In This Issue...
Source: Council of Chief State School Officers
Having a bachelor's degree from Princeton and a master's
from Harvard meant Jason Kamras, 31, had many career options. His
decision to choose teaching was influenced by a college experience as a
Volunteer in Service to America teacher in a Sacramento (California)
Unified School District community learning center. Through this work,
Kamras became convinced of one thing--limited access to well-funded,
high quality schools for economically disadvantaged students is the
greatest social injustice facing America today. And every day for eight
years he has helped chip away at that inequity in his work as a teacher
at John Philip Sousa Middle School in Washington, DC.
Ninety-five outstanding elementary and middle school teachers were honored last week with the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation's highest honor for teaching in these fields.
Awardees received a $10,000 gift from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the independent federal agency that administers the awards program, and an all expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, for last week's celebratory events and professional development activities.
"These outstanding teachers show us what excellent teaching looks like," said Mark Saul, Ph.D., program director of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education at NSF. "They have a passion for their subject and a dedication to their students. They know how to bring out the best in every student, in every kind of school. We hope their example will stimulate the creativity of other teachers and help attract new recruits to the mathematics and science teaching profession.”
In a citation given to all awardees, President Bush commended them "for embodying excellence in teaching, for devotion to the learning needs of the students, and for upholding the high standards that exemplify American education at its finest.”
"The way we teach math and science is changing," said Saul. "It's not enough for a teacher to lecture from a blackboard and get students to memorize facts. Children learn best when these complex concepts are made real for them, when they can see how math and science are present in their everyday world."
Established by Congress in 1983, the annual presidential awards program identifies outstanding mathematics and science teachers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. Department of Defense Schools. This year's recipients--chosen by a panel of leading mathematicians, scientists, and educators in conjunction with the White House--are K-6th grade teachers.
The week-long celebration in Washington, DC included an awards ceremony, professional learning opportunities, conversations with leaders in education policy, and opportunities to meet dignitaries from the executive and legislative branches.
"The most important reward the teachers will receive is the ability to talk with each other, swap ideas and techniques, and bring everything they learn in DC home to their students," said Saul.
Awardees received numerous gifts from corporate and government donors, including science and mathematics curricula from the JASON Foundation for Education, overhead projectors from 3M, and a professional development opportunity sponsored by EF Educational Tours, the nation's leader in educational tours and intercultural exchange. Later this year, all the Presidential Awardees will travel to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to participate in the Disney Youth Education Series programs, where the teachers will go behind the scenes of the theme parks to examine and explore science, leadership, history, and art.
The 2005 Presidential Award nominations are currently open for mathematics and science teachers in grades 7-12. Public, private, and parochial school teachers can be nominated by anyone except themselves. For more information, visit www.paemst.org. (3) Program Director Positions Available at the National Science Foundation
The Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE) announces a nationwide search for a number of Program Director positions at the National Science Foundation (NSF).
NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for
carrying out the Agency's overall mission: to support innovative and
merit-reviewed activities in basic research and education that
contribute to the nation's technical strength, security, and welfare. To
discharge this responsibility requires not only knowledge in the
appropriate disciplines, but also a commitment to high standards, a
considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, a strong
sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal
The lights of [Princeton University's] Jadwin Stadium, Fine Tower and the Graduate College's Cleveland tower lit up Monday night [April 18] for the 50th anniversary of Albert Einstein's death and the 100th anniversary of Einstein's annus mirabilis, or 'miraculous year,' during which he published three seminal papers that revolutionized the study of physics.
The light relay that traveled west around the globe between Monday and Tuesday night began and ended at Princeton. The idea was for one place to light up and then the next location would join in, until the light stretched around the globe.
The worldwide event--sponsored by the Austrian Physical Society--chose Princeton as the beginning and the end of the relay because Einstein lived in Princeton for twenty years before dying here, electrical engineering professor Claire Gmachl said.
"Einstein is so closely related to Princeton," she said. "This was a celebration for the Princeton students to celebrate Einstein and physics."
Gmachl said the lights illuminated around the globe took the form of "actual light": telephone calls, which are signaled by fiber-optic cables, and emails, whose signals sent under the Atlantic Ocean count as light.
Locally, the Princeton Society of Physics Students organized the event that, in addition to the lit buildings, included a laser show, a reception and a lecture about Einstein...
Adrian Liu '06, co-president of the Princeton Society of Physics Students, said that he was excited to get involved with the relay because of the contributions Einstein made to the study of physics and to science in general.
Gmachl said 120,000 people worldwide participated in the global lighting event...
The relay ended Tuesday night when a team in France emailed a video of their celebration to Princeton, Gmachl said.
(a) Physics Enlightens the World
Source: Society of Physics Students
(b) "Einstein's Legacy, Like the Universe, Keeps on Expanding"
Source: cnn.com - 18 April 2005
NASA, in cooperation with the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions (NASSMC), Arlington, Va., has awarded grants to several state education coalitions. The purpose of the grants is to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Funded by NASA's Education Office NASSMC State Summit Implementation Program (NSSIP), the grants address the critical need to improve STEM education for students in underserved and underrepresented communities.
NSSIP is a two-year program. It provides assistance with planning, developing, administering, and implementing STEM activities for state based organizations. NSSIP programs also include comprehensive public awareness and engagement plans to promote active participation of state business, education and public policy leaders.
"This is another example of NASA's commitment to improve our nation's scientific literacy, address the needs of the 21st century workforce, and motivate students to connect and participate in the future opportunities of the Vision for Space Exploration," said NASA's Chief Education Officer, Dr. Adena Williams Loston. "These state-based coalitions demonstrate a capacity for like-minded organizations to come together and leverage their unique resources to help NASA sustain the Vision," she said.
NSSIP is open to state-based organizations that comprise a coalition of business, education and public policy leaders united by a vision for improving STEM education. The proposing coalition must represent all three constituencies and must be statewide in scope. Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
Grants were awarded to:
* Alabama Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Coalition
* Colorado Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education Coalition
* Connecticut Mathematics, Science & Technology Leadership Council, supported and administered by the CT Academy for Education in Mathematics, Science & Technology, Inc.
* Iowa Mathematics and Science Coalition
* New Mexico Partnership for Mathematics & Science Education
* South Carolina's Coalition for Mathematics and Science
* Tennessee Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education Center
For information about further NASSMC solicitations, visit http://www.nassmc.org
For information about NASA's education programs on the Internet, visit http://education.nasa.gov/
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit http://www.nasa.gov
COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.
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