PHOENIX, Ariz. – May 3, 2011 – The Deer Valley Education Foundation (DVEF) donated $30,000 to the Deer Valley Unified School District to start a Science Resource Center (SRC) to be located in the Materials District Center. It is the largest grant DVEF has awarded the district. The funding will be used to pay for the support of shelves and other necessary supplies to stock Full Option Science System (FOSS) kits, a research-based science curriculum for grades K-6 developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley.

Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard originated the request to DVEF with the goal of advancing the district’s science initiatives. "The traditional approach of buying hands-on materials for each teacher requires the purchase of three to four times as many non-consumable materials as in a science resource center supported program. In a SRC system, materials are shared on a rotation basis. By implementing the science resource center this year DVUSD will be saving over $115,000 of what it would have cost to re-adopt K-3 science materials without the center," Dr. Kriekard said. "These FOSS kits will serve as a foundation for more advanced ideas that prepare students for life in an increasingly complex scientific and technological world."

The district will purchase FOSS kits in bulk and use its in-house courier system to deliver the kits ready for student use to teachers as they check them in and out of the center, similar to an automated library system. The SRC will staff a full time position responsible to replenish each FOSS kit, alleviating teacher preparation time which allows teachers more time to concentrate on science instruction and ensure the expanded use of the supplemental kits.

DVUSD Science Curriculum Instruction Specialist Mary Jenkins adds, "This new system is designed so students will experience hands-on science leading to greater and deeper understanding of science concepts as they apply their inquiry and data collection skills."  Examples of hands-on activities in FOSS kits include: building stream tables to determine how different landforms are created through erosion; observing and recording the behaviors of insects at different stages of their life cycle – larvae, pupae and adults; determining methods of amplifying sound at the source and the receiver; measuring temperature change that occurs during evaporation; constructing open, closed, parallel, and series electrical circuits; and much more. Arrowhead 6th grade teacher Sue Peck is a strong advocate of the FOSS program and shares her enthusiasm by saying, "I am impressed with how FOSS allows my students the opportunity to investigate meaningful science topics in a hands-on inquiry based environment."

Over the last ten years, DVEF has contributed close to $1 million dollars to Deer Valley schools and students with classroom grants and scholarships.
This year the Foundation is working on aligning its goals to the district strategic plan. "The $30,000 grant contribution is a changing event for the Foundation. We have been exploring options for an impactful program that would have a profound effect on the future of our children. The Science Center is our first step in accomplishing this goal and we plan to partner with the community to fund this project for many years to come," announced DVEF Director Marie Brenan. "We’d like to increase our profile with teachers and will include a letter in each FOSS kit informing them about our goals and initiatives in supporting the Deer Valley School District."