The Valle Imperial Project in Science (VIPS) Local Systemic Change project
represents a unified regional effort of 16 participating school districts, the Imperial County Office
of Education, and San Diego State University to improve K-6 science instruction. Located on the
California-Mexico border, the Imperial Valley region experiences geographic isolation, poverty,
and limited access to science education training. However, the uniqueness of this project is not in
the magnitude of need, but in the capacity of the districts to draw on local experience and science
expertise to efficiently transform this NSF supported effort into an independent, self-sustaining
The LSC is based on five essential elements: high quality curriculum, sustained
professional development, dependable material support, strong administrative and community
backing, and a comprehensive assessment and evaluation plan.
Inquiry based units from each of
the major science disciplines comprise the heart of the science program. Teachers receive a
minimum of 100 hours support in the use of these materials, through intensive training on grade
level units, inquiry-based instruction of science content, and individual classroom support.
Institutes, symposiums, leadership training, and a graduate degree program exemplify the
advanced training component of the program. Student assessment will focus on embedded unit
clusters, end of unit performance tasks and the evaluation of student notebooks. A regional
network of science professionals, educators, business leaders, and representatives of higher
education will provide collaborative and comprehensive governance for the entire initiative.