The Bay Area Schools for Excellence in Education (BASEE) is a partnership between Hewlett-Packard Company and eight school districts in California's Silicon Valley (Cupertino Union School District, Los Altos School District, Menlo Park School District, Mountain View School District, Palo Alto Unified School District, Redwood City School District, Santa Clara Unified School District and Whisman School Districts). Together the districts include 74 elementary schools, over 1900 teachers and 44,000 students in a geographic region that includes much of the Mid-Peninsula region of the San Francisco Bay Area. The districts began working together in 1992 to launch district-wide kit-based hands-on elementary science programs.
The BASEE collaborative offers science training to teachers via three different strands. Strand I introduces teachers to the science kits and is designed for new teachers and those new to the curriculum; Strand II provides ongoing professional development for teachers ready to focus on content background connected with effective teaching strategies. Strand III provides leadership opportunity for those wishing to solidify their science background while sharing their expertise at school sites. There is a separate strand for administrators that supports their supervision of science teaching and helps them create a vision for science in their schools.
The collaborative has created a variety of offerings to meet the various time needs of teachers. There are summer institutes, evening programs during the school year, grade level meetings and district staff development days. Prior to attending these sessions, each teacher has the opportunity to assess his/her own needs in the area of science with connections to math and technology. BASEE programs meet some of those needs, while others are funded with dollars directed to the schools for site decision-making.
Substantial in-kind support from HP and the participating districts augments the NSF grant. Additional monetary support has been pledged over the five-year period from three local foundations: the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Noyce Foundation. The partnership also draws on the rich resource of scientists, engineers and other volunteers from the local community, HP employees and others, such as members of the local chapter of American Women in Science.