Clarke College is pleased to announce that the College was recently awarded a $423,138 grant from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa to continue “River Quest,” a week-long immersion institute and follow-up activities for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade teachers focused on transforming science education. The grant was awarded as part of the state’s Title II programs for the Improving Teacher Quality State Grant Program of the No Child Left Behind Act.
River Quest was piloted for the first time last year with $88,000 in state funding to support the program. The new, three-year River Quest project is a partnership between Clarke College, the Dubuque Community School District, the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Keystone Area Education Agency and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Last year, 21 upper-elementary school teachers attended River Quest.
The project partners will use the most recent funding to continue implementation of the River Quest Institute and follow-up activities. In addition to sustaining the current program, a second River Quest Institute, called RQ-II, will be established with the goal of expanding on the material from the first session for upper-elementary teachers. Institutes designed primarily for middle-school teachers will also be developed over the next two years of the program.
The River Quest Institute weaves science content into the context of the Mississippi River and its watershed. Participants, all of whom are professional teachers, are aided in developing grade-appropriate teaching modules to use in their classrooms. This institute is cross-disciplinary, including topics in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, mathematics and technology.
As part of the program, the teachers participate in two follow-up seminars during the upcoming school year and return to the River Museum for a field trip with their students. Teachers receive materials for their classrooms to implement the lessons they design. The seminars allow the teachers to engage in action research as they reflect on and share their experiences in implementing lessons designed during the institute.