Princeton President Advocates Inversion of Science Education

Princeton University President and renowned molecular biologist Shirley M. Tilghman advocated for a new approach to science education that would integrate larger-picture ideas into everyday curriculum in a lecture at the Science Center on Tuesday afternoon.

This new approach, which Tilghman has termed “inverting the pyramid,” would introduce students early on to the major questions that plague the scientific community, represented now by the base of the pyramid.

“I think we need to invert the pyramid and begin with the big ideas, and then we need to continually connect the theorems and laws to the great task of solving the questions behind the big ideas,” Tilghman said as part of the Dudley Herschbach lecture series. University President Drew G. Faust introduced Tilghman.

Addressing the bigger questions in science while still retaining the smaller-scale fundamental information already taught in the classroom will allow for more original thinking among the students, Tilghman said.

“The science education system should be providing students with opportunities to be scientists and engineers,” she said.

Tilghman said that a new focus in science education is particularly salient given the United States’ declining status as an international leader in the field.

“America is widely acknowledged for having one of the worst K-12 education systems in the world. The more our children are exposed to our educational system, the more poorly they do on international tests,” Tilghman said. “It is clear we have a national problem on our hands.”

Tilghman also discussed the increasing number of online courses offered in high schools and universities. She questioned their effectiveness and what it means for universities that have historically promised close interaction between professors and students as the hallmark of their education.

“The to-be-answered challenge for me is how to use those freed-up contact hours to engage those 300 students,” she said. “That’s the challenge. Will online enhance or merely substitute traditional types of classroom teaching?”

Even with such unanswered speculation about the current science education system, Tilghman expressed her high hopes for the future of the American education system.

“As long as we in the education community approach education with the same degree of inventiveness as we approach research, and as long as our leaders protect qualities that make our scientific enterprise such a source of national strength...I am optimistic,” Tilghman said. “The seeds of that success are still with us.”

Keisuke Ishihara, a Harvard graduate student in systems biology and a teaching fellow for Science of the Physical Universe 27: “Science and Cooking” who attended the lecture, said she agrees with Tilghman’s assertion that students must become innovative thinkers and researchers.

“When you’re asking a question that no one had answered before, and you could figure out the answer by yourself, then that is one of the more memorable moments,” Ishihara said. “I think incorporating that in the middle school, high school, undergraduate programs is really important.”


source: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/11/14/shirley-tilghman-science-education/

Morristown teacher awarded utility grant

MORRISTOWN Carolyn McLain, a teacher at Alexander Hamilton School, was one of eight New Jersey teachers awarded with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education grants by  FirstEnergy Corp.,  parent company of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L).

The grants, of up to $500 each, will be used for a variety of creative classroom projects, workshops and teacher development programs.

Other winners included teachers in Lanoka Harbor, Lacey Township, Newton,  Montville and Parsippany.

“The projects funded by these grants encourage students to discover career possibilities in the STEM fields of study while supporting the professional development f our educators,” said Don Lynch, president, JCP&L. “We remain committed to supporting our schools to build the workforce we need tomorrow.”

The grants are awarded to individual teachers and administrators at schools served by FirstEnergy’s electric utility operating companies and in communities where it has facilities. Grant recipients are recommended by local educators from the company’s educational Advisory Council. As part of the program, recipients must furnish a written summary and evaluation of their projects that can be shared with other educators in FirstEnergy’s service area.

Since the program’s inception, more than 1,000 STEM grants have been awarded by FirstEnergy to educators and youth group leaders.



source: http://newjerseyhills.com/morris_news_bee/news/morristown-teacher-awarded-utility-grant/article_4a987792-1a2e-11e2-b3c9-0019bb2963f4.html

Local teacher receives grant from FirstEnergy

FirstEnergy Corp., parent company of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L), awarded eight teachers representing seven New Jersey schools with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education grants.

Among the grant winners were Raquel Lima, of St. Pius School in Montville, and Linda Carlesi, of All Saints Academy in Parsippany.

The grants, of up to $500 each, will be used for a variety of creative classroom projects, workshops and teacher development programs. Winning projects include alternative energy solutions, hydroponics and water filtration.

"The projects funded by these grants encourage students to discover career possibilities in the STEM fields of study while supporting the professional development of our educators," said Don Lynch, president, JCP&L. "We remain committed to supporting our schools to build the workforce we need tomorrow."

The grants are awarded to individual teachers and administrators at schools served by FirstEnergy’s electric utility operating companies and in communities where it has facilities. Grant recipients are recommended by local educators from the company’s Educational Advisory Council. As part of the program, recipients must furnish a written summary and evaluation of their projects that can be shared with other educators in FirstEnergy’s service area.

Since the program’s inception, more than 1,000 STEM grants have been awarded by FirstEnergy to educators and youth group leaders.


source: http://www.northjersey.com/community/announcements/176534601_Local_teacher_receives_grant_from_FirstEnergy.html 

N.J. makes manufacturing jobs pitch to high schoolers

Manufacturing companies are still a big part of New Jersey’s economy, and many of them have positions they need to fill — jobs that pay significantly more than other industries.

That was the bait business leaders offered yesterday in Newark to several hundred high schoolers, some from vocational and technology programs.

"There’s more than 11,000 manufacturers in New Jersey. That’s pretty awesome … the average wage is $89,000," said John Kennedy, chief operating officer of New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Program.

