STEM School takes giant step forward

Thanks to a $100,000 donation from the Morgridge Family Foundation, Highlands Ranch’s STEM School and Academy has a brand new engineering lab.

Complete with brand-new drill presses, a CNC router, a 3-D printer, band saw and a laser cutter and engraver, the high-tech equipment was purchased for the second-year school in part by the foundation, along with a matching donation from the school.

“All this equipment was much needed,” said engineering teacher Mike Shallenberger. “Before the Morgridge family’s gift, kids were basically using all the old equipment that I had collected throughout my career; equipment that had piled up in my garage that was older than the kids. This gets us into the 21st century.”

Putting the equipment to immediate use, the STEM Academy picked up four first-place awards and one second out of seven categories at the state’s Best of Robotics competition this October.

“With the laser cutter the students could design a gear that was within a thousandth of an inch in tolerance and it worked flawlessly,” Shallenberger said. “So while other people’s robots were struggling getting stuck in the course, ours went up and down and did everything they were supposed to do every time. We could not have done it without this equipment.”

On the day in which the lab was dedicated by Carrie Morgridge and her husband, John, the excitement for the students was simply contagious.

“This equipment removes almost all possibility for error, which really makes prototyping a bigger focus and puts less focus on building when we need to prototype,” said ninth-grader George Pandya, who is on the academy’s robotics team and said that the after-school academy is a huge perk of the second-year school.

“We have mentors from just about every STEM field. It’s really awesome,” he said, adding that having the opportunity to work with engineers from United Launch Alliance and Lockheed Martin, among others, helps prepare students for the future.

“I wish when I was in high school I had something like this,” said Bill Clark, a retired Ph.D. and volunteer who worked at Hughes Aircraft Research Lab in California and taught engineering at Berkeley. “The technology is so advanced now that everything they get to do and get their hands on is extremely important.”

The Morgridge family was treated to a dedication reception at the school Oct. 30, where numerous students took turns at the podium, thanking them and telling them what STEM means to them. Afterward, Carrie Morgridge spoke to the students.

“When I was little, education looked a lot differently,” she said. “Email didn’t exist, imagine that. Twitter was something a bird did, the cloud was something in the sky and 4G was a parking space.

“What you guys are doing here is so amazing. … I want to thank everyone here for their commitment to America and your commitment to going beyond the status quo.”

For more information about the school and academy, visit



NOAA gives Boulder Valley eighth-graders up-close view of scientist jobs

About 25 Southern Hills Middle School eighth-graders saw an image of the East Coast's lights as seen from space on a normal night, then one when "superstorm" Sandy made landfall that showed a darker view, illustrating seven million power outages in 13 states.

Eric Hackathorn and Julien Lynge, the two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists leading the "Eyes on the Earth" presentation, told students that the technology is used by FEMA to pinpoint where to send relief workers.

"This is information used a lot," Hackathorn said. "We can get down to city blocks and even streets."

NOAA on Tuesday hosted the second day of its 11th annual eighth-grade science program, bringing students from 11 Boulder Valley middle schools to participate in interactive science sessions. Each school chooses about 25 students to attend.

Students visited a lab, learned how the National Weather Service develops forecasts, saw global data displayed on a 3-D globe, heard from a researcher who piloted a plane from pole to pole to collect data and watched a weather balloon release.

"The scientists really love it," said event organizer Carol Knight, who works at NOAA. "The kids are really interested."

During the "Eyes on the Earth" presentation, students saw an image of all the space junk orbiting the Earth -- pieces down to the size of a quarter -- that's tracked by local scientists. The speed items travel in space, thousands of miles an hour, can make even small bits dangerous to the International Space Station and to satellites, the scientists said.

Along with space, NOAA also monitors the oceans and is mapping the ocean floor using a research ship and a remotely operated vehicle that can go down 6,000 meters.

"We don't know very much about the deep oceans," NOAA's Lynge said. "We've done a better job mapping the moon than the bottom of the ocean."

Bridget Walsh, a science teacher at Southern Hills, said she likes that students can see scientists at work firsthand.

"They really, truly get an idea of what it's like to be a scientist," she said.

