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MAILED: July 27, 1998|
Beginning July 27, the 11th annual Cray Academy will help more than 800 teachers improve their teaching skills and student achievement.
"It's a series of workshops spanning two weeks," Charles Larson, the assistant dean for graduate studies and Outreach in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said of the program. "The focus is to improve science, mathematics and technology education in pre-K to 12."
Other than a $55 registration fee, the workshops are free for the teachers. UW-Eau Claire, Cooperative Education Service Agencies 10 and 11, numerous businesses and various funds organize and support the program.
"We've always had a large teacher education program at UW-Eau Claire and we've always had a large outreach program ... and it just fits in with those efforts," Larson said.
Northcentral and Northwestern Wisconsin school districts choose teachers to participate in the Academy, he said. Each teacher chooses one workshop per week and receives one credit per workshop.
Some of the 31 workshops offered include "Building Basics with a Better Understanding," "Graphing CalculatorsFrom the Box to the Classroom" and "Energize Your ClassroomProject KEEP."
"(Cray Academy) has become a national model," Larson said. "It has created quite an impact on improving science and mathematics in the state."
There are nine other academies in Wisconsin following the Cray model, he said. Each teacher will tour two or three businesses during the Academy to get a better understanding of how science, math and technology are being used in everyday life, he said. Following the tours, the business leaders will sit down with the teachers to discuss what they have seen and learned.
"Really what we're trying to get (teachers) to see is how technology is affecting everything so they can share that with their students," he said.
While there are no immediate plans to expand the workshops into other areas, such as English and social studies, the possibility of future expansion still remains, he said.
"The history of it is such that when it was started, Cray funded it and they were interested in science, mathematics and technology," Larson said.
Since then, Cray has dropped its funding, he said. However, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is considering becoming more involved in the Academies statewide, and if they do, the program will be expanded to other disciplines.
Until then, he said, the Academy will remain as it is, devoted to its goal of "helping teachers do a better job of teaching science, mathematics and technology in their schools."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: August 3, 1998