I was thrilled by the turnout at the first USM Framework session in Portland! On July 19, 2012, over 40 educators joined me and engaged in significant conversations about the Framework. This session, the first of two summer mini-courses sponsored by USM, focused on the Science and Engineering Practices. During the three hours there was opportunity built-in to ask general questions about the Framework and the Next Generation Science Standards. Many participants wanted to know about supports that the MDOE and others will provide for the transition to this new vision for science education.
In Maine we are building a corps of educators who understand the Framework deeply. These individuals will be the single most important resource for implementing Next Generation Science Standards. Last winter MSTA collaborated with the Department of Education on the Framework Dine and Discuss series to kick off this effort. That effort engaged over 300 educators. This summer USM is supporting the effort with an in-depth two-part Framework series and will offer a two-session follow-up this fall. I will post the July workshop materials from the USM event so that others can host similar workshops regionally.
In October the momentum will continue when Stephen Pruitt, the national lead on the Next Generation Science Standards, will speak at the Maine Science Teachers Conference.
And it is important also to keep an eye on national happenings. This month, Secretary Duncan announced the creation of new, nationwide Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Master Teacher Corps, comprised of some of the nation’s finest educators in STEM subjects. The Corps will kick-off with 50 exceptional STEM teachers in 50 sites and be expanded over four years to reach 10,000 teachers. These selected teachers will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership, and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The Administration intends to launch the Corps with $1 billion from the President’s 2013 budget request currently before Congress. Also, the Administration is immediately dedicating roughly $100 million from the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) toward helping school districts implement high-quality plans to establish career ladders that identify, develop, and leverage effective STEM teachers.
This is just the beginning. If you haven’t already done so, take time this summer to download the Framework for K-12 Science Education, build on your understanding, and add to the energy that will fuel Maine’s implementation of this new vision for science education.