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N.S.T.A.'s Aldridge To Begin 2-Year Leave To Guide Reform Effort

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The executive director of the National Science Teachers Association will begin a two-year leave of absence this month to manage the association's high school science-reform project.

Bill G. Aldridge, the N.S.T.A.'s executive director for 14 years, will assume the new post of "executive director on special assignment" on Sept. 30.

He previously had notified the association's board that he intends to retire as executive director at the end of December 1996.

The N.S.T.A. has launched a search for a new executive director. Marily DeWall, the associate executive director, will become the acting executive director.

Under an agreement approved by the N.S.T.A.'s executive board, however, Mr. Aldridge's successor may take office no earlier than Aug. 31, 1995. Mr. Aldridge will then become the director of special projects.

Personal Supervision

Under the agreement, Mr. Aldridge will devote most of his time to developing the high school version of the association's Scope, Sequence, and Coordination of Secondary School Science project from his new home in Nevada.

Mr. Aldridge is widely credited as the architect of the Scope and Sequence effort, which would dismantle the existing "layer cake" sequence of science courses to insure that every student studies each of the physical sciences every year.

But he has said his other duties have kept him from directly overseeing a first attempt to implement the project at a number of middle schools across the country.

As a result, the project suffered a drastic setback last year when the National Science Foundation declined to provide money for a roughly $38 million expansion of the project into high schools. (See Education Week, June 2, 1993.)

Mr. Aldridge supervised development of a pared-down grant application that is expected to show the effectiveness of Scope and Sequence by comparing the performance of students in the program with that of students in traditional courses.

The N.S.F. approved the $3.95 million project in March.

The initiative, Mr. Aldridge noted, is expected to produce students whose knowledge of science conforms to the vision of science literacy sketched out in the standards for science content, teaching, and assessment being developed by the National Academy of Sciences.

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