Kennedy’s mission? To entice students from high schools from around the state to get trained and ready for those jobs that require training and skills to work with advanced machinery.

That’s a different type of education than comes with a college degree.

"The starting point doesn’t need to be a college education, absolutely not," said Meredith Aronson, director of ManufactureNJ, a state-funded program at NJIT. "But it’s not for lack of skills. You don’t walk in off the street and say ‘I’m qualified for this job.’ These are not jobs that are filling orders and running paper back and forth—these are jobs running expensive equipment that can kill you in some cases."

Manufacturing jobs make up a reduced but still-important slice of the state’s private sector workforce: around 245,000 jobs out of 3.3 million, according to the Department of Labor’s seasonally adjusted September report.

The industry is in the spotlight now because of ManufactureNJ Week, which began yesterday by proclamation of Gov. Chris Christie.

The state’s goal is to raise the industry’s profile through a series of events at companies like GE Aviation Systems in Whippany and Sandvik Coromant, which makes metal working tools in Fair Lawn.

Yesterday, at the kickoff at NJIT, that meant more than a dozen companies courting high schoolers.

"We’re trying to show them what we do, who we are and we do have openings," said John Pusateri, an operations manager for Titan Tools based in Oakland, in Bergen County.

Pusateri’s company, which makes paint-spraying equipment, has about 40 temp workers and usually has about 15 temp work vacancies, he said.

Those temporary jobs can be a path to permanent positions.

"We do provide training," said Andrew Kim, an NJIT engineering alumnus who represented Takasago, a maker of flavors and fragrances for food and consumer products. "For an entry-level person we look for their ability for learning, for math, for machines."

Takasago employs about 180 manufacturing production workers, who the company trains, and 320 degree-holders.

The magnet of jobs seemed to be pulling at Ibad Khokhar, 16, a junior from High Tech High School in North Bergen, which offers majors to its students like automotive tech and computer-aided design.

"I don’t know what my major’s going to be," Khokar said. "It’s pretty interesting to look at all these different ideas."

source: http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2012/10/nj_makes_manufacturing_jobs_pi.html


NASA Selects Teachers To Fly Student Experiments In Reduced Gravity Aircraft

Teachers from six NASA Explorer Schools (NES) have been selected to receive the 2012 School Recognition Award for their contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The teachers selected are from Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Glendale, Calif.; Franke Park Elementary School, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Mountview Road School, Morris Plains, N.J.; Corpus Christi Catholic School, Chambersburg, Pa.; Fairport High School, Fairport N.Y.; and Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School, Columbia, S.C.

In April 2013, three teachers from each school will travel to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. There they will have the opportunity to fly aboard the agency's reduced gravity aircraft and conduct experiments designed by their students. The experiments will examine the acceleration and inertia of objects, how fluids with different viscosities behave in microgravity, and how the absence of gravity affects mass and weight.

"Congratulations to the NES teachers selected for this innovative NASA experience. The reduced gravity flights allow teachers to conduct scientific investigations in a microgravity environment, similar to how experiments are conducted on the International Space Station," said Cecelia Fletcher, acting program manager for primary and secondary education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This experiential learning opportunity helps to spread the excitement of STEM education with teachers and students throughout the NASA Explorer School network."

A team of NASA personnel reviewed many applications before selecting these six schools for their exemplary classroom practices and innovative uses of NES resources to engage a broad school population. These schools were chosen from more than 470 schools that are registered participants in the NASA Explorer Schools project.

The NASA Explorer Schools project is the classroom-based gateway for students in grades 4-12 that focuses on stimulating STEM education using agency content and themes.

For more information about the Explorer Schools Project, visit:


To watch a four-minute video that provides project information and shows previous winners aboard the reduced gravity aircraft, visit:


For more information about NASA's education programs, visit:


source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nasa-selects-teachers-to-fly-student-experiments-in-reduced-gravity-aircraft-2012-09-20


Newark Students, Seton Hall Faculty and Student Mentors to Develop Mobile Apps for Social Good

Newark Technology High School and Seton Hall University students will join forces in an innovative program – designed to serve as a replicable, national model -- in which they will develop mobile applications (apps) that provide a social good, introduce students to science and technology careers and promote positive social change in the community, with the aid of a contribution by AT&T of $250,000, Seton Hall University President A. Gabriel Esteban announced today. The pilot Young Developers Program (YDP) is part of the university's Center for Mobile Research & Innovation (CMRI).

"Seton Hall's partnership with AT&T Aspire advances the University's mission to help young, often underserved students prepare for success in higher education," said Dr. Esteban. "With AT&T's generous support, we are able to provide the best possible learning technology and hands-on faculty advisers and student mentors in a unique pilot program for these young developers, who represent the future of our institutions and our society."

The AT&T contribution is part of a quarter-billion-dollar national campaign to help more students graduate from high school ready for careers and college, and to ensure the country is better prepared to meet global competition.   AT&T Aspire tackles high school success and college/career readiness for students at-risk of dropping out of high school using "socially innovative" approaches -- engaging people and technology to bring new solutions and added resources to challenging social problems.

"This contribution to Seton Hall's Center for Mobile Research & Innovation is about more than just teaching the students to develop mobile apps – it is also teaching them professional and life skills, motivating them and preparing them for college, and instilling community service values," said Mike Schweder, AT&T Mid-Atlantic President, who presented a $250,000 check to Esteban.  "AT&T is proud to be a part of this project that uses technology to connect with students in new and more effective ways."

