Author Archives: Robin Mara

New JCSU Partnership Deepens, Diversifies CTI Work with CMS Teachers

In a move designed to deepen and diversify its engagement in professional development for teachers, Charlotte Teachers Institute (CTI) has formed a new educational partnership with Johnson C. Smith University to support classroom teachers in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

“Our collaboration with Johnson C. Smith University will add exciting new ideas and expertise to our existing partnership with CMS and with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte,” said CTI Executive Director Scott Gartlan. “We will be able to welcome CMS teachers and UNC Charlotte professors to JCSU’s historic West End campus, building on our strong foundation of transforming teachers and students from pre-kindergarten through college by focusing on content knowledge, creativity, collaboration and leadership.”

Through CTI seminars led by UNC Charlotte and JCSU faculty, CMS teachers learn new content, work collaboratively with other teachers and develop new curricula for their students. Teachers serve as leaders in the institute, working collaboratively with university faculty. To date, more than 450 CMS teachers have participated in 68 CTI seminars, producing more than 700 original curriculum units and enriching more than 103,000 students.

“We join this partnership with enthusiasm and with an eagerness to learn and to share our strengths,” said JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister. “As a historic urban university located in the heart of Charlotte, we are uniquely situated to work with the other partners to better the lives of CMS teachers and students and to contribute to the transformation of public education.”

CTI and its partners provide activities on active learning and leadership opportunities for teachers. Through intensive, seven-month seminars, led by faculty from UNC Charlotte and JCSU, CMS teachers learn new content, work collaboratively with other district teachers and develop curriculum units for their own classrooms. The Charlotte Teachers Institute is housed in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UNC Charlotte. This fall, JCSU will lead seminars for the first time; CMS teachers are currently applying for spots in the seminars.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools looks forward to continuing the collaborative spirit of our partnership with Charlotte Teachers Institute and UNC Charlotte in the framework of preparing and strengthening the opportunities for teachers,” said CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox. “The reach stretches even farther with the addition of Johnson C. Smith University, providing another level of access to quality preparation for our educators.”

CTI is founded on four pillars of strong professional development: content knowledge, creativity, leadership and collaboration. The new partnership will broaden the partnership’s capacity within each of the areas of emphasis.

“We are very pleased to welcome Johnson C. Smith University to this dynamic partnership with UNC Charlotte and CMS to support the Charlotte Teachers Institute,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “CTI has served an important role in strengthening Charlotte’s public education system by providing teachers with high quality professional development opportunities.”

CTI’s focus on building social capital among teachers, faculty and graduate students addresses the community-based Leading on Opportunity initiative’s priorities to tackle the community’s upward mobility, stated Gartlan.

“Our work aims at strengthening Charlotte’s education system through early education and college and career readiness,” Gartlan said. “Adding JSCU as a collaborator brings important relationships and knowledge that can help move us forward in a strategic way.”

Photo: Margaret Kocherga, Ph.D. nanoscale science graduate student, UNC Charlotte; Phil Carver, eighth grade science teacher, James Martin Middle School; Tom Schmedake, associate professor of chemistry, UNC Charlotte; Geneva Bell, eighth grade science teacher, James Martin Middle School; participated in a CTI summer research experience.

Facts and Figures by Graphic Design

Antowanna Carpenter, CTE/Business, Butler HS

Curriculum Unit (pdf)

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Cheers to Our 2017 CTI Evening for Educators Presenters!

Cheers to all our great presenters at CTI’s Evening for Educators event Oct. 17 at Discovery Place Education Studio. Presenters included current and former CTI Fellows from CTI Seminars, and CTI Fellows, Seminar Leaders and UNCC graduate assistants who participated in our Summer Research Experience for Teachers.
 
          Our guests — CMS teachers, CTI supporters and local community members — were very impressed with the excellent curriculum ideas provided, and got lots of great ideas to take back to their students and schools. Many thanks to these presenters for sharing their super engaging, innovative work!

CTI Fellows Curricula

  • Justine Busto, English as a Second Language teacher, East Mecklenburg High School: Using Graphic Novels and Picture Books in the High School and Middle School Classroom
  • Matthew Kelly, Spanish teacher, Independence High School:  Una imagen vale mil palabras: Using Hispanic Art with Novice Learners of Spanish
  • Jennifer Ladanyi, language arts teacher, Bailey Middle School:  Graphic Novels: Reading Critically from Texts to Images
  • Pam Shembo, fifth grade French immersion teacher, E.E. Waddell Academy:  Words of African Wisdom through Leuk the Hare in a French Immersion Classroom
  • Amy Thomas, math teacher, Reedy Creek Elementary School:  Number Awareness and Place Value
  • Janet Raybon, forensic science teacher, Myers Park High School:  The Rest of the Story: A Study of Death, Decomposition and Metamorphosis
  • Tyler Godensky, forensic science student, Myers Park High School:  Decomposition and the Life Cycle of the Blow Fly