Vi Burlew, a Louisville Middle School eighth-grader, said her favorite presentation showed how the formation of the Japanese tsunami was influenced by both the earthquake and the shape of the land.

Southern Hills eighth-grader Donovan Allen said he was surprised by all the research planes, boats and satellites used by NOAA and most liked watching weather patterns play out on the 3-D globe.

"Our atmosphere and everything it does for us and how it's changing is really interesting," he said.

Classmate Charlie Brockway said he liked learning about the forces that created Sandy and what made it different from most hurricanes.

"I really love science," he said. "I like knowing how the world works."



Female engineers making strides at Colorado colleges

Carrying a double major of chemical and biological engineering is daunting enough, without any additional hassles from pursuing a path that has largely been the province of men.

But Nicole Puissant, a third-year engineering student at Colorado State University, has never felt intimidated, unwelcome or out of place in engineering school. And she said her fellow female engineering students don't either.

"The girls have been hanging much tougher than the men have," she said.

That's likely to bring smiles to the faces of higher-education officials across the Front Range, who have worked hard to attract more women to the engineering field because their efforts are paying off.

"There are so many challenges out there globally and for a long time there's been a great pool of talent that (engineering) has been missing out on," said Debra Lasich, executive director for the Women in Science Engineering and Mathematics Program at the Colorado School of Mines. "We can't afford to do that."

In 1978, less than 2 percent of professional engineers were women. Today the figure is about 10 percent, and because of efforts from schools like School of Mines and CSU, the number of women in the pipeline is growing.

Five years ago at Colorado State there were 213 undergraduate engineering students. This fall that number has almost doubled to 424. At Mines, which has the nation's largest chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, 26.5 percent of the engineering students are women, and freshmen engineering enrollment is even higher at 28 percent women. In addition, 17 of the engineering school's 29 new faculty members are women.

Florence Caldwell was the first woman engineering graduate from Mines, leaving with a degree in civil engineering in 1898.

However, for much of the subsequent 100-plus years, officials say, it didn't seem like very much was being done to give Caldwell some company.

Whether it was teachers discouraging strong female math and science students as early as elementary and middle school, or watching women slink away in intimidation at being the only female in college classrooms, there wasn't much being done to bolster the number of women in the field.

Kathleen Baumgardner, director of College Strategic Communications at CSU, said the universities also deserved some of the blame.

"I think many of the messages and examples we were sending out would connect with men and their needs," she said. "There were stories that were very available about important topics like the environment and human health that would resonate with women, but we have been more focused on talking about Formula One race cars."

In 2007, CSU began changing that, creating an initiative designed to bring more women, as well as other under-represented groups, to the field. At that time, Baumgardner said, the school was about 4 percent below the national average for women in engineering. Now it's more than 2 percent above. This summer, the school won the Women in Engineering Initiative Award from the Women in Engineering ProActive Network

At Mines, students go out into the community and spread the word at local middle schools.

"The goal is gender balance," Baumgardner said. "We've got a long way to go, but certainly we're making great strides."




A First for Udacity: a U.S. University Will Accept Transfer Credit for One of Its Courses

A Colorado university is announcing on Thursday that it will give full transfer credit to students who complete a free introductory computer-science course offered by the online-education start-up company Udacity.

The announcement, by Colorado State University's Global Campus, is a milestone for the Stanford University spinoff.

This is the first time a university in the United States has offered academic credit for a Udacity course, although several universities in Austria and Germany already do.

The course, "Introduction to Computer Science: Building a Search Engine," teaches basic computer-science skills by having students build a Web search engine similar to Google. Students enrolled in the free, online course also learn the basics of the programming language Python.

In order to earn the three transfer credits toward their bachelor's degrees at Colorado State, students will need a "certificate of accomplishment" from Udacity showing they passed the course. Then they have to pass a proctored examination offered by Udacity through a secure testing center. The exam, administered by the Pearson VUE testing group, will cost $89.

CS101 is Udacity's first course and includes appearances by the company's co-founder, Sebastian Thrun.

The course, which is open to beginners, is taught by David Evans, an associate professor of computer science who is working for Udacity while on leave from the University of Virginia.