Beginning in January 2013, and continuing throughout the academic year, YDP students will participate in after-school online courses on coding, prototyping, user interface design, testing, and marketing.  Seton Hall students and industry professionals will serve as mentors and help the Young Developers plan and develop a mobile app.  The apps developed by the students must be community-oriented and serve a "social good."

The model curriculum developed for the YDP under the AT&T contribution will pursue specific college preparation and workplace development skills, including:

Introducing underserved students to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines through mobile application programming curriculum;

Providing an understanding of the impact of mobile technology across professional fields, with a particular emphasis on the promotion of social good;

Changing the mindset of underserved and at-risk students through confidence building and access to professional networking;


Developing skills that will enable students to set long term professional goals and pursue them.

Universities and underserved students in high schools across the country will have access to the model curriculum to be created by the Young Developers Program, using the experiences of the year-long program.  Other schools will have access to the theory, tools and skills necessary for beginning mobile app development, including conceptualization, design, coding, and marketing. 

Schweder said the Young Developers Program meshes perfectly with the AT&T Aspire program mission of high school dropout prevention.  "The dropout rate, along with inadequate training and education, is keeping many high-paying Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs from being filled.  And the situation is expected to worsen as STEM jobs grow a projected 17 percent by 2018.  We need to ensure that we have a workforce that is prepared to tackle the technological challenges of the future," said Schweder.

source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/13/4817154/seton-hall-university-joins-with.html 

Seton Hall giving students Windows 8 tablets and ultrabooks

Seton Hall has been at the forefront of using technology for the past 14 years.

Earlier this year, Seton Hall University announced that it was giving all incoming freshmen this fall a Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone. Now, according to Microsoft, the university is also giving incoming freshmen and returning juniors Samsung Series 7 tablets or Samsung Series 5 ultrabooks running Windows 8.

The university also has decided to standardize on the Windows platform to help reduce its IT support and maintenance costs, officials said.

“We have a responsibility to give all our students access to the technology they need to be successful learners today, as well as future leaders in the workplace,” said President Gabriel Esteban. “By putting the most advanced mobile computing system in the hands of all of our students, regardless of prior experience or socio-economic background, we are leveling the playing field and creating opportunities for tomorrow’s … leaders.”

Seton Hall has been at the forefront of using technology for the past 14 years through the school’s Mobile Computing Program, which provides a standard laptop to all its undergraduates as part of their tuition and fees.

Along with Windows phones and tablets or ultrabooks, Seton Hall has also equipped incoming freshmen with Office 365 for education, the web-based version of Office that Microsoft recently said it would offer to students and faculty free of charge. The Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phones will provide seamless integration with the students’ Windows 8 desktop environment, giving them access to familiar programs and documents on both devices, officials said.

“From students’ perspectives, Windows 8 delivers an environment that allows them to be as productive as possible,” said Stephen Landry, chief information officer, Seton Hall. “They want integration of their tablet experience with their desktop experience, and products like Microsoft Office 365 for education help make that possible. Other devices out there have the form factor and battery life, but miss the mark on offering efficient content creation and consumption.”

Seton Hall also will upgrade the entire campus to Office 365 for education, Microsoft’s communications and collaboration cloud suite, which provides eMail, shared calendars, Microsoft Office Web Apps (such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), video and online meeting capabilities, and document sharing. This will ensure that not just students, but also faculty and staff, have a familiar user experience across all their devices, allowing for greater productivity and teamwork—no matter what compatible device they are working on at any given time.

“Windows 8 provides us with the ability to manage thousands of devices on our campus network that other operating systems just didn’t provide,” Landry said. “We couldn’t manage these devices without the help and the tools that Microsoft has provided.” 


Biotechnology High School Teacher Works with Top Scientists at National Laboratory


This fall, Dave Pinkus, a teacher at Biotechnology High School will return to his classroom with a deeper understanding of the practical implications of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts after spending part of his summer break engaged in an immersive research program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Pinkus worked with a team of scientists and fellow teachers to look at the construction and maintenance of neutron detection systems at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source and its High Flux Isotope Reactor. Their work was part of an elite fellowship program arranged by the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education, Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the College Board.
He was one of just 20 teachers from across the country selected to participate in the research project at ORNL through the prestigious Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) fellowship program. STARs is part of the Siemens STEM Academy, a premier online professional development community for STEM educators empowering and celebrating excellence in STEM education.
The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education and their partners developed the STARs fellowship to invigorate teachers by immersing them in authentic research alongside some of the country’s brightest scientific minds. The hope is that these teachers will bring the experience back into their classrooms and inspire their students to pursue STEM education and careers.
"We hope that Dave’s experience at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the experiences of all of his cohorts, will help inspire their students to become our country’s next generation of scientists and engineers," said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, president of the Siemens Foundation. "We see the STARs program as a key part of the Siemens Foundation’s broad effort to improve our country’s competency in STEM education and are honored that Dave was able to participate.”
At the ORNL, Pinkus and his colleagues worked with Kevin Barry, of ORNL’s Neutron Sciences Division, to test neutron detector systems that will eventually be installed at the lab’s Spallation Neutron Source – which provides the world’s most intense pulsed neutron beams for scientific research and industrial development. The teachers worked to make sure that the systems operated properly and were stable. They also tested a high resolution neutron imaging camera and various hardware and software in the detector lab.
“This was an amazing opportunity to put STEM concepts into action and connect what I’ve been teaching in the classroom to the real world,” Pinkus said. “I can’t wait to get back to my students to share with them what I learned.”
In addition to their research, Pinkus and the other STARs fellows were involved in a number of facility tours and seminars aimed at helping them effectively incorporate research into their classrooms. Each teacher also received a grant to purchase equipment and/or supplies for their classroom.
Following the programs, the Fellows will serve as ambassadors in their schools and communities as they continue working together on various STEM projects and empowering their peers with the tools and knowledge gained at the STARs program. The hope is that these teachers will then bring the experience back into their classrooms and inspire students to pursue opportunities in STEM related fields.



