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Literacy Outreach Initiative Brings 5th Graders to Campus

Posted on 4 October 2012 | 8:45 am

On October 15 2012, the College of Charleston will bring science to life for fifth-graders from seven Charleston County School District (CCSD) elementary schools.

As part of the College’s Literacy Outreach Initiative (LOI), the students were given copies of The Frog Scientist, a book about renowned biologist Tyrone Hayes, a native of South Carolina. During the months of September and October Honors College students have been helping to deliver a curriculum based on The Frog Scientist alongside 5th grade classroom teachers. The curriculum was created by Courtney Howard, Director of the Center for Partnerships to Improve Education, Jordan Starr, Director of the Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math, and Erica Carasik, a CCSD teacher.

Their lessons will culminate with a visit to the College of Charleston School of Sciences and Mathematics Building (corner of Coming and Calhoun Streets), from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on October 15. There they will watch a video of Hayes that was produced especially for them, perform their own experiments, and tour some of the labs and the Natural History Museum. The students are from the following schools: Chicora School of Communications, James Simons Elementary, Mary Ford Elementary, Memminger School of Global Studies, Mitchell Math and Science Elementary School, Pepperhill Elementary and Sanders Clyde Creative Arts Elementary School.

Students from the Honors College, along with members of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and the Biology Club, will act as leaders and help the elementary students throughout their day on campus.

“Our hope is to really bring science to life for these students and to highlight the importance of science in the curriculum,” says Chemistry Professor Wendy Cory. “Our NSF grant funds research experiences for undergraduate students at the College, research that focuses on the environmental fate of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment. Dr. Hayes is a champion for public understanding of the broader impact of water quality both on the environment and public health. With this LOI partnership, we’re building bridges to connect future scientists – the elementary school students – with our undergraduate students and the College of Charleston. Studying Dr. Hayes’s work with frogs is a great way for us to get kids excited about science.”

With funding from a National Science Foundation grant received by principal investigator Wendy Cory, Tyrone Hayes will visit the College in November. Cory has worked closely with the LOI program on this project.

Under the direction of the Honors College, the Literacy Outreach Initiative was conceived in 2010 in a partnership with the Charleston County School District designed to improve literacy in the Charleston community. As part of LOI, Honors College students are also working with fourth graders at these partner schools to read The Brave Escape of Ellen and William Craft. Honors College students partner with fourth grade classroom teachers to deliver the curriculum developed by professors Margaret Hagood and Emily Skinner of the School of Education, Health and Human Performance. Lessons include: reading comprehension, reader’s theatre, found poetry, and graphic illustrations. The fourth graders will visit the College of Charleston December 13 and 14. While, while on campus they will tour the Avery Research Center, Residence Halls, and the Addlestone Library.

For more information, contact Andrea DeSantis at

About Tyrone Hayes

Tyrone Hayes, a S.C. native, is a Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is perhaps best known for is work on the effects of the pesticide atrazine on frogs, which has been found to cause demasculinization in Northern Leopard Frogs and other frog populations. Hayes has been interested in biology since his early childhood, inspired by the wildlife in Columbia, S.C. and the Congaree Swamp. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University and was the youngest professor to receive tenure in the history of the biology department at UC Berkeley. His primary research focus is on the role of environmental factors on the growth and development of amphibians.

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