Southern California is not only large geographically, but it also has a high concentration of high schools and colleges. The Southern California American Association of Physics Teachers (SCAAPT) has two meetings per year, yet the representation at these meetings is always only a very small fraction of possible participants. To supplement these sectional meetings, SCAAPT has established funding for Local Area Networks (LANs) throughout the region where teachers meet and share ideas outside of the larger sectional meetings.
LANs are professional learning communities formatted to increase social interaction and to meet the needs and constraints of a local physics teacher population or a targeted physics teaching community with similar interests. As such, LANs may take on many different forms, including but not limited to:
- Developing curricula that fits a specific population’s needs
- Discussing particular readings related to physics teaching and education
- Development of end-of-the year student projects
- Increasing collaboration among high school and college faculty
- Increasing collaboration with industry partners
LAN proposals should have a clear goal and focus. Members with innovative ideas towards professional development are especially encouraged to apply.
Awards are expected to be for a maximum of $100, although exceptional programs may be considered for additional funding. It is anticipated that ten LANs will be funded in the initial phase, but this number may be adjusted based upon the number of applications and available funds.
Overall Program Goals
- Focus on teachers helping other teachers
- Increase social interaction among physics teachers
- Increase involvement in SCAAPT, strengthening the organization
- Funded LANs will provide models for future programs
- Sustain LANs beyond the funding period
- The form of the LANs can vary to suit the needs of the specific community. LANs are encouraged to blend both social and professional activities to engage and educate the members.
- Some proposers may even wish to interpret “local” as pertaining to common interests, rather than common geography.
- LANs are not restricted any particular teacher population; high school and college teachers are encouraged to form LANs. Teachers from different populations may even wish to collaborate in order to share resources. Proposers are also welcomed to include local industrial partners and retirees.
- LANs are not bound to a specific size; however, most professional learning communities function best when they at least six members and no more than a dozen.
- LANs should have a clear goal and focus. While there a strong social component will increase the social capital, there must be a strong professional development component. Tying these activities together with a common goal or project helps to give the LANs a sense of purpose.
LAN proposals will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis until all funds have been awarded. Applications will initially be reviewed by the SCAAPT subcommittee for LANs, who will then make a recommendation to the SCAAPT officers.
Each LAN representative will be expected to submit a final written report to SCAAPT officers and present a five-minute summary of their program at an upcoming SCAAPT meeting.