STEM Education News
September 22, 2011
Volume 17, Number 32
This Week’s Topics:
- 2011-2012 EINSTEIN FELLOWS ARRIVE IN WASHINGTON, DC
- WHITE HOUSE LAUNCHES “DIGITAL PROMISE” INITIATIVE
- “EDUCATION NATION” TO SPOTLIGHT EFFECTIVE TEACHING IN ACTION
- VERNIER AWARDS 30 INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS $10,000 TECHNOLOGY GRANTS TO MARK COMPANY’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY
- RAYTHEON PLEDGES MORE THAN $1 MILLION IN STEM SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
- HIGH SCHOOL LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF 2009 RELEASED
The 2011-2012 Einstein Fellows have arrived in Washington, DC and officially begun their fellowship year. The cohort of 30 Fellows will be serving in Congressional offices on Capitol Hill and at the Federal Agencies NASA, NOAA, NSF and the Department of Energy. Nine of the Fellows are returning for a second fellowship year to continue projects that they have been working on over the past year. The 2011-2012 Fellows have taught math, science, technology, computer science, engineering and much more, in both public and private elementary and secondary schools in 19 different states. To meet this year’s Einstein Fellows and read their biographies, visit www.trianglecoalition.org/einstein-fellows/current-fellows.
Albert Einstein Fellows bring to Congress and appropriate branches of the federal government the extensive knowledge and experience of classroom teachers. They provide practical insights and “real world” perspectives to policy makers and program managers developing or managing educational programs. The Triangle Coalition has been authorized to assist in the administration of the Einstein Fellowship program on behalf of the Department of Energy. To learn more about the program, visit www.einsteinfellows.org.
– WHITE HOUSE LAUNCHES “DIGITAL PROMISE” INITIATIVE
The White House and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have announced the launch of “Digital Promise,” a new national center created by Congress with bipartisan support to advance technologies to transform teaching and learning. Digital Promise will receive startup funds from the Department of Education as well as the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It will be overseen by a board made up of prominent leaders in education and technology appointed by Secretary Duncan based on recommendations from the House of Representatives and United States Senate. Digital Promise will work with leading researchers, entrepreneurs, and schools to identify and spur breakthrough learning technologies, determine quickly what’s working and what’s not, and transform today’s fragmented learning technology market, paving the way for the widespread use of learning technologies that deliver the best results for students, parents, and teachers. These efforts build upon the President’s call to create jobs by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world, including the Administration’s efforts to bring all of America’s schools into the 21st century. To realize the potential of learning technology, Digital Promise will work with educators and leading researchers, technology firms, and entrepreneurs on three key challenges:
- Identifying Breakthrough Technologies.
- Learning faster what’s working and what’s not.
- Transforming the market for learning technologies.
Secretary Duncan has announced the inaugural board members of Digital Promise and the Administration also recently made several additional announcements, including $15M in new awards from the National Science Foundation to support research that is developing next-generation learning environments. In addition, a number of private-sector partners announced an array of related efforts, including an initiative by schools and school districts to improve educational outcomes through the wider use of effective teaching and learning technologies; the launch of a new national alliance of top education-policy researchers focused on improving outcomes among the Nation’s disadvantaged children; and a number of new challenges and prizes for the development of video games and other forms of digital entertainment that spur learning and interest in science, math, and engineering. For further details about Digital Promise and related initiatives, visit www.digitalpromise.org.
– “EDUCATION NATION” TO SPOTLIGHT EFFECTIVE TEACHING IN ACTION
On Monday, Sept. 26, “Education Nation” will take a live look into classrooms around the country to see firsthand what effective teaching truly looks like. U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and President of the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel, will participate in a discussion about how and why these classrooms were selected and the overall power of great teaching. NBC News’ Ann Curry will moderate the session entitled, “Classrooms In Action: A Window On Great Teaching.” “The best way to share effective teaching practices is to go live into classrooms,” said Michael Chen, President of the Strategic Initiatives Group & Education Nation at NBC News. “Teachers are the most trusted people in education doing the most important work imaginable – working with our children. We want to shine a spotlight on both the importance of great teaching and some examples of success that can be shared with others across the country.”
Additional confirmed sessions at the “Education Nation” Summit include “What’s In A ZIP Code? A Look At Inequality Across Our Public Schools” and “Global Influence: What Can We Learn?” The 2011 Summit kicks off on Sunday, September 25 with “Meet the Press” at Rockefeller Plaza, followed by a two-hour Teacher Town Hall televised on MSNBC beginning at 12:00 P.M./ET. For the entire week of September 25, “Nightly News,” “Today,” MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, The Weather Channel, msnbc.com, theGrio.com, EducationNation.com, iVillage, and NBC’s affiliate stations will highlight educational success stories, uncover sometimes staggering truths and myths about education, and help demonstrate how poor education cripples our economy and society. More details are at www.educationnation.com.