source: http://freehold.patch.com/articles/biotechnology-high-school-teacher-works-with-top-scientists-at-national-laboratory


Senator Menendez meets award winning teachers 


U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez met with two New Jersey teachers last week who received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). This honor was given to 97 teachers across the country who have demonstrated a dedication to strengthening STEM education.


Menendez met with Perth Amboy teacher Rebecca McLelland-Crawley and Point Pleasant teacher John McAllen III and their families who visited Washington, D.C. to attend the award ceremony at the White House.


“I am very proud to see New Jersey science teachers honored among the best in the nation,” said Menendez (D-NJ). “Educators like John and Rebecca show the value of investing in science and math education so that our future leaders have the ability to thrive in this time of rapid technological change. John and Rebecca have dedicated their lives to that mission and I hope that their recognition will encourage more bright young individuals to go into teaching as a profession.”


McAllen gave up a successful career as a biomechanical engineer for Johnson & Johnson to shape the engineers of the future. He has taught AP Calculus, precalculus, and geometry at Point Pleasant Borough High School for the past 13 years and also serves as a Professional Learning Community Facilitator and as chairman of the Ocean County Mathematics League. He has also been honored as Governor’s Teacher of the Year.


McLelland-Crawley teaches biology, marine science, and AP Environmental Science at Perth Amboy High School. In her 15 years as a science educator, she has served as president of the Biology Teachers Association of New Jersey and has been named New Jersey Phi Delta Kappa/Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year. She plans to use the $10,000 from the award to work on special programs for her autistic son and to continue pursuing her doctorate at Walden University.

source: http://njtoday.net/2012/07/03/senator-meets-award-winning-teachers/#ixzz216yNYtqr 





Perth Amboy teacher wins Presidential award


From the time she was a young girl Rebecca McLelland-Crawley has loved science.


“I can remember just being being fascinated with stars,’’ said McLelland-Crawley, a 15-year Perth Amboy science teacher.


“I still to this day cannot walk into my house at the end of the day without looking up at the stars and wondering,’’ she said. “I hold my children up every night and look up and my son, who is almost four, looks and says ‘Mommy, there’s the Big Dipper’ and he counts all the stars in the Big Dipper. It’s just a great experience. Thinking about how the world is, you can’t get any purer than that. Why are we here and how did we get here?And how do we know what we know. And that’s all science.’’


McLelland-Crawley has passed that love of science on to many of her students.


Zyania Zavala, 17, a Perth Amboy High School junior, said science use to be her worst subject, but now she gets A’s in McLelland-Crawley’s Advanced Placement environmental science class where she has learned about ocean life, pollution, global warming, ozone layers and cars of the future.


“It has a lot to do with the way she teaches. I look forward to her class every day. I love this class,’’ said Zavala who plans to study environmental science when she goes to college.


Zavala isn’t the only one who thinks McLelland-Crawley is an outstanding teacher.


McLelland-Crawley is scheduled to be recognized by President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. this week as a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.


She is one of 97 math and science teachers nationwide to receive the award this year. John McAllen III, a Point Pleasant math teacher, will also receive the award.


The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and math teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.

Winners are invited to an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Obama administration. They also receive a $10,000 award. McLelland-Crawley is hoping to personally meet the president.


President Obama has committed to strengthening science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and prepare 100,000 effective science and mathematics teachers over the next decade. These commitments build on the President’s 


“Educate to Innovate” campaign, which has attracted more than $700 million in donations and in-kind support from corporations, philanthropies, service organizations, and others to help bolster science and technology education in the classroom.


“America’s success in the 21st century depends on our ability to educate our children, give our workers the skills they need, and embrace technological change. That starts with the men and women in front of our classrooms. These teachers are the best of the best, and they stand as excellent examples of the kind of leadership we need in order to train the next generation of innovators and help this country get ahead,” Obama said.


McLelland-Crawley, who was nominated for the honor, feels “absolutely humbled’’ to receive this recognition.


“Because I know there are tens of thousands of accomplished science teachers that are out there in classrooms working their tails off to inspire kids to love science and to be part of that group is amazing,’’ she said.


McLelland-Crawley is traveling to the nation’s capital with her husband, Steven Crawley, and the couple’s two children, Aidan, 3 1/2 and Kathryn, 2, her father, Washington McLelland of Edison and her sister, Jessica McLelland-Ayers, a Perth Amboy High School special-education teacher and special education literacy coach.


