RE-SEED | Volunteers | Teachers | Resources

RE-SEED: Retirees Enhancing Science Education through Experiments and Demonstrations
From 1991 to 2016 the RE-SEED program at Northeastern University trained over 750 retired scientists and engineers in fourteen states to assist K-12 science teachers in the classroom. Started and overseen by Christos Zahopoulos, at the program’s conclusion, there were over sixty volunteers assisting science teachers in the greater Boston area. After taking part in a comprehensive training program, participants were asked to assist in science classrooms one day a week for one school year (there was no obligation to continue and volunteers selected their assignment). Most volunteers served over three years (the retention rate was seventy percent), and were very satisfied with the experience.

The RE-SEED program at Northeastern University sought to improve student outcomes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by placing trained retired volunteer scientists, engineers and other STEM professionals in K-12 science classrooms. From 1991 to 2016 the program trained over 750 retired scientists and engineers to assist science teachers in the classroom, delivering over 800,000 hours of classroom assistance at a cost of less than $5 per hour. Surveys established the high acceptance of the program and belief in its effectiveness among volunteers, teachers and students. After completing a comprehensive free training program, participants volunteered to serve in a classroom once a week for one school year. RE-SEED volunteers worked closely with the host science teachers to help them enrich and implement their school curriculum.

• Priority was given to underserved and underperforming schools.
• The focus was on middle school years (6-8), which are critical for student preparation in pursuing STEM-related fields.
• All schools, public and private, religious and secular, were served without discrimination.
• Volunteers were trained in research based STEM pedagogy before they served in the classroom.
• Strong collaboration with teachers was promoted to maximize student STEM learning

Seventh grade students at Hopedale Jr. High doing mass measurements with RE-SEED volunteer, Rod Girard.

• Activity/inquiry-based program that stressed critical thinking
• Focused on the physical sciences
• Integrated Mathematics and Science
• Combined content with up-to-date pedagogy
• Aligned with the MA and National Science Standards

• Increased students’ interest in science
• Expanded teachers’ understanding of the physical sciences
• Made science relevant to students by bringing real-life science into the classroom
• Increased students’ and teachers’ understanding of scientific principles and concepts
• Assisted students with science projects and science fairs
• Brought real world science equipment to schools
• Mentored students and acted as role models

“I would like to thank you personally for all of your kindness, generosity and other support that you have given me and the grade 7 & 8 students at the [school]. My students have been profoundly touched by your presence. I am so pleased that I have been a participant in the RESEED program since it`s inception. I sincerely hope that we can continue our work together.” – Middle School Teacher, June 2013
“Before the 6th grade went down to see you, I had some doubt. I really dislike science. After you were done, I was in shock and began to enjoy science by the minute. For the whole week, I told everyone, everything I knew about magnetism. Thanks to you I am now enjoying science and getting better grades. Please come again soon! My whole class loves you.” – 6th Grade Student
“I told my wife, this (RE-SEED) was the second best thing I’ve done in my life.” – RE-SEED Volunteer

In addition to the generous commitment of time and expertise our dedicated volunteers gave to the students in the RE-SEED program, our sponsors provided funding and in-kind contributions that were essential to the program’s existence. We want to thank each and every volunteer and sponsor for helping us build a program that reached out to so many K-12 teachers and students.

RE-SEED sponsors included:
• Northeastern University
• The National Science Foundation
• EMC Corporation
• The Massachusetts Department of Education
• The Noyce Foundation
• The IEEE Life Members Committee
• Edward & Dorothy Colbert
• Ray & Maria Stata
• John & Marilyn Keane
• Hewlett-Packard Company
• The United Engineering Foundation
• The Egan Family Foundation
• The Fidelity Foundation
• New England Business Services
• Textron Systems Division
• Mountain View (Va.) Alternative Schools
• Charlottesville (Va.) Albermarle School Business Alliance
• Attleboro Public Schools
• Boston Public Schools
• Fall River Public Schools
• Hanover Public Schools
• Lowell Public Schools
• Quincy Public Schools
• The Cranberry Alliance
• The Berkshire Museum
• Berkshire Community College

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