feedback and resources as students worked on their class project. Additionally many times mentors steered students to pursue other interests in career and post secondary readiness.

How many students would you prefer to directly supervise in the program next year?

Please provide some tips on how we can partner with you to expand the program in your area.
1) Help with grant funding - I've tried a few avenues and have come up short. At this point, funding from administration is not appropriate because of other financial issues at our school.

How would you rate the quality of the matches between your students and mentors overall on a scale of 1 - 5?

Please describe any changes you'd like to see that might further improve the quality of the matches.
It would be great to see matches with professionals that are experienced in the area students are working in in their project... for example, we had a biological/wildlife project- and many of our matches worked in the pharmaceutical industry. Having context for some of the work would have been helpful.

Describe a few things you and your students and mentors were able to accomplish through this program that would have been difficult or impossible any other way.
Great feedback for student work Innovative ways to approach problems students were dealing with in the project.

How would you rate the quality of the help you received from the International Telementor Center staff throughout this project on a scale of 1 - 5?

How often were you able to communicate with the mentor group as a whole?

How often were your students able to communicate, on average, with the mentors?

Describe significant changes that you would like to see in the program or school environment that would improve the effectiveness of the program for you and your students. Please note who would be responsible for making those changes.
It would be great to have a teacher orientation to the website and the ins and outs of the program - I felt like I got thrown in and was un aware of some of the technical aspects as well as the procedural aspects.. I wasn't exactly sure on how working and communicating with the mentor worked. An orientation would have been helpful as I felt like I was in the dark much of the first semester. This would be helpful to do with other local schools that are also doing the program so there could be networking and idea sharing from those who had been through it before... although it is possible for me to do on my own... as a teacher its hard to find time and space in my schedule to make it work... so having a clear professional development and orientation to the program would be helpful. Additionally, as with any program or grant we work with as a school - it is helpful to have some kind of memorandum of understanding as to the responsibilities of the teacher, student, and telementor staff. At times it was unclear as to the expectation for all. This would be a simple task for ITP to draw up (like a contract).

How has this program assisted you to use technology more effectively?
Using wildlife cams was a great learning experience for me. As for students I think they were able to see the value of emailing and correspondence with a mentor.

Please note the impact this program has had on meeting state or national standards on a scale of 1 - 5. Where 1 is none and 5 is signifigant

Please describe this impact, if any, in your own words.
It helped support our scientific investigation - but less of some of the actual content. Again it would have been helpful to have mentors closer to the content that we were studying.

If "students at-risk" are defined as those who have low motivation to learn, what percentage of the students you supervised this year met this criterion.

When you applied to be a teacher contact you were asked to meet the following requirements.
  1. All student/mentor commmunication is project based
  2. Participating students receive a subject grade and turn in work at least biweekly
  3. Teachers should communicate at least biweekly with the mentors
  4. Students should be self-selected for participation.
  5. Teachers should expect a high degree of accountability from their students.
  6. Teachers should respond to specific program problems within 48 hours
How many requirements you were able to meet this year.

Please describe which requirements, if any, helped you be successful in the program?
Project based communication- students were able to have a good sounding board on their communication and problem solving with the program and project.

Please describe which requirements, if any, were difficult to meet. Please note why these requirements were difficult to meet.
Bi weekly communication - in a semester course its difficult to pack not only state standardized content and a major project - but layering on mentor communication was difficult to continue at the pace that was required. I felt sometimes staff was on me about continuing communication (which I value) but at times I need for staff to assume my best intent that I am trying to meet the expectations of the course as well as support students and their needs.

If you were helping a new teacher start in this program, what advice would you offer that would aid this new teacher and his or her students to be successful participants?
See above comments with teacher orientation training....

Do you plan to participate in the program next year?

Please estimate how many students in your school district or city could take advantage of this program next year?

What additional training would you recommend for teachers next year?
See above comment with teacher orientation...