– VERNIER AWARDS 30 INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS $10,000 TECHNOLOGY GRANTS TO MARK COMPANY’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY
After three decades of serving STEM education, Triangle Coalition member, Vernier Software & Technology, has chosen 30 innovative schools to receive its 30th anniversary technology grants. As recipients of the grants, each of the 30 selected schools will receive $10,000 worth of Vernier technology equipment of their choosing. As part of the application process, grantees from ten K-8 schools, ten high schools and ten college or university science departments shared inspiring stories about how they will use the technology and outlined concrete plans for implementation, while demonstrating financial need. “With nearly 2,000 applications in total, we were overwhelmed by the innovation and dedication demonstrated by educators nationwide for the betterment of STEM education,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher.
In the K-8 category, the ten grantees truly showed how Vernier’s technology would enrich the educational experience for their young students. From physics to biology and chemistry to AP science courses, the ten selected high school grantees will use Vernier technology in a variety of STEM programs across multiple disciplines. The ten grantees at the college level also represent diverse disciplines encompassed under the STEM spectrum, from mathematics to engineering to astronomy, at higher education institutions in nine different states. For example, Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana will enhance quantitative literacy through student-developed interactive projects, the Science and Mathematics Education Center at the University of North Carolina Wilmington will provide equipment for teacher professional development, and the Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach will use Vernier tools as an integral part of the center’s summer camps for youth. Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 30 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science. To learn more about all of Vernier’s 30th anniversary technology grant winners, visit www.vernier.com/30years.
– RAYTHEON PLEDGES MORE THAN $1 MILLION IN STEM SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
Raytheon Company is supporting and encouraging academic achievement across America by committing more than $1 million in education scholarships and grants for the 2011-2012 school year. The investment rewards students and teachers who excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education as part of the company’s MathMovesU program, and provides scholarships to children of Raytheon employees planning to attend college. Raytheon’s commitment to tomorrow’s STEM leaders and innovators is magnified by employee volunteerism in communities throughout the country. Raytheon volunteers donate their time and talent to create a positive difference in the lives of others, particularly through math and science education enrichment. Employees logged more than 75,000 volunteer hours in 2010, and their engagement in 2011 has increased to more than 120,000 hours already accounted for year to date.
Annually, 150 U.S. students are chosen to receive $1,000 MathMovesU Middle School Scholarships with the option to attend math and science camps, technology programs or to save money for college. This year’s recipients were chosen from a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants who created multimedia presentations describing how math “puts action in their passion.” Each recipient’s middle school was awarded a matching grant from Raytheon. Raytheon also honors 32 teachers from across the country through the MathMovesU Math Hero Awards program. The award recognizes outstanding contributions toward engaging students in math through interactive and creative learning initiatives. Each Math Hero will receive a $2,500 award and a matching grant for his or her school. Additional scholarships will be announced throughout the 2011-2012 school year. These include (but are not limited to) awards to participants in the Raytheon-sponsored FIRST Robotics competition who are pursuing collegiate STEM degrees, and separate awards to children of Raytheon employees in support of their collegiate studies. For more information, visit www.mathmovesu.com.
– HIGH SCHOOL LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF 2009 RELEASED
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released the First Look Report on base-year contextual data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009. The First Look is intended as a companion to the report, High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09): A First Look at Fall 2009 Ninth-Graders (NCES 2011327), which focuses on the mathematics assessment and student beliefs, expectations, and exposure to different mathematics and science courses. This companion report introduces the contextual data provided by ninth-graders’ parents, mathematics and science teachers, school counselors, and school administrators. Data from HSLS:09 inform policymakers and researchers about if, when, and how students decide on secondary courses, choose among postsecondary options, and consider which career(s) to pursue. The study focuses on this complex decision-making process in general, but also places particular emphasis on this process within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Ninth-graders reported on their own experiences, expectations, plans, and attitudes, but other informants were critical to understanding external influences on students’ choices. Among the findings:
- In the United States in 2009-10, approximately 8 percent lived in households where the highest level of the parent or guardian’s education was less than high school and 15 percent lived in households where the highest level of education was higher than a bachelor’s degree
- About 22 percent of ninth-graders’ parents expected their daughters to complete a master’s degree, and an additional 25 percent expected their daughters to complete a Ph.D., law, or other professional degree. Approximately 17 percent of ninth-graders’ parents expected their sons to complete a master’s degree, and an additional 17 percent expected their sons to earn a Ph.D., law, or other professional degree.
- Of the ninth-graders in the highest socioeconomic status, 22 percent had a relatively new mathematics teacher with 1 to 3 years of experience teaching mathematics and 40 percent had a veteran teacher with more than 10 years’ teaching experience. Of the ninth-graders in the lowest socioeconomic status category, 33 percent had a relatively new mathematics teacher with 1 to 3 years of experience teaching mathematics and 29 percent had a veteran teacher with more than 10 years’ teaching experience.
- Of ninth-graders in the lowest socioeconomic status category, 41 percent had school counselors who reported that the goal the school counseling program emphasized the most was to help ninth-graders plan and prepare for postsecondary schooling. Of ninth-graders in the highest SES category, 58 percent had counselors who reported their schools’ counseling program’s most important goal was to help ninth-graders plan and prepare for postsecondary schooling.
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