Some 94,000 students worldwide took the course when it first came online early this year, and 98,000 more signed up for the second class, which started in April. "We have students from well over 100 countries, from 13-year-olds to 80-year-olds, sharing in the experience," Mr. Evans said of the class, one of a growing number of massive open online courses, or MOOC's, that have been attracting national attention this year.

Faculty Review

Colorado State's Global Campus, which opened in 2008, is completely online and offers bachelor's and master's degrees, mostly to working adults. It operates independently from the university's other two campuses and has a separate regional accreditation.

Students can transfer in if they have accumulated more than 12 college credit hours.

The university decided to accept the transfer credits after a committee of four faculty members in information technology reviewed the Udacity course and its methods of assessing student learning.

"We believe that as a public university, affordability and accessibility are key," said Becky Takeda-Tinker, president of the Global Campus.

Mr. Thrun declined to reveal how many other universities might be considering offering academic credit for Udacity courses, except to say that talks are in the works and he expects others to follow.

All of the institutions he has talked to have stressed the importance of a proctored exam "because it overcomes some of the main concerns about the authenticity of students and the absence of cheating."

Having a university in the United States offer transfer credit for a Udacity course "is an important step, but it's just the start," Mr. Evans said. "It's recognizing that students really can learn well in online courses that are structured in the right way and have the rigor traditional universities expect."

Most students enrolled in the course do so out of curiosity and are motivated by learning for its own sake, Mr. Evans said. But many will appreciate the opportunity to get credit either to transfer to a college or to help land a job.

Several European universities, including the University of Salzburg, the University of Freiburg, the Free University of Berlin, and the Technical University of Munich, have already given credit for an earlier Udacity course, said Mr. Thrun.

This isn't the first time the Global Campus has accepted transfer credit from a nontraditional source. It does the same for courses from StraighterLine, a company that offers online, self-paced introductory courses.




Air Force awards $215K to Colorado education organizations
US Air Force Academy Research Office and Chief Scientist Col. Rob Fredell have announced the first recipients of a regional grant award for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The Colorado Consortium for Earth and Space Science Education (CCESSE) was awarded $215,000 towards supporting regional STEM education efforts for students in grades kindergarten through 12 as well as providing professional development opportunities to local educators.
The primary program to benefit from this grant will be the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado, housed at Challenger Middle School in Academy School District 20, and offers exciting hands-on, space-based, simulation missions. This grant will support professional development opportunities for educators as well as classroom lessons at low-income schools in El Paso and Teller counties who would not otherwise be able to attend this program.
Several "Project Lead the Way" classes and camps in Academy School District 20 and Colorado School District 11 will also benefit from this grant. The "Project Lead the Way" curriculum encourages more students to pursue careers as scientists and engineers through projects and lab work. This grant will help to provide more camps and classes regionally. 
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will also be involved in a variety of support services for this effort, including assessment, assistance with teacher training, and credits for educator professional development. 
Cool Science is a Colorado Springs-based hands-on science program offering inquiry-based activities to local elementary and middle-school students. A portion of this grant will help Cool Science continue to offer a variety of different hands-on experiences for local school programs. The Academy provides access to their laboratories and classrooms in support of Cool Science. 
"The Academy takes pretty seriously our role in facilitating STEM education at the K-12 level across the Pikes Peak region," said Colonel Fredell. "We look forward to partnering with CCESSE in this endeavor." 
Currently the US is trailing behind several countries when it comes to STEM education. While 90% of eighth grade science teachers in East Asia have science degrees, only 58% of U.S. science teachers have science degrees. Today, things are changing and STEM is becoming a priority. 
In Southern Colorado alone, 600 math and science teachers will be attending STEM workshops and more than 1,100 middle school students will be attending programs such as Science Challenge and STEM Summer Academy-along with many new volunteer faculty programs-all in an effort to raise awareness. 
As it is so aptly named, projects like those at the Challenger Center are under way to "kindle the fire" for science among tomorrow's leaders, scientists, and educators. 
"This grant will help to make great strides in science education in Southern Colorado. By encouraging proven educational organizations to work together, the big winners will be the students," said CCESSE board member Vivian Teets. 
Together, USAFA, CCESSE, the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado, "Project Lead the Way", and "Cool Science" hopes to show the strength of a coordinated team effort to help enhance regional student interest in STEM subjects and career fields.


