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Back to Index Published on 12/19/00    
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EBR schools, SU team up for GLOBE

Advocate staff writer

Southern University and the East Baton Rouge Parish public school system signed a partnership agreement Monday that officials hope will do more than just bring two education systems together.

"This is a partnership between science and education," said Ralph Coppola, assistant director for education and training for the GLOBE program.

The GLOBE program -- which is the heart of the newly formed partnership -- aims to teach students science by letting them act as scientists. They gather data in their neighborhoods, then share it with other students and professional scientists around the world via the Internet. Students can analyze their own data and that of other students.

GLOBE stands for Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment. The local effort is paid for through a NASA-funded initiative of two Southern University professors called PIPELINES, which stands for Pursuit of Education and Learning IN Engineering and Science.

Southern University has provided training for local public schoolteachers from certain schools in the GLOBE effort. Teachers at nine parish public schools have become certified GLOBE instructors, and teachers at another six schools are working toward certification.

The nine schools are Crestworth Middle, Forest Heights Elementary, Glen Oaks Middle, Glen Oaks High, Harding Elementary, Istrouma Middle, Prescott Middle, Progress Elementary and Scotlandville High. Two teachers at Southern Laboratory School also have become certified.

James Machen, assistant superintendent for middle schools in the local public school district, said the system will support the effort by making sure teachers have the resources and support they need.

"One of the shortcomings we have as a school system and a society (nationally) … is getting our students to understand how to measure and analyze data, and I think this will go a long way toward doing that," he said at a luncheon where a partnership agreement was signed.

David Corona, assistant superintendent for high schools, added: "This ultimately answers the question young people have so often of, ‘Why do I need to learn this.' "

Robert Ford, a chemistry professor at Southern who is involved in GLOBE and PIPELINES, said he hopes the community focuses on the kinds of efforts like the one celebrated Monday, rather than the 44-year-old desegregation case, which tends to dominate discussion.

"The real action is in improving education in the parish," he said at the signing ceremony. "It's fine to take care of desegregation and the legal aspect of it, but the real bottom line is improving education through partnerships like the one we're approving today."

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