CTI Summer Research Experience for Teachers (SRET)

Silver Nanoparticles for Enhanced Efficiency in Solar Applications

  • Wendy Potter, apparel and textile production teacher, Butler High School
  • Kari Rhoades, biomedical science teacher, Mallard Creek High School
  • Kathleen Dipple, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte
  • Meesha Kaushal, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte

How You Can Use Fluorescence and Light to Demonstrate Chemistry Concepts in Your Classroom

  • Phil Carver, science teacher, James Martin Middle School
  • Margaret Kocherga, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Tom Schmedake, associate professor of chemistry, UNC Charlotte

Examining the Effects of Freeze/Thaw Cycles on Porcine Skin Using Spectral Analysis

  • Curtis Overton, technology & design teacher, West Mecklenburg High School

SRET Graduate Student Research

Studying the effects of Peripheral Alkyl Chains on Exciton Diffusion Parameters in Porphyrin-PCBM Thin Films for OPV Applications

  • Meesha Kaushal, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte

Fabrication of Tunable Silver Nanorod Films for Solar Applications

  • Kathleen Dipple, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte

 

CTI Presents Evening for Educators Tuesday, October 17, 2017

CTI Fellows will share new curricula they created for their students at CTI’s Evening for Educators event on Tuesday, October 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Discovery Place Education Studio. Teachers and the general public are invited to learn about engaging new teaching ideas created by CMS teachers in their CTI seminars. Experience a night of fun and innovative curricula for grades preK-12 in math, science, social studies, the arts and more. Refreshments will be served. Hosted by CTI and Discovery Place Education Studio, it’s all free and open to the public. Register to attend HERE.

CTI Fellows Share Collaborative Science Research

Story and photos by Grayson Hollowell, CTI Communications & Administrative Assistant


 

Fascinating research, our awesome CTI Fellows, and many attentive guests all came together for CTI’s Summer Research Experience for Teachers (SRET) Reception on Thursday, September 7, at UNC Charlotte’s Atkins Library.

Eight teams comprised of CTI Fellows, graduate assistants and professors, from UNC Charlotte and Davidson College, collaborated in physics and chemistry research labs during June and July. At the SRET Reception, they displayed posters illustrating their findings and discussed them with reception attendees. CTI Fellows’ posters and research information can be found on CTI’s SRET webpage.

Deans, faculty, staff and and our other CTI Fellows joined us to commend and learn from the great research gleaned from the SRET projects. The public did the same, creating a wonderful, intellectual and casual atmosphere, accompanied by pizzas and drinks.

Thank you to everyone who attended and to all who participated in SRET. Congratulations on your marvelous hard work!

 

New Ring Systems for New Drugs


CTI Fellows Josh Trujillo and Kassie Stevens, chemistry teachers at W.A. Hough High School, conducted research in Dr. Erland Steven’s pharmaceutical laboratory at Davidson College this summer.  View their poster synopsis below.

Research Team:

  • Kassie Calvo, chemistry teacher, Hough High School
  • Josh Trujillo, chemistry teacher, Hough High School
  • Dr. Erland Stevens, professor of chemistry, Davidson College

CTI Fellows Present at CMS Science Curriculum Day

Six CTI Fellows presented lessons from their CTI Summer Research Experience for Teachers with teaching colleagues at the CMS Science Curriculum Day Aug. 17 at South Mecklenburg High School. SRET Fellows shared what distinguishes CTI’s professional development from other PD, how they became involved in CTI’s SRET, research methods and concepts they explored in university laboratories, and their plans to implement research in their classrooms this fall, with the help of UNC Charlotte graduate students.

CTI presenters included Michelle Faggert (Martin Luther King MS), Namrata Gupta (Nations Ford ES) and Curtis Overton (West Mecklenburg HS) from Dr. Susan’s Trammell’s physics lab; Geneva Bell and Phil Carver (both at James Martin MS) from Dr. Tom Schmedake’s chemistry lab; and Kari Rhoades from Dr. Marcus Jones’ chemistry lab. Each of the three groups presented two 50-minute sessions for other CMS science teachers.
Cheers to these dedicated Fellows for sharing their SRET learning with other teachers!

Investigation of Optical Properties of Silver Nanorod Films

 

Research Team:

  • Marielle Matheus, third grade teacher, Vaughan Academy of Technology
  • Jackie Smith, forensics teacher, Hough High School
  • Kathleen Dipple, chemistry graduate student, UNC Charlotte
  • Meesha Kaushal, chemistry graduate student, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Marcus Jones, associate professor of chemistry, UNC Charlotte

Examining the Effects of Freeze/Thaw Cycles on Porcine Skin Using Spectral Analysis

Research Team:

  • Michelle Faggert, science teacher, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School
  • Namrata Gupta, science teacher, Nations Ford Elementary School
  • Curtis Overton, science teacher, West Mecklenburg High School
  • Joseph Peller, graduate assistant in physics, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Susan Trammell, associate professor of physical and optical science, UNC Charlotte

