Ed News: Paid Professional Development Key to Teaching STEM Effectively

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This week in education news, more state governments should take necessary steps to ensure they can provide public support for paid professional development for teachers of STEM subjects; new study finds programs with strong organization structures are the key to effective early-childhood education; L.A. public school teachers reach a deal to end weeklong strike; elementary schools are introducing their students to engineering principles, hoping to inspire a life-long interest in STEM fields; DonorsChoose analysis shows that demand for STEM education continues to rise; 2019 National Teacher of the Year finalists announced; and programs that focus on content creation and extended classroom accessibility will help K–12 teachers get the most out of their AR and VR investments.

Paid Professional Development Key to Teaching STEM Effectively

The foundation upon which science teachers base their curricula is shifting in many states, but in too many districts across the country, this shifting ground has not been accompanied by practical — and paid — opportunities for teachers to catch themselves up to where science instruction is headed. Read the article posted in The Hill.

New Gene-Editing Kit Puts the Power of Frog Growth into Citizen Scientists’ Hands

Since founding his company, The Odin, in 2006, Josiah Zayner and his team have been striving to give the public the education and tools to safely edit organisms’ genes. So far, they have sold thousands of gene-editing kits and brought in around $500,000 in revenue just last year. With these inexpensive devices, individuals can practice feats of science once contained to a lab, such as making glow-in-the-dark yeast and precise gene mutations in bacteria. Read the article featured in the Mercury News.

New Study Finds Strong School Climate Key to Effective Early Learning

A new study says programs with strong organizational structures hold the key to effective early-childhood education, and lists exceptional administrators and collaborative teachers as the two most important components of those structures. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Los Angeles Teachers’ Strike to End as Deal Is Reached

Los Angeles public school teachers reached a deal with officials on Tuesday to end a weeklong strike that had affected more than half a million students, winning an array of supplementary services after an era in education marked by attacks on traditional public schools and their teachers. Read the article featured in The New York Times.

How Arizona Is Building Its Own Talent Pipeline to Solve the Stubborn Teacher Shortages Hitting State’s Low-Income Schools

The Vail school district in southern Arizona has grown from a few hundred to more than 12,000 students over the past two decades. The district’s expansion has been managed by a respected and resourceful district leader who credits much of the success of its schools, which rank among Arizona’s best, to its selection of teachers. Teachers who have earned credentials through traditional programs “remain our meat and potatoes,” said Calvin Baker, the superintendent who has run Vail schools for 30 years. But the district also serves as its own school of education, training non-certified staff — as well parents and community volunteers — to become educators. Read the article featured in The 74.

How to Build An Engineer: Start Young

A few years ago, a young female engineer named Isis Anchalee was featured on one of her company’s recruiting posters only to be subjected to a barrage of digital feedback questioning whether she was really an engineer. People posting on Facebook and Twitter said Anchalee was too attractive to be an actual software engineer and must be a model. Anchalee responded like the techie she is. She wrote a blog post about her experience and added a photo of herself with the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

Crowdfunding Data Shows Rise in STEM, Rural Requests

An analysis of 274,000 projects funded through DonorsChoose shows that demand for STEM education continued to rise in classrooms in 2018, and that rural educators are becoming more comfortable with the crowdfunding website. Read the article featured in EdScoop.

How to Get Teachers to Believe in a New School Program? Ask Them to Help Design It.

A veteran teacher in any school district will likely be able to tell the same story: A faddish new initiative comes sweeping in, perhaps promoted by the just-hired superintendent. Grand promises are made, and teachers get a few days of training (if they’re lucky). Then, it slowly fades away, as teachers ignore mandates they see as unhelpful or impractical. A new study looks closely at that phenomenon and its flip side — when teachers are bought in to programs designed to help their schools. Read the article featured in Chalkbeat.

These Are the Four Top Teachers in America

An environmental leader, a champion of student activism, a culturally responsive educator, and an advocate for students’ civic empowerment—these are the four educators who were announced today as finalists for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year Award. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Here Is What the Right Tools for Mixed Reality in the Classroom Look Like

In K–12, educators have found ways to use augmented and virtual reality to enhance and support deeper learning in the classroom. However, evaluating the best immersive technology resources requires an understanding of current technology limitations and offerings. Read the article featured in Ed Tech.

Problem-Solving in Elementary School

In a school district in New Jersey, beginning in kindergarten each child is seen as a future problem solver with creative ideas that can help the world. Vince Caputo, superintendent of the Metuchen School District, explained that what drew him to the position was “a shared value for whole child education.” Caputo’s first hire as superintendent was Rick Cohen, who works as both the district’s K–12 director of curriculum and principal of Moss Elementary School. Cohen is committed to integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) into academic curriculum and instruction by linking cognitive processes and guided self-talk. Cohen’s first focus was kindergarten students. “I recommended Moss teachers teach just one problem-solving process to our 6-year-olds across all academic content areas and challenge students to use the same process for social problem-solving,” he explained. Read the article featured in edutopia.

Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.

The Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs (CLPA) team strives to keep NSTA members, teachers, science education leaders, and the general public informed about NSTA programs, products, and services and key science education issues and legislation. In the association’s role as the national voice for science education, its CLPA team actively promotes NSTA’s positions on science education issues and communicates key NSTA messages to essential audiences.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.


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