Justin Osborne to lead new agriculture program at OJC


Otero Junior College is pleased to announce that Justin Osborne, Fowler, will be the lead faculty member for the college’s new agriculture science program, scheduled to begin in August. Osborne will be teaching up to five of the new courses this fall that have been developed for students who are pursuing an associate’s degree in agricultural science. The new program’s curriculum has received approval from Colorado State University-Fort Collins for seamless transfer into several of CSU’s College of Agricultural Science programs, depending on the emphasis area a student chooses at OJC.
Osborne grew up in the Fowler community and has been involved with agriculture his whole life. He holds a bachelor of science from Colorado State University, where he earned a double major in agriculture education and animal science. For the past 12 years Osborne has served as the agriculture instructor and FFA advisor for Fowler High School.
“I’m very excited to help launch the new Agriculture Science program at OJC,” said Osborne. “The program has great support from the college and community, which I think will help us develop a top-notch program that will serve students very well as they look toward future careers in agriculture,” he said.
The new agriculture degree program is being launched with the help of a grant that was awarded to the college in 2011 by the United States Department of Education’s Hispanic Serving Institution’s STEM grant program.
 According to Lisa Gallegos, STEM Grant Project Director at OJC, the Department of Education’s intention is for the grant program to help Hispanic serving institutions, such as OJC, increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in STEM fields and to develop model transfer and articulation agreements.
“Last fall we began looking at several new programs of study that focused on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math),” said Gallegos. “To decide what area we wanted to concentrate on first, we did some extensive research, and all our data pointed to a need for more agriculture education opportunities in our area. Agriculture is an important part of our economy in the Arkansas Valley and that field of study had high ratings from student interest surveys for new program development,” she explained.
 According to Gallegos, a student enrolling at OJC with the intention to pursue an associate’s degree in agriculture will be able to choose from three emphasis areas. Those emphasis areas include: Agriculture Business, Animal Science and Soil & Crop Sciences.
 “Once a student has met all the requirements for an associate’s degree at OJC in those emphasis areas, they will be able to transfer seamlessly into a corresponding degree program at CSU. In most cases, with an additional 60 hours of coursework at CSU, they should be able to earn their bachelor’s degree,” she said.
Jim Rizzuto, president of Otero Junior College, believes that the new program will have an impact on filling an unmet need in the college’s service area and is looking forward to welcoming Osborne to the OJC faculty.
“We are very excited to welcome Justin to the OJC faculty. His lifelong experience with agriculture and his experience in the classroom will provide good leadership and direction for this new program,” said Rizzuto. “The STEM grant funding affords us the opportunity to better meet the needs of those in our communities who want to work in an agricultural career field, one of the most important sections of our local economy,” he said.
The new courses that have been developed for the Agriculture degree program and their delivery include:

AGE 102 - Ag Economics – Fall Semester

AGE 205 - Farm & Ranch Management – Fall Semester

AGR 260 - World Interdependence – Fall Semester

ASC 100 - Animal Science – Fall Semester

ASC 230 - Farm Animal Anatomy & Physiology – Fall Semester

AGY 100 - General Crop Production – Spring Semester

AGY 240 - Intro Soil Science - Spring Semester

ASC 225 - Feeds & Feeding – Spring Semester

ASC 250 -Live Animal & Carcass Evaluation – Spring Semester

ASC 288 - Livestock Practicum – Spring Semester

AGE 208 - Agricultural Finance – Spring Semester

Fall semester at OJC begins on Aug. 20. Students can enroll in the new Agriculture degree program at any time, either online or in person.
 To register online go to and click on the Future Students link. For more information about the new program, prospective students can call Justin Osborne at 719-384-6964.
To make an appointment with an academic advisor, call 719-384-6831 or visit the OJC Student Services Center on south San Juan Avenue in La Junta.