“I am thrilled the Perth Amboy public schools district is being represented by Ms. McLelland-Crawley down in Washington. We do some fine things here and she’s clearly been ahead of the game when it came to that. I’m happy to see it being recognized outside the traditional confines of the high school,’’ said Robert Dahill, Perth Amboy High School science supervisor.


McLelland-Ayers said her sister is always there to support her students.


“She has never given up on one student ever. For a really hard subject she make it so much fun. The students are so engaged,’’ she said.


Perth Amboy High School Principal Nestor Collazo said of the top 20 professions, 15 will be STEM related by 2014. That’s why the district will begin offering a more challenging math and science curriculum starting this fall, he added.


To earn the distinction, McLelland-Crawley who became involved with the state selection committee several years ago, had to record a class and reflect on what she hoped to achieve, discuss any misconceptions and show how each student is learning something through the activity.


Professional responsibilities that relate to student learning are also part of the selection process. McLelland-Crawley has contributed to state and national curricula, mentored teachers and been active in professional organizations.


“I thought it was an excellent opportunity to look at my teaching and make sure it is still holding up after 15 years to where it should be,’’ she said. “I am a lifelong learner and always look for ways to improve in the classroom.’’


She videotaped a class where students tested the water quality at the city’s waterfront.


“They love going out and testing the water,’’ she said. “They love to be out there. Feet on the sand, lifting up the rocks and finding crabs. It really goes to the heart of inquiry-based science. And having them come up with a hypothesis, how do they think the water quality will be, what will it be that day and then testing it and seeing what it is and coming back and designing experiments around that to see how they can influence those different parameters.’’


A graduate of Edison High School, McLelland-Crawley said she had a great biology teacher, Joseph Terrazzino, who she has tried to emulate.


“He just made science alive. I really wanted to be like that in the classroom. He had the type of personality that if he didn’t know the answer to a question, he admitted that. And I think that’s something teachers really need to be able to let loose and say, let’s all be learners together,’’ she said.


In Washington, McLelland-Crawley is looking forward to networking with other science educators and meeting with members of the National Science Foundation to offer input as a group to the recently released frameworks for science.


“The most important part of the visit in Washington is for all the science teachers to be able to express how strongly we feel about engaging students in inquiry-based science and having them not just read about it in textbooks taken out of labs but to really have students understand the nature of science by designing their own investigations,’’ she said.


“I have a lot of students who have taken my class. They have a lot of science kits and we tell our kids if you mix these two chemicals together you going to get the right answer. But in science there really is no right answer. So we lie to our kids growing up that science has to be one way,’’ she said.


“If you can learn anything it’s to think through a problem. And that’s the skill I want them to walk away with. Plus we have the added benefit of playing in the sand or going to Willow Pond,’’ said McLelland-Crawley about the 13-acre pond off Convery Boulevard near Dalton Park in Perth Amboy where students have worked to improve the water quality as well as remove debris from the pond. .


McLelland-Crawley is leaving Perth Amboy to become the kindergarten to 12th grade science supervisor in the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district this fall.


“It’s bittersweet,’’ said McLelland-Crawley, who will continue to be involved with Willow Pond, though the city’s recreation department.

She is looking forward to seeing something through as a whole vision of science education and to work with students from the kindergarten level through high school.


“It’s going to be a nice challenge,’’ said McLelland-Crawley who will miss being in the classroom. “We want to make sure that the kids are learning and engaged in science. That they love science, despite whether they have preconceived notions of whether they are good in science or not.’’


And although the West Windsor Plainsboro district has no waterfront, she has already discovered a body of water.


“I have found a pond and they have a turtle crossing sign,’’ she said, adding her first order of business is to find if there are teachers willing to work with high school and elementary students on sustaining the pond.



source: http://www.app.com/article/CN/20120624/NJNEWS/306250011/A-lifelong-learner-teacher?nclick_check=1

