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Discovery Center, Rockford Public Schools to offer after-school science and literacy program
Posted By Brandon Reid On July 26, 2011 @ 1:43 pm In Happening Now, Local News | No Comments
Online Staff Report
Discovery Center Museum announced July 26 that they are forming a partnership to launch an innovative after-school and family-focused science and literacy educational effort titled LEAP Into Science.
Discovery Center, in conjunction with the Rockford Public School District’s After School Achievement Program, is one of 10 partnerships nationwide selected to launch a program modeled after the highly successful LEAP into Science museum/library partnership between Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute and The Free Library of Philadelphia.
The national effort kicks off with a LEAP into Science Expansion Conference July 18-20 in Philadelphia, with educators from both organizations slated to attend.
Museums, libraries, school districts, universities, and a variety of other educational institutions from New York City to Salt Lake City have signed on, with a total of 25 representatives from these organizations gathering at The Franklin Institute to learn best practices as they design and launch their own programs.
After-school programs are a growing feature of informal education throughout the country, and 31 sites vied for the opportunity to launch their own LEAP into Science partnership programs.
LEAP into Science’s program model, which engages children and families in science and literacy learning, combines the institute’s strengths in informal science programs and professional development with the library’s expertise in youth literacy programming and its existing citywide after-school program. The model’s central goal is to demonstrate how museums, libraries and other educational institutions across the country can partner together to enhance the capacity of underserved communities to engage children and families in science.
Discovery Center will pilot the program as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center After School Achievement Program in 10 Rockford Public Schools.
Funded by a $1.176 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in 2007, LEAP into Science aims to achieve the following:
• Increase science interest, understanding, and engagement by involving underserved families in cross-generational science experiences;
• Make science accessible to a diverse audience by bringing science activities into community settings and promoting the use of museums and libraries;
• Build community capacity and provide training and experience in informal science education to afterschool staff; and
• Disseminate effective resources and strategies for connecting science and literacy to expansion sites nationwide.
A key element of the LEAP into Science expansion will be an in-depth research study. Dr. Dale McCreedy, director of Gender and Family Learning at The Franklin Institute and the Principal Investigator of the grant, will work with the Institute for Learning Innovation, a Maryland-based nonprofit research and evaluation organization in this effort.
Dr. McCreedy noted: “The national dissemination of LEAP into Science offers us an opportunity to further study the effective integration and adaptation of our Philadelphia-based model. It combines science and children’s literature in ways that are sustainable and impactful — bringing meaningful science learning opportunities to families and youth across the country.”
Discovery Center Museum is inside Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. General admission to the museum is $7 adults, $7 children (ages 2-17) and free to children younger than 1 and museum members. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; and noon-5 p.m., Sunday.
Call (815) 963-6769 or visit www.discoverycentermuseum.org .
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