Otero Junior College offers STEM classes for K-8 students 

Otero Junior College will be offering a series of classes during the month of July for K-8 students that relate to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). A series of 15 classes and workshops will make up the STEM Summer Science Camp offerings. In addition, a two-day workshop for students and the general public will be held on Aug. 25 and Sept. 1 on Monarch Butterfly Tagging.
 STEM Summer Science Camp is being sponsored by Otero Junior College’s STEM grant office, under the leadership of Lisa Gallegos, director of the OJC STEM Grant. Students can register for the courses by calling the STEM office at 384-6951 or 384-6972. Participants may also pick up a registration form in the OJC Instructional Services office in Macdonald Hall, Room 110. Fees for most of the individual courses range from $3 to $15.

STEM Summer Science Camp Courses 
July 9- 13
Ko’s Journey — Learn or reinforce practical mathematics through game-based learning design, where the learning of mathematics is self-paced and fun.
 Time: 8-11:30 a.m. Monday - Friday, Grades:  5th-8th, Price:  $15. Limited to 20 students.

Friday, July 20
Nature’s Water in Our World — Discover nature’s water in our world in a morning full of fun science activities all about that magic stuff we call water.
 Time:  8-11 a.m. Grades: 3rd-8th, Price:  $5. Limited to 50 students.

Monday, July 23
Solar Car Sprint — Learn how by constructing a working solar powered model car and examine the topics of photovoltaic cells, gear ratios and electronics.
 Time: 8-9:45 a.m. Grades:  4th-8th. Price:  $3.

Drawdio — Use high tech tools to construct a circuit that turns an ordinary pencil into a cool electronic musical instrument. Make a pencil that lets you draw music.
 Time: 8-9:45 a.m. Grades:  6th-8th. Price:  $3.

Cryptography — Learn about the math, science and linguistics behind creating and breaking codes and ciphers.
 Time: 10-11:45 a.m. Grades:  1st-5th. Price:  $3.

SolidWorks — Student will use a 3D software program to create drawings of 3D objects on the computer screen.
 Time: 10-11:45 a.m. Grades:  1st-5th. Price:  $3.
Tuesday, July 24

Lego Robotics — Build and program a LEGO Mindstorm robot to perform certain tasks and move on a playing field.
 Time: 8-9:45 a.m. Grades:  3rd-5th. Price:  $3.

Math Powered Art — Students will create their own unique art using fractals, Fibonacci sequences, and Pascal’s triangle.
 Time: 8-9:45 a.m. Grades:  1st-5th. Price:  $3.

Physics of Filmmaking — Make a short movie trailer that uses digital special effects.  Explore the physics of how special effects work and shoot your own footage.
 Time: 10-11:45 a.m. Grades:  4th-8th. Price:  $3.

Astronomy — Join this workshop to learn about stars, planets and our solar system using high tech tools of astronomy.
 Time: 10-11:45 a.m. Grades:  1st-8th. Price:  $3.
Wednesday, July 25

GPS and Geocaching — Join this workshop to learn how to use GPS technology and mathematics to find hidden treasure on a geocaching course.
 Time: 8-9:45 a.m. Grades:  4th—8th. Price:  $3.

Indoor Flyers — Join this workshop that explores the mechanics of flight by building your own ultra-light rubber band powered airplane that really flies.
 Time: 8-9:45 a.m. Grades:  1st—5th. Price:  $3.

Robotic Arms — Construct miniature versions of modern machinery using water as hydraulic fluid.
 Time: 10-11:45 a.m., Grades:  1st-8th. Price:  $3.

Snap Circuits — Make your own circuits and find out what all those electronic gadgets do.
 Time: 10-11:45 a.m. Grades:  1st-8th. Price:  $3.

July 30 – Aug. 1
Wildlife Adventure Camp — Monday – Nature Day: nature walk and wildlife games. Tuesday – Fish Day: tour hatchery, discover pond life. Wednesday – Bird Day: go bird-watching and see live raptors.
 Time: 8-11 a.m., each day, Grades: 3rd—8th. Price:  $15. Limited to 25 students

Aug. 25 and Sept. 1
Monarch Butterfly Tagging for all ages — Catch, tag and release monarch butterflies while learning how to determine a butterfly’s gender. Learn about migration patterns, what they eat and talk about building a butterfly garden.
 Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. each day. For all ages. Price:  $3 each day. Limited to 40 people each day. Location:  Meet at Bent’s Old Fort parking lot on Highway 194 (transportation will not be provided).
For more information, contact Lisa Gallegos at 384-6951 or 384-6972. Participants may also pick up a registration form in the OJC Instructional Services office in Macdonald Hall, Room 110.