Point Borough H.S. Math Teacher Gets National Honor

Not only is a Point Borough High School Math teacher receiving the highest national teaching honor, but he will get to thank President Obama for it in person. Math Teacher John McAllen is one of only 46 Math teachers in the U.S. to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching.
High School Principal Linda Rocco recognized McAllen at the conclusion of her address to graduates on Wednesday night.
“I have some very exciting news to share about one of our teachers, who has touched the lives of so many here today,” she said. “I am so proud to announce that Mr. John McAllen has been named recipient of The Presidential Award in Mathematics Teaching!
"Mr. McAllen was selected to represent New Jersey and is one of only 46 mathematics teachers in the nation to the receive this honor. He will travel to the White House later this month to receive his award from President Obama.”
Parent applauded and students jumped to their feet to give McAllen a standing ovation. Students know him as the teacher responsible for reinvigorating the high school’s calculus program and inspiring legions of Point Borough graduates to pursue futures in engineering.
“I generally avoid making such grandiose statements, but I can say, without pretense, that the world is a better place because of John McAllen,” said Rocco. “While there may be some dissent over specifically which of his many contributions to the world have had a greater impact, I believe we can all agree with the empirical statement that Mr. McAllen has positively changed the world.”
But considering the diversity of his accomplishments, there may be strong opinions on which were more influential.
The recipients of any of the five different biomedical innovations, designed and patented by McAllen, would likely indicate the healing benefits of the absorbable devices, in which he specialized, as the most important of his contributions.
His students from his 13 years teaching at Point Pleasant Borough High School, the participants on the math team he advises, or those he tutors during lunch and after school, might say McAllen’s biggest influence is the way he communicates complex mathematical concepts in a clear, understandable way and connects classroom lessons to practical, real world applications.
McAllen’s peers may cite his willingness to collaborate with others and to support those in need, while his administrators would extol his leadership skills and engaging teaching manner as having the biggest affect on the school’s learning dynamic.
“Of all of his many impressive accomplishments thus far, I believe John McAllen’s greatest achievement has yet to be come, revealed by the futures of his students,” added Rocco.
“Political leaders and education officials agree that a strong educational foundation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields of study, are key to our nation’s future competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said Superintendent of Point Pleasant Borough Schools Vincent S. Smith.
“Our nation is in the midst of unprecedented changes to our public education system, reflecting the need to enhance STEM education opportunities. National initiatives to support this goal include, increased funding and grant opportunities for educational efforts targeting STEM subjects as well as national and state recognition programs for outstanding educators of STEM subjects. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is one such award.”
According to the Superintendent, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is presented annually to the best pre-college-level science and mathematics teachers in the country, as determined by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators, following an initial state level selection process. 
“After a lengthy nomination and application process, spanning more than a year, Mr. McAllen was notified earlier this week that he was named New Jersey’s PAEMST recipient for math, besting a pool of nominees comprised of some of the state’s most distinguished mathematics teachers,” said Smith.
The process began, he said, with an initial nomination letter submitted by the District’s Mathematics Supervisor, Barbara Hanna.
 “John McAllen is a superior educator,” Hanna wrote in the initial nomination letter. “He exudes an unswerving passion for mathematics and learning as well as an energy level that establishes a dynamic classroom atmosphere with consistently high expectations. John’s expertise allows him to choose appropriate goals to pursue with his students.”
The nomination letter also detailed McAllen’s role in making Point Pleasant Borough High School a local leader in Advanced Placement Calculus achievement.
“John McAllen is personally responsible for developing our Advanced Placement Calculus program,” read the letter. “School enrollment in AP Calculus has more than quadrupled since John started teaching the class. Although our total student population is small compared to other high schools, we have the largest percentage of students taking the AP Calculus exam.”
His achievements outlined in the nomination letter, and later Mr. McAllen’s personal application, narrative and video demonstrated his content knowledge and exemplary pedagogical skills, catching the attention of decision makers on the State and then the national level.
“In December 2011, I was notified of my state finalist standing,” said John McAllen, 41, Point Pleasant. “Myself, along with the other State finalists, attended a state Board of Education meeting for recognition where we were each presented with a plaque. I hadn’t heard anything since December until Tuesday when I was driving home.”
On June 11th, McAllen was notified of his selection as New Jersey’s math teacher recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, joining 96 elite educators from across the nation as the winners of the 2011 PAEMST.
Later this month, all 97 PAEMST recipients will travel to Washington D.C. for a two-day event that will include educational and celebratory events, visits with members of Congress and the Obama administration, as well as the presentation of their awards, including a $10,000 cash prize from the National Science Foundation, to be used at the awardees’ discretion.
The award is a well-deserved affirmation for an engineer-turned-educator, a process that was facilitated by a chance encounter with former Point Pleasant High School Principal John Staryak.
“In the spring of 2000, I was working in biomedical engineering and my wife Regina was a teacher, here in the district,” McAllen said. “My parents were teachers, my wife is a teacher and I had always had a profound respect for teachers, which was what influenced me to pursue alternate route teaching certification while working as an engineer. A casual discussion with Principal Staryak turned into plans for a formal interview and I began teaching in September 2000.”
And by all accounts, it has been a remarkable 12 years, during which time McAllen increased both enrollment and achievement in Calculus, while expanding the District’s Calculus course offerings.
As advisor of the Math Club, he has recruited more students than any other high school in the county. Last year, he was named the recipient of the Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award, and now, with the PAEMST, he has solidified his standing as one of the nation's best.
“The students of Point Pleasant Borough Schools continue to achieve at extraordinarily high levels, a tribute to the dedication and commitment of our teaching staff,” said Smith.
“Point Pleasant Borough teachers have been the recipients of a multitude of local, state and national awards in recognition of their teaching excellence. It was only a matter of time before the leader of the free world, President of the United States of America, President Obama, took notice.”
Since 1983, more than 4,100 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.
Each year, the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. 


Markham Place School Holds First STEM+ Showcase


 Markham Place School held their first ever STEM+ Showcase last Wednesday afternoon.  The showcase was put together by MPS Challenge Teacher Mrs. Flynn, MPS 7th Grade Science Teacher Ms. Cusmano, and MPS Computer Teacher Mrs. Lynch.  STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Coalition. 

Students in grades 5-8 participated with more than 30 projects and 50 kids involved.  Coming to the iTunes store next week is an app developed by Louis Franco and Ethan Bateman, it is called the Interminable Quiz with 99 fun and random questions to be answered.  Franco and Bateman made up the questions did the research and fact checking and used Buzz Touch to power the app.

Nick Karris, a 7th grade student was there with his probability project.  He played the game show host, Monty Hall in “Let’s Make a Deal”.  Karris walked you through the logic and probability of winning on the show, and even if you lost made you feel like a winner by explaining how you could have won!

