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Science and Health Education Partnership

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SEP offers several programs that take place at school sites throughout San Francisco.  Additionally, SEP produces the Bay Area Science Festival each year, which is region-wide and open all of the public.

The majority of SEP's programs are classroom-based partnerships: UCSF volunteers partnered with SFUSD teachers co-plan and co-teach a series of science and/or health lessons in the classroom. The UCSF volunteers are a diverse group, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and students in the professional schools of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy, and nursing. An important feature of SEP’s classroom-based partnerships is that they are not single-visit "guest lectures", rather through these programs, SFUSD students benefit from sustained contact with UCSF volunteers.

Elementary School

There are two classroom-based partnership programs at the elementary level; they both occur during the spring and require a commitment of about 20 hours on the part of the UCSF volunteers and SFUSD teachers.

  • Health Teach/MedTeach partners professional students from Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing and Physical Therapy with San Francisco public school teachers to plan and co-teach a series of hands-on human body and health lessons in kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms.
  • Scientist-Teacher Action Teams (STAT) are composed of all other UCSF volunteers (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, and students in the professional schools of pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy, and nursing) and their teacher partners. Lessons may be in the areas of life, earth, and/or physical science depending on the expressed goals of the teacher partners.

Middle and High School

  • Bio&ChemTeach is a classroom-based partnership program at the middle and high school level. Generally, one teacher partners with two to three UCSF volunteers to together teach a minimum of four lessons in the spring semester. The estimated time commitment for volunteers and teachers is 20 hours.
  • A new high school program, Pathways, began in August 2009 - with recruiting in the spring. Pathways teachers and scientists will work together for the entire school year, co-teaching science investigations and taking part in an intensive professional development program focused on strategies to promote the academic achievement of underrepresented minorities. The time commitment is estimated to be 150 hours and both teachers and UCSF volunteers will receive a stipend.

After-School Sites

  • SF US2020 will work with after-school sites supporting SFUSD middle school students throughout the 2014-2015 school year. Site Supervisors from interested after-school sites apply, STEM professionals apply, and SEP makes matches to create STEM teams.  Each STEM team will collaborate to teach 5 one-hour lessons together over the course of a flexible 8-week window. Curriculum is provided to teams and is closely related to the work of the STEM professionals. Each team will have the support of a coordinator, who will help to plan lesson details, answer questions, troubleshoot any challenges that come up over the course of the lessons.

The Bay Area Science Festival

    A 10 day, annual celebration of science with dozens of events stretching from Santa Rosa to San Jose. This festival does for science what arts festivals do for film, literature, painting, and music: it engages attention, inspires interest, and fires imagination across entire communities by offering large numbers of activities and events during a short period of time (Think festival – not science fair!).
    Discovery Days brings the fun and excitement of science to a huge crowd. In conjunction with local science outreach groups, Discovery Days hosts over 200 hands-on-activities, dozens of exhibits, numerous performances, and family-oriented science entertainment. Attendees are families generally with children aged 0-14, with a special emphasis on those who traditionally do not have access to quality science education resources.
    High profile science acts from around the country anchor evening programming during the festival. Past performers include NPR’s Radiolab, Food Network’s Alton Brown, and famous scientists from around the world.
    Each year, we host over 20 tours to highlight the scientific wonders of the Bay Area. From hiking along the San Andreas Fault with a geologist or touring a deep sea ocean exploration manufacturing center with marine engineers, each tour highlights local resources with the guidance of a scientists or engineer.