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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642

URI Office of Marine Programs Launches
Teacher Research and Mentoring Armada

Narragansett, R.I .-- June 17, 2003 -- The URI Office of Marine Programs (OMP) at the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) has received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a five-year national program, the ARMADA Project, to involve K-12 teachers in active ocean science research and mentoring experiences. The project will be managed by OMP in collaboration with the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, and the JASON Foundation for Education.

The program will recruit twelve master teachers each year to join the Teacher ARMADA and provide them with classroom and mentoring training as well as summer research experiences in the field, in the lab, or on a ship with leading marine and ocean science researchers. Each master teacher will serve as a mentor for two new teachers and help school districts implement standards-based science curricula and teaching.

In addition, the program will design a framework for marine and ocean science researchers to write research proposals to fund the Teacher ARMADA by incorporating the teachers into their research projects. The results of this research will be disseminated to the broader K-12 educational community.

The cornerstone of this five-year project will be the teachers’ participation in a 10-20 day summer ocean science research experience. Among the placement opportunities already identified are a wide range of research projects associated with GSO’s Institute for Archaeological Oceanography, led by renown oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard; the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, funded primarily by the National Science Foundation; and the Census of Marine Life, funded primarily by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The first wave of twelve master teachers selected to join the Teacher ARMADA in year one will be chosen from a pool of New England teachers who have already been trained through one of two programs, the Rhode Island Marine and Environmental Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education Program and the Northern New England Co-Mentoring Network. In years two-five, teachers will be recruited nationally.

Spearheading the project will be OMP Director Sara Hickox and OMP Associate Director Gail Scowcroft. Other project leaders from the URI Graduate School of Oceanography include Dr. Robert Ballard and URI Associate Professor of Oceanography and Ocean Engineering Dr. Kathryn Moran.

"This is an exciting opportunity for teachers from around the country to participate in cutting edge research all over the world," said Scowcroft. "This year we will be sending teachers to such diverse places as New Zealand and the Gulf of Maine. The ARMADA project also gives teachers a chance to develop professionally and build master teacher skills as they mentor colleagues. The project also allows them to present the results of their research experiences each year at the National Science Teachers Association annual meeting attended by more than 20,000 K-12 science teachers."

Established in 1986 as the marine and environmental outreach arm of URI's Office of the Vice Provost for Marine Programs, OMP's targeted audiences include educators and students at all levels, the general public, volunteers, scientists and engineers, journalists and the media, alumni, donors, and friends of the Graduate School of Oceanography. Housed in the Coastal Institute at URI's Narragansett Bay Campus, OMP outreach efforts are focused in the areas of marine and environmental education and science communications.

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