RITES is the targeted MSP program in Rhode Island. RITES stands for RI Technology Enhanced Sciences. It seeks to support state and district initiatives to improve science teaching and learning by creating a lasting partnership between higher education science and education faculty and administrators with district and state science personnel and teachers. It’s primary implementation is a professional development program for teachers, framed around a summer institute and an action-research project during the school-year. The PD focuses on: deepening content knowledge; increasing inquiry opportunities; and improving appropriate technology use. Initially funded in Oct 2008, RITES is in its 4th year, and has reached 18 (50%) of districts and 382 (54%) of RI’s science teachers.
RITES defines effective STEM teaching as creative, responsive instruction that is attentive to learner knowledge base; rich in the use of inquiry; supported by appropriate and efficient technology; and contextualized by synergistic decision-making and curricular design on the part of school programs, schools, districts and state agencies.
RITES’ measurable impacts to date are in the areas of: improved content knowledge and understanding of inquiry instruction; increased teacher engagement around best practices; increased classroom technology use; increased teacher content knowledge; increased teacher reflection and use of data to inform instruction; the ongoing development of lasting relationships/ partnership between higher education and districts; and the sharing of best practices across districts, at the instructional and district levels.