Paonia High School teacher wins Knowles Fellowship

Ben Graves, who will be beginning his career as a secondary science teacher at Paonia High School, has just been awarded the prestigious Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship, a major national teaching award valued at $175,000. The fellowship is awarded to America's premier high school math and science teachers at the start of their careers.

A former researcher at Yellowstone, Graves recognized that he looked forward to talking about why the small mammals were the real drama in the park — not the wolves the tourists had come to see. Realizing this he turned to education, where he has led or taken part in numerous education initiatives with youth in national parks. Graves' experiences in the classroom and with field-based science instruction led him to present his findings at the North American Association of Environmental Education conference.

Graves was one of 34 beginning high school teachers selected for the highly competitive five-year KSTF Teaching Fellowships, which are awarded to teachers of biology, physical science and mathematics.

"We cannot improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education without recruiting and keeping excellent STEM teachers in the profession," said Dr. Nicole Gillespie, KSTF's director of teaching fellowships. "These fellows join a growing cadre of exceptional KSTF teachers whose knowledge, commitment and leadership are transforming math and science education from the inside."

Getting the very best teachers to commit to teaching on a long term basis is critical. In 1987, the average teacher had 14 years of experience, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. In 2007, that number stood at just two years. The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation is addressing this need by reaching out to the nation's very best and brightest teaching students and offering them the mentoring and professional development that they need to remain in this complex and challenging profession.



Teachers get field geology lesson with Space Foundation

Teachers spent time this week traipsing through Garden of the Gods, touching rocks and learning about such things as alluvial fans, ancestral Rocky Mountains, faults, sediment layers and geologic time.


The small group is enrolled in a geology class, one of several Space Foundation programs planned for teachers this summer. There will be more hands-on time in the park later this week as teachers learn to create geologic maps to improve their ability to read such maps.

The course covers a lot of ground. Some of the teachers are pursuing master’s degrees, others are seeking continuing education credits and some want to build their own knowledge.

“It’s almost a semester’s worth of geology in a week,” said Jay Temple, a consulting geologist who is teaching the weeklong Earth Systems Science: Our Earth Revealed class.

The course is a great way to boost an understanding of geology, said Deb Haase, Academy School District 20 teacher on special assignment at the Challenger Learning Center. It also helps her learn ways to bring real-world applications into the classroom, she said.

“Any content knowledge I can get is a bonus,” she said.

This summer, the foundation has six classes lined up in Colorado, most in Colorado Springs. The Space Foundation education team also will travel to Maryland to teach classes. Topics include meteorology and rocketry.

“School districts want their teachers to have a diverse background,” Temple said.

The Space Foundation aims to strengthen STEM education, a shorthand way of referring to science, technology, engineering and math.

Geology has strong ties to space science, said Janet Stevens, Space Foundation vice president of marketing and communication. Many of the unmanned missions focus on geology, she said.

“We’re on a planet, too,” she said.

The courses are open to teachers from across the country, and the world.

Andrew Shipley, who teaches physics and other sciences at a school on the Isle of Man, is the first teacher to attend a Space Foundation course from the island between Ireland and Great Britain.

“It’s an amazing place,” he said of Garden of the Gods. He plans on taking home a better understanding of geology with hopes of giving his students an appreciation and understanding of their local geology and history, he said.

The Space Foundation offers a number of scholarships for educators, covering part or all for teachers to attend. School districts also cover costs.

“I wanted to know more about geology,” said Delores Sorensen, sixth-grade teacher at Colorado Springs Charter Academy.

Holding class sessions in Garden of the Gods brings lessons home, for students and teachers.

“It’s a familiar area for most of the kids in Colorado Springs,” she said.

Some of the “students” have a strong background in sciences, while others have specialized in such subjects as English, so science is a bit more challenging, he said.

Regardless of background, a key lesson he wants teachers to take home is that you don’t need to ride a bus to dig into geology.

Just walking outside the school door can yield lessons in geology, Temple said.

