Center of Excellence in Middle-level Interdisciplinary Strategies for Teaching (CE- MIST)

Dr. Gary J. Senn, Director

The purpose of CE-MIST is to develop and model state-of-the-art in-service and pre-service teacher training programs that concentrate on interdisciplinary curriculum development and implementation at the middle school level.  CE-MIST will develop innovative practices that enable school personnel to improve student achievement; provide effective, sustained, high quality professional development; incorporate field-based teacher education programs that involve technology-based instructional techniques; and implement innovative practices for teaching children with diverse backgrounds and diverse learning styles.  CE-MIST will model these programs as it provides professional development for higher education faculty around the state of South Carolina.

CE-MIST is made possible under a grant from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education under the auspices of the Education Improvement Act (EIA) Teacher Education Centers of Excellence Grant Program.

Goals and Objectives

To address this goal, CE-MIST will develop and model programs that are: collaborative, field-based, use state-of-the-art technology and use proven strategies. The new MLE program at USCA is an important step forward for the university as it continues to take a role in preparing quality teachers for the P-12 educational system. USCA’s commitment to the MLE Program is clear, and the commitment to the CE-MIST project is a natural continuation of this process. Through the CE-MIST project, USCA plans to develop a state-of-the-art program in MLE. The School of Education is committed to making significant programmatic changes to accommodate the middle school model as supported in educational research. This commitment leads to USCA’s goal to model a state-of-the-art MLE program for other institutions in South Carolina.

  • Objective 1: Incorporate reading in the content areas into content methods classes.
  • Objective 2: Offer courses and workshops for in-service teachers.
  • Objective 3: Develop pre-service, field-based experiences in teaching.
  • Objective 4: Empower teachers to work with students scoring below basic.

CE-MIST will provide hands-on, inquiry-based, research-supported programs that incorporate innovative practices in teaching middle-level children with diverse backgrounds and learning styles from targeted low performing schools. Goal 2 is related to Goal 1 but shifts the focus from teacher to student. The middle-level students will have opportunity to engage in these activities at the RPSEC at the USCA, which will introduce them to a higher education institution and allow them to benefit from the state-of-the-art, RPSEC facility. Students will also have opportunity to engage in similar activities at their schools.

  • Objective 1: Engage middle-level students in enrichment programs.
  • Objective 2: Develop Interdisciplinary Units and Traveling Trunks

CE-MIST will develop an influential constituency by following the model exemplified by the RPSEC. The RPSEC has developed an influential constituency through its Advisory Board and Coordinating Committee. The constituency is empowered by the ongoing success of the variety of programs offered through the RPSEC. The RPSEC Advisory Board and the RPSEC Coordinating Committee will provide oversight for CE-MIST. These established and effective groups will be of great benefit to CE-MIST. A new group, the CE-MIST Advisory Council, will be created during this project. This group will be composed of individuals from each of the partner schools, USCA and key individuals with backgrounds in middle-level philosophy. It is clear that plans are in place to develop an influential constituency that will promote the successful implementation of the CE-MIST program.

  • Objective 1: Develop an influential constituency for the CE-MIST.

As CE-MIST develops and models exemplary teacher training programs and develops an influential constituency, there will be a natural progression to achieving a position of leadership in South Carolina. CE-MIST will follow the pattern of achieving a position of leadership in the state modeled by the RPSEC and the Central Savannah River Area Mathematics and Science Regional Center (CSRA MSRC). Both of these organizations will have a close association with CE-MIST and well help ensure that CE-MIST reaches its goal of achieving a position of leadership in the state.

  • Objective 1: Develop and model a strong program.
  • Objective 1: Compile an understanding through a literature review.
  • Objective 2: Develop a research agenda.
  • Objective 3: Application of Research findings.

Visit the other South Carolina Centers of Excellence

The Aiken Writing Project

Partner Schools

Busbee Corbett Elementary Middle School

Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton (JET) Middle School

Leavelle McCampbell Middle School

Traveling Interdisciplinary Literacy Trunks (TILTs)

Available Kits, Implementation Guides, Unit Guides, Lesson Plans, Materials List

Programs for Middle Level Students

Student Programs Lesson Information, Standards Correlations, Pre- and Post- Visit Activities, and Traveling Science Kits

See CE-MIST programs for Grade 6 - 8

CE-MIST Programs for Preservice Teachers

Service Learning Project for EDPY A334

CE-MIST Presentations at Conferences