Light Assisted Drying (LAD) of Chlorophyll

Research Team:

  • NaKreshia Cox, science teacher, Sedgefield Middle School
  • Audrey Dorante, history teacher, East Mecklenburg High School
  • Heather Nash, science teacher, East Mecklenburg High School
  • Madison Young, graduate assistant in physics, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Susan Trammell, associate professor of physical and optical science, UNC Charlotte

How You Can Use Fluorescence and Light to Demonstrate Chemistry Concepts in Your Classroom

Geneva Bell SRET 2017

 

Phil Carver SRET 2017

 

Bell Carver Overview SRET 2017

Research Team:

  • Geneva Bell, science teacher, James Martin Middle School
  • Phil Carver, science teacher, James Martin Middle School
  • Margaret Kocherga, graduate assistant in chemistry, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Tom Schmedake, associate of chemistry, UNC Charlotte

Silver Nanoparticles for Enhanced Efficiency in Solar Applications

Research Team:

  • Wendy Potter, apparel and textile production teacher, Butler High School
  • Kari Rhoades, biomedical science teacher, Mallard Creek High School
  • Kathleen Dipple, chemistry graduate student, UNC Charlotte
  • Meesha Kaushal, chemistry graduate student, UNC Charlotte
  • Dr. Marcus Jones, associate professor of chemistry, UNC Charlotte

 

 

2017 CTI Science Research Showcase

SRET Showcase & Reception: Thursday, Sept. 7, 5:00-5:50 p.m.                  Halton Reading Room in Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte

CTI will host the Science Research Experience for Teachers (SRET) Showcase and Reception on Thursday, Sept. 7, 5:00-5:50 p.m. at the Halton Reading Room at UNC Charlotte’s Atkins Library. This event is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to learn about Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers’ work with professors in research laboratories at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College this summer.

Fourteen CMS teachers collaborated with professors and graduate assistants, as part of CTI’s 2017 SRET during June and July. These CTI Fellows worked in four different laboratories led by university and college professors: Dr. Susan Trammell, physics and optical science, UNCC; Marcus Jones, chemistry, UNCC; Dr. Tom Schmedake, chemistry, UNCC; and Dr. Erland Stevens, chemistry, Davidson College.

During the Sept. 7 reception, the SRET teacher fellows, professors and graduate assistants will provide poster presentations and discuss their unique collaborations and how this research experience translates to their classrooms and their students. Pizza and soft drinks will be served. Parking details here.

For an overview of each research team and their research topics, see SRET.

 

 

CTI Hosted Equal Justice Workshop for CMS Teachers


CTI and the Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice hosted a curriculum planning workshop for CMS teachers on Aug. 15 at Queens University of Charlotte, presented by the Equal Justice Initiative (Montgomery, AL). Committed to changing the narrative about race in America, EJI produces groundbreaking reports, discussion guides, teacher education workshops, lesson plans and other educational materials, as well as short films that explore our nation’s history of racial injustice. EJI recently launched a national effort to create new spaces, markers, and memorials that address the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation, which shapes many issues today.

Long-time and greatly admired East Mecklenburg High School teacher Larry Bosc, now retired, coordinated the workshop. Larry is a former CTI Fellow who participated in CTI’s African American Literature of the Civil Rights Movement at Davidson College in 2012. (See civil rights-related curriculum units from that seminar HERE.) Following the day-long workshop with the EJI and his CMS teaching colleagues, Larry provided this report on the day:

Given recent events in Charlottesville, last Tuesday’s seminar delivered by EJI staff Kiara Boone and Jonathan Kubakundimana couldn’t have been more appropriate. Although EJI’s work in criminal justice reform has righted many wrongs, their focus in this seminar was on their stated message that “we cannot reach reconciliation without first acknowledging the truth about our past, and until we confront this history and its legacy, we will remain challenged by extremism and racial bias.” The event, sponsored by the Charlotte Teachers Institute and the Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University, was attended by 27 CMS teachers. It began in the morning with presentations by Boone and Kubakundimana featuring their research into racial violence in American and their plans for a museum and memorial to victims of the over 4,000 lynchings in the South from 1877-1955. Additionally, they made available to all participants numerous pamphlets containing this information and exposed teachers to their curriculum guide available on their website. The afternoon session featured small group work as teachers processed the information given to them in the morning and began work on their lesson plans. Judging by teacher comments, the morning presentation had given them some great energy as they prepare to meet their students in the weeks to come.

CMS teacher Kheiston Tilford had this to say about the workshop: One of the best PD’s I’ve ever been to. I left feeling honored to tell my history, empowered and compelled to do more research and ask more questions about my family history and resources….Great resources to help us facilitate discussion inside and outside of our classrooms! 🙌🏾❤️📚 Thank you!

Math, Paper, Pencil, Graphene, Carbon Nanotubes, and Buckyballs

 

Joanne Rowe, Math, Northwest School of the Arts

Curriculum Unit (pdf)

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