Teachers can build on observations outside the classroom and apply them to simple experiments and deeper lessons on groundwater, or oil and gas deposits.

“It stimulates their curiosity,” he said. “It’s very important to teach kids to be observant.”







Northrop Grumman to Partner in Creating Science Center at Space Foundation Headquarters


Northrop Grumman Corporation is donating $375,000 to create a science center and teaching lab at the Space Foundation`s Colorado Springs world headquarters. To be known as the Northrop Grumman Science Center, the facility will include a Science on a Sphere (TM) laboratory and a teaching facility that will be used for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs for teachers and students and for community education outreach efforts.


The Northrop Grumman Science Center is the first major component of the Space Foundation`s visitors center, which is under development at 4425 Arrowswest Drive in Colorado Springs. Construction will begin immediately and the new center is expected to open as early as this fall.


"This generous gift from Northrop Grumman makes it possible for the Space Foundation to realize our vision of an interactive destination for formal and informal public and private education -- advancing STEM in the exciting context of space exploration, development and utilization," said Space Foundation chief executive officer Elliot Pulham. "We envision a facility where children and adults can participate in highly interactive learning opportunities in multiple disciplines, including astronomy, physics, mathematics, geography, environmental sciences, planetary sciences and biology."
The Northrop Grumman Science Center will have both lecture and laboratory facilities that can be used for pre-kindergarten through graduate-level courses, educator professional development and educational multimedia events and presentations for the general public.
"Northrop Grumman is honored to partner with the Space Foundation to create this exciting new educational facility for the Rocky Mountain region that will help lead the next generation into space," said Gary Ervin, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "STEM education initiatives like this are critical for today`s children to become tomorrow`s leaders in space. They are the future stewards of our nation`s leadership in technology to keep both our economy strong and our residents secure while advancing our understanding of the world around us."
The Center will extend the reach and capabilities of the Space Foundation`s education enterprise, which offers space-themed, standards-based education programs to teachers and students. Programs include Space Across the Curriculum teacher professional development courses, STARS science enrichment programs for schools, New Horizons community programs that combine school-based education programs with community events and lectures, Audience with an Astronaut sessions for schools, school and youth tours of major space industry exhibits, including those at the National Space Symposium, lesson plans and teaching resources and a NASA Educator Resource Center.



 Space Foundation supports STEM education

Summer classes train educators to teach space across the curriculum
In keeping with its mission to "advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity," the 
Space Foundation believes that future success in space depends on an educated workforce, and now is the time to build that workforce through STEM education.
"We focus on teachers because by training teachers we reach a much larger audience year after year," said Space Foundation education vice president Iain Probert. "The lessons we teach educators are integrated into their classrooms for lasting effect on their students."
Lessons in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can begin as early as preschool age and the Space Foundation is instructing teachers in delivering STEM lessons to children in preschool through grade 12. With an interdisciplinary approach that fortifies all content areas by linking lessons across the curriculum, the Space Foundation approach is highly replicable and a model for schools across the country.
This summer, the Space Foundation presented its Space Across the Curriculum classes at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute in its home city of Colorado Springs, Colo., and across the country in Charles County, Md., the suburban Chicago area, and, for the first time, at Colorado State University - Pueblo. Read news coverage of the new Pueblo class for PreK-2 teachers here.
The teacher professional development classes continue through mid-August. To plan ahead for next summer, see the 2011 Space Across the Curriculum course schedule on the Space Foundation education website after Labor Day.




Margaret Kirkpatrick Named Colorado’s New State Director of Adult Education

Margaret Kirkpatrick has been selected as Colorado’s new state director of adult education. Kirkpatrick recently retired from her position as principal of California’s Berkeley Adult School. Prior to that, she served as program director of the University of California Berkeley Extension’s adult education and vocational educational credential program and directed a staff development institute serving adult educators. Kirkpatrick is a Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) national trainer for implementation, employability competency, and continuous improvement measure implementation. She also was vice president of the California Council for Adult Education (2006-09) as well as president-elect in 2010, and she served as principal writer of the adult education state plan for the California Department of Education. Kirkpatrick received the 2006 Award of Merit from the California Council for Adult Education.