Press Contact: Trish Palao, Marketing and Communications Manager
Montshire Museum of Science, One Montshire Road, Norwich, VT 05055 

802-649-2200 x222 |

Audio Story Captures Impact of Montshire’s School Partnership Initiative

Aug 19, 2014
For Immediate Release

 Norwich, Vt, August 20, 2014— The pop students hear when salt melts ice is the sound of discovery. It was recorded by science journalist Ari Daniel at Thetford Elementary School last year. Ari produces “Museums Beyond Museums,” an audio series that explores innovative museum-based approaches to science learning and community engagement.  Supported by the Noyce Leadership Institute, an initiative of the Noyce Foundation (Los Altos, California), “Museums Beyond Museums” captures the impact of Montshire’s School Partnership Initiative (SPI) through the voices of children and teachers who actively participate in the program.

The Montshire initiative supports science education in the region’s rural K-8 schools through a long-term, collaborative partnership that brings the Museum’s experience and resources directly into classrooms. Museum educators work with teachers and administrators to build capacity and infrastructure for high-quality science programs that engage and excite students.

“Many school districts in rural New England are too small to support the infrastructure needed for outstanding science programs,” says Greg DeFrancis, Director of Education at the Montshire. “We’re able to provide on-going support to sustain and build programs that get students and teachers engaged in doing science.”  That support is delivered through a number of services that include:

  • providing professional development for faculty,implementing high-quality science curriculum materials in classrooms,
  • model teaching,
  • developing teacher-leaders for science, and
  • creating opportunities for community and family involvement in science.

The need to improve the country’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education system is well documented—ranging from U.S. student scores on international math and science assessments to the forecasted growth in STEM-related industries. Numerous studies show that student attitudes towards science are strongly influenced by their experiences in the science classroom and the quality of science teaching provided.

With our small rural schools facing particular challenges due to their size, isolation, and lack of internal support structures for science, Montshire’s SPI provides a unique solution to meet this need.

The program is making a difference. Participating schools are spending more time teaching science, teachers are building confidence in subject matter and teaching methods, and students’ interest and excitement about science are increasing.

Download audio segment

About the Montshire Museum
The Montshire Museum in Norwich, Vermont, is a leader in hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Its exhibits and programs are designed to inspire a love of learning and scientific exploration, engaging nearly 140,000 people each year. Many of the 17,000 schoolchildren who visit each year participate in the Museum’s educational workshops.