Eighth grade science students worked together to develop the “Candy Coaster” where they combined 3 units of study, Motion, Forces and Energy.  A crowd favorite was Shoe Switch A-Roo, developed by Grace Noglows, Mackenzie Boyle and Caroline O’Connor.  They worked with the Cobbler in town to come up with a shoe that went from a high heel to a flat in seconds.  


source: http://www.wordontheshore.com/markham-place-school-holds-first-stem-showcase-cms-1486

Harrington STEM takes to the pool

All marking period long, students in Harrington Middle School’s STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – built remotely operated vehicles (ROVs.) On a warm and thankfully sunny early June day, they put their vehicles to the test in the pool at Ramblewood Country Club in Mt. Laurel.




The friendly, in-house competition is a primer to marine work, explained teacher Maureen Barrett.

“Building the ROVs gives the students an introduction to some of the science, technology, engineering, and math required for ocean exploration. Less than 10 percent of our oceans are explored,” said Barrett. “This project may lead some of the students towards ocean-related careers.”

The New Jersey Association for Educational Technology, which paid for cameras and kits, as well as the Mt. Laurel Public Education Fund, who gave money for cameras, funded the project.

30 ROVs are produced each marking period for the Sea Perch competition.


Some of the students at the pool on Tuesday, June 5 had previously competed at the Greater Philadelphia Sea Perch Challenge at Drexel University in March, she said.

The move to Ramblewood Country Club was a first for the class.


Typically, the end of marking period competition has been held at the Burlington County School of Special Services.

“Luckily, the weather cooperated,” said Barrett.


John Goodwin, Ramblewood’s pool owner, lounged by the side of the pool all morning, observing the activities of the students.

“I think it’s tremendous,” he said, pointing out how seriously the kids enter the competition.


“It’s encouraging to see kids showing an interest in the sciences,” he added.


There were various aspects to the competition.

“One of the tasks is capping the well,” said Barrett. “There’s a piece of PVC piping in there and there’s a cap that fits loosely on top of that. It’s simulating an oil spill.”

The ROV has to go down and fix the problem.
“Another task is an obstacle course,” she said. “They have to drive through the hula hoops.”


While at the pool floor, the ROV has to retrieve a dive ring, too.


“ROVs are tethered machines,” Barrett explained. “Feeding the tether in is always something they have to be aware of. It’s not an autonomous vehicle.”

The students were given 50 feet of tethering and cameras were also attached “so they can see what the ROV is seeing.”


In the pool, swimmers helped to set up the scene and take some underwater footage with another camera.


The four student members of Team Zebracorn, a name derived from two of the members liking zebras and unicorns, tediously worked at their end of the pool.

“Apparently I’m the expert driver,” said seventh-grader Lianna Graham from her perch, to which her team members agreed.


Their ROV consisted of materials such as PVC, pool noodles and a net.


“It’s harder than we thought,” said eighth-grader Gabby DeFilippo.


The ROV was hard to move and the wires kept tangling, Gabby explained.


The wires have to be held, said seventh-grader Katelyn Johnson, to avoid the annoying tangling issue.


“It’s kinda like a puzzle,” added fellow eighth-grader Ally Wesoly, but once that puzzle was together, it was great for the team to see their hard work in action.

The ROVs are safe, said Barrett, and materials such as electrical tape, wax and monkey dung are used to waterproof them.


The competition lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.


“I teach six classes,” said Barrett. “Two classes come the first shift, then I drop them off and pick up the next.”


The STEM program is fairly new to the school.

“The district decided they wanted to add a STEM class at Harrington and Hartford and then asked for people to apply,” she said. “We had to pitch ideas if we wanted to apply.”


“I had seen this done at a conference,” she said of the project. “I thought that would be a really fun project. This is engineering at its best.”


The SeaPerch challenge turned out to be more challenging than Barrett originally imagined.


“When I created these challenges, I thought they’d be done in 30 minutes, no problem,” she said. “But, no.”


It took until the third marking period for a team to cap the well.


“They have to work together as a team, they have to communicate,” she said. “It can’t just be one person running off with the ROV.”


source: http://sj.sunne.ws/2012/06/11/harrington-stem-takes-to-the-pool/ 


Students of Princeton's Sacred Heart school win video contest


Five students at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton have a message for any girls discouraged by reports that video programming is strictly a boys-only field: “Go for it!”

That’s exactly what five eighth-graders — Julia Weingaertner of West Windsor, Sarah Lippman of Pennington, Chloe Mario of Princeton, Madeleine Lapuerta of Montgomery, and Emma Froehlich of Montgomery — did.

While none of them had any computer programming experience, the young ladies won two of the top honors in the 2012 National STEM Video Challenge.

“(Winning the award) made me feel good, because we were all so new at it,” Lippman said.

The winners were honored at Microsoft’s Celebration of Success ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., on May 21.

They were surprised to discover that the two Stuart teams were the only female representatives to win the challenge.

“All of us were shocked when we went into the auditorium,” Mario said, because they looked around and saw no other girls.

The competition was inspired by President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education by encouraging students to create video games for children aged 4 to 8. The Stuart representatives were among the 28 middle and high school students from across the United States selected as winners for their original game designs. For their efforts, Stuart will receive $4,000, which will be applied toward the school’s “22nd century learning spaces” interactive classroom program.

