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School District Five teachers selected for Science P.L.U.S. Institute

For Immediate Release – March 14, 2019



School District Five teachers selected for Science P.L.U.S. Institute


IRMO – Seven Lexington-Richland School District Five teachers have been accepted into the 2019 Science P.L.U.S. Institute at Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville, SC.


The Science P.L.U.S. Institute is presented in a one-week, grade-specific, one-subject format. Participants in the summer Institute leave with 30 hours towards recertification along with nearly $1,000 worth of science materials for their classroom.


More than 1,000 applications from 88% of the state’s school districts were received, marking the most applications the institute has ever received in its history.


The following School District Five teachers were selected for the program: Gracen Bennett (Ballentine Elementary), Peter Lauzon (Irmo High), Makayla Mason (Irmo High), Jalisa Mckevie (Nursery Road Elementary), Kimberly Parker (Leaphart Elementary), Chelsea Smith (Dutch Fork Middle), and Yvonne Williams (Dutch Fork Middle).


Leaphart Elementary STEAM Magnet science teacher, Kimberly Parker, selected to attend the fifth grade ecosystems course said, “The partnership that we have with Roper Mountain is amazing. They are always so wonderful in their support of our school and in helping is to implement South Carolina science standards. This is such an honor, and I cannot wait to learn more about ecosystems to bring back to Leaphart STEAM Magnet and to share with our fifth grade community!”


Selection for the Institute is not based on merit; the selection committee’s goal is to make this opportunity available equitably to SC public school science teachers. The committee chooses teachers with a wide range of experience levels, knowing that participants learn from the expertise of their colleagues and are inspired by their enthusiasm. The committee always chooses at least one participant from each school district with applicants, regardless of district size; proportionately more applicants are selected from larger districts. Priority is given to first-time applicants, especially those from Palmetto Priority Schools and from Title I schools.


“Congratulations to these teachers for their selection to the prestigious Science PLUS Institute,” said Elizabeth Boland, School District Five science, health and PE coordinator.  “These teachers exemplify what it means to teach in district five as they go above and beyond to ensure students have access to authentic learning experiences.


Since 1993, over 4,437 South Carolina teachers, representing all of the state’s school districts, have participated in Science P.L.U.S. classes. The Science P.L.U.S. Institute is funded by the Educational Improvement Act.


"Professional development is a priority in School District Five,” said Michael Guliano, School District Five chief instructional officer.  “We are proud that our teachers believe in continuous development and model lifelong learning to our students.   The knowledge they will acquire through the Science P.L.U.S. Institute will directly impact student learning as they bring back research-based strategies to use in their classroom with students."