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Week of March 8, 2010

Table of Contents

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Pennsylvania Govenor Edward G. Rendell to Participate in National Town Hall Meeting on Science Education during NSTA Philadelphia Annual Conference

NSTA is pleased to announce that Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell will be part of the first ever Science Matters National Town Hall Meeting on Science Education on Friday, March 19, at the Millennium Hall in the Loews Hotel. At the National Town Hall—which is being cosponsored by NSTA and Intel—science educators, school administrators, and other invited guests will engage with Governor Rendell and other panel members about the state of science education and key initiatives that are helping teachers to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century.

In addition to Gov. Rendell, the panel will include Carlos Contreras, US Education Director, Intel Corporation; Christine Royce, Associate Professor of Education at Shippensburg University and Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association; and an invited guest from the Department of Education.

Portions of the film Imagine IT: The Power of Imagination, a powerful documentary about connecting imagination and creativity with science and engineering in education, will be used throughout the event. Following the town hall meeting on Friday afternoon Intel and Science Matters will host a screening of the film Imagine IT for conference attendees. Discussion during the film and after will center on the importance of the ideas presented in the film and how teachers can use Imagine It in the classroom.

To register for the conference and attend the town hall, visit www.nsta.org/philadelphia.

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US Teachers More Interested in Reform Than Money

That’s according to a recent survey of 40,090 K–12 teachers that was “likely the largest national survey of teachers ever completed and includes the opinions of teachers in every grade, in every state and across the demographic spectrum.”

Other findings:

  • Most teachers surveyed said they feel students in their states are doing okay in school, but they believe fewer than 75 percent will graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and work.
  • Teachers don't want to see their students judged on the results of one test, and they also want their own performances graded on multiple measures.
  • Most value nonmonetary rewards, such as time to collaborate with other teachers and a supportive school leadership, over higher salaries. Only 28 percent felt performance pay would have a strong impact, and 30 percent felt performance pay would have no impact at all.

Read the entire AP story here.

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Dept. of Ed Announces Race to the Top Finalists

Last week the Department of Education announced that 15 states and the District of Columbia will advance as finalists for phase 1 of the Race to the Top competition. Race to the Top is the Department's $4.35 billion effort to dramatically re-shape America's educational system to better engage and prepare our students for success in a competitive 21st century economy and workplace.

States competing for Race to the Top funds were asked to document past education reform successes, as well as outline plans to: extend reforms using college and career-ready standards and assessments; build a workforce of highly effective educators; create educational data systems to support student achievement; and turn around their lowest-performing schools.

The phase 1 finalists are Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Global Marathon For, By, and About Women in Engineering

For 24 hours beginning on March 10, women in engineering and technology around the world will initiate and take part in conversations on issues related to current and future generations working in their fields. The marathon combines live internet chats, webcasts, teleconferences, and prerecorded sessions, and anyone in the world can participate. The National Engineers Week Foundation created and coordinates this event as an outgrowth of their Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, held last month. The marathon also coincides with Women’s History Month (March) and International Women’s Day (March 8, 2010). Don’t have time? Some marathon events will be archived for viewing after March 11.

Visit NSTA’s online calendar for more engaging science education events.

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Invest in Your Career

NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education is just around the corner. For science educators who want and need professional development, this premier event offers thousands of workshops, symposia, seminars, institutes and hands-on sessions to choose from. Science content, pedagogy, classroom techniques, performance-based strategies and leadership are just a few topics covered March 18–21 in Philadelphia. Presenters like Bill Nye, author John Mooey, and NASA administrator and former astronaut Charlie Bolden will be there to inspire.

For teachers in every grade band and discipline, from the preservice novice to the well-experienced, the sessions will provide unmatched PD. Check out just a few of our session titles:

  • Nourishing the Planet in the 21st Century (Elem–High School)
  • Cultivating Literacy: Linking Children's Literature and Plant Science (Elem)
  • Redesigning the Laboratory Investigation: Integrating Inquiry into Chemistry (High)
  • Miniaturized Assays: Paper Diagnostics for Grades 7–12: Use of lesson plans that use paper-based diagnostics to engage students in scientific inquiry, engineering design, or discussions of the impact of science and engineering on society.
  • An Inquiry Approach to Teaching About the Force of Gravity (Middle–High)
  • Playing with Ecosystem Science: Informal Modeling Games to Explore the Delicate Balance (Middle–Informal)
  • Biotechnology and Environmental Risk: Project Learning Tree's New Secondary Program (Informal)
  • Seven Inquiry-based Labs That Integrate the Physical Sciences and Algebra (High)
  • Climate Change Here and Now: Coastal, Ocean, and Atmospheric Impacts—ticketed (Grades 5–12)
  • Keeping Elementary Primary: Current Research and Best Practices for Quality Instruction—full-day program (ticketed)

For more information or to register, visit www.nsta.org/philadelphia. On-site registration is always available.

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NSTA Professional Development in Costa Rica 2010

Global Inquiry • Investigation • Education • Research • Conservation

Session One: July 18–27, 2010
Session Two: July 28–Aug 6, 2010

The National Science Teachers Association and Holbrook Global Field Expeditions welcome you to explore the 2010 International Field Studies for Faculty Development in Costa Rica.

Unlike traditional professional development clinics, this series is designed to immerse formal and informal science educators, practicing and retired educational professionals, within the culture, environments, education, and research of the country of Costa Rica. This field clinic offers participants, from primary to postsecondary teaching, a comprehensive and experiential platform to widen perspectives and strengthen global science exchange through real-world international interaction.  If you have yearned to explore the biodiversity of the tropical rainforest, seek linkages within classrooms around the world, participate in active research, or rejoice and celebrate in the art of teaching, your experiences will undoubtedly be personally and collectively transformative as you explore Costa Rica.

Join either one or both sessions combined for one of the best professional development experiences of your teaching career as described so passionately by 2009 participant Kathryn Elkins:

My eyes have become bigger after this field study, I am ready to do so much more not only in the classroom but in my own personal life. I have become more aware of true scientific research taking place within the rainforest and the importance of protecting the plant and wildlife species that rely on the rainforests. I often hear and read about the destruction of forests and the endangered species, but touching and observing those trees and animals that soon may be gone made an impression on me. It makes me want to do more for the planet and teach my students what they can do and how to be more environmentally conscious. My soul has been touched by this experience. Attending the NSTA Costa Rica trip has made a very large impact on me. Thanks for your efforts in organizing a true learning experience.

Explore your opportunities for participation by visiting www.holbrooktravel.com/nsta2010.

*Participants may elect for optional graduate credits (3 credit hours) on behalf of CEU requirements. Please be sure to ask us about the NSTA Scholarship for International Exchange offered to one lucky NSTA member for participation in the 2010 Costa Rica International Summer Study.

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Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off the price of the March featured book, Science Fairs Plus: Reinventing an Old Favorite.

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Professional development courses in your future?
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Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!


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