Science specialists

I am K-6 science specialist in Australia. I am keen to make contact with others in this unique employment situation. I’m interested in issues such as timetabling (scheduling), support from the school, and any issues with the teachers’ union. – C., New South Wales

Some U.S. schools have elementary science specialists. Depending on the school, these specialists can have a variety of roles: co-teacher, mentor, coach, resource coordinator, professional development. Some teach science to several classes as an elementary “special,” while the classroom teacher has a planning period and is not in the classroom. These positions are often funded by grants.

At one time, I was a K-12 technology specialist, and my school district also had a K-5 science specialist. We were both part of the bargaining unit and on the teacher salary scale (our district was unionized).

Even though we visited classrooms often, we had no supervisory or evaluative roles. We were coaches or mentors rather than administrators, and teachers were very receptive and responsive to us. If we did interact directly with students, it was a co-teaching experience to assist the teacher with a science or technology-enhanced lesson.

In terms of support, we each had “office” space to work and store materials (a corner of an unused classroom or conference room). Budget-wise we had some funds for materials and equipment, mostly from grants and federal programs in professional development or math/science/technology.

I posted your request on an NSTA Discussion Forum for input from colleagues in similar roles. (Even if you’re not an NSTA member, you can create a free account to respond to discussion posts, ask questions, or access NSTA resources through the Learning Center.)  



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