Brian Alspach, executive vice president and general manager of Gamestar Mechanic, which was developed and published at E-Line Media, and a presenter of the STEM Awards, said the Stuart teams were unique for another reason besides their gender.
“What is incredible is there were 3,700 entries, and the two winning teams were from the same school,” Alspach said.

Weingaertner and Lippman, both 13, designed a game called Animal Inequalities. It teaches kids the basics of “greater than” and “less than” equations by directing a shark with a mouth shaped like an inequality sign to eat a larger group of fish.

Players point the animal in the right direction using the arrow keys on a computer.

“Math has always been my favorite subject,” said Lippman, who found that developing a game centered around math skills was a fun way to motivate other children to dive into the subject. Weingaertner and Lippman chose the shark based on a lesson learned early in elementary school. A teacher had told them that the inequality sign was an animal, much like a shark.

“It seemed like a good idea for a game,” said Weingaertner.

Meanwhile, Mario, Lapuerta and Froehlich, all 14, comprised the team behind Math Racing Mania, a driving game with race cars that encourages children to solve math problems at different intersections.

“When you answer the problem (correctly,) you go through the intersection,” Froehlich said.

Lapuerta said Math Racing Mania, inspired by games such as Super Mario Kart, a Wii game enjoyed by her brother, gives players a sense of accomplishment as they advance to higher levels.

Both games have received rave reviews from technology websites such as Wired.com.
Positive feedback warms the heart of Alice Testa, a computer education teacher who inspired the class to enter the competition, despite the fact that all the students were new to the field when they began the class in January.

“What’s great about them is they gave programming a shot in class,” said Testa. “They really took on the challenge, and dove into it.”

For two months, the class brainstormed ideas, sketching designs and working with a user-friendly program called Scratch. Faced with a March deadline, the students worked through study hall periods perfecting their data.

“Girls don’t like to fail,” Testa said.

The budding programmers found a willing audience for their game when Mario’s little sister and two cousins tried out the games. Other Stuart classmates were given the opportunity to give the prototypes a test drive as well. Testa said language arts skills also came into play as the competitors crafted a 500-word essay submission detailing their endeavors.

By the end of the trimester, Testa was delighted to discover 10 games had been completed.

“I was thrilled beyond belief just to get 10 games, and then two of them won,” she said.

Alspach said the winning entries really stood out.

“The really cool thing is in both cases were the girls found a very interesting concept to anchor their game around,” said Alspach, who praised the students’ ingenuity creating not only fun games, but also games of an educational nature.

To view the winning entries, look on Testa’s blog at http://pigglit.blogspot.com/ or http://stemchallenge.or

source: http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2012/06/studentsof_princetons_sacred_h.html

Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Names 34 New Teaching Fellows In 19 States

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/04/4536941/knowles-science-teaching-foundation.html#storylink=cpy

The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation today named 34 beginning high school teachers of biology, physical science and mathematics to its 2012 cohort of Teaching Fellows.  The highly competitive five-year KSTF Teaching Fellowships, among the most comprehensive in the nation, were awarded to a diverse group of early-career teachers, including recent graduates from such top universities as Harvard, MIT and Stanford.  The new Fellows include professionals who have left fledgling careers on Wall Street and in academic research to make an impact in America's classrooms.  KSTF invests $175,000 over five years in each Fellow to ensure that high-caliber beginning teachers remain in the profession. 

"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'sDirector of Teaching Fellowships.  "The 34 new Fellows join a growing cadre of exceptional KSTFteachers whose knowledge, commitment and leadership are transforming math and science education from the inside."

Nationally, nearly half of all new teachers leave the profession within the first five years; KSTFmaintains a steady teacher retention rate of 95% over the five years of the fellowship.  At a time when the nation's economic well-being is tied closer than ever to students' success in STEM, highly-effective, experienced teachers are a rarity.  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.

"Teacher turnover is a critical problem that's hurting our students and our communities, and costing taxpayers a great deal of money," said Dr. Gillespie.  "Instead of investing in the costly cycle of constantly hiring and training new teachers, we need to invest in keeping the best of the best in the teaching profession by providing them with ongoing support and professional development."

"In order to better support students as they grow and explore the world around them, teachers need resources that extend beyond textbooks and lab supplies," said Sophie Lambert, a 2012 KSTFBiology Fellow and graduate of Stanford's Teacher Education program. The 2012 KSTF Fellows are passionate about reaching students from diverse backgrounds with real-world approaches that make math and science relevant to their students' lives and give them the confidence to succeed in high school, college and beyond.  Over the next five years, the Fellows will take part in a multi-layered fellowship program that includes professional and leadership development, teaching tools and materials, and access to a network of like-minded colleagues nationwide.  The program is explicitly designed to meet the needs of beginning teachers from the onset of the credentialing process through the critical early years of their careers, when talented STEM teachers are in the greatest danger of leaving the field. 

"At KSTF, we can work together to create a movement in which students become lovers of theSTEM field and explore careers in math and science," said Emma Vierheller, a 2012 KSTFMathematics Fellow now earning her teaching credential at Marquette University.

KSTF awarded its first four Teaching Fellowships in 2002. Today there are over 200 Teaching Fellows and alumni in 40 states.  Since the program's inception, KSTF Fellows have taught more than 150,000 students.    

To view a full list of the 2012 KSTF Teaching Fellows, click here:  http://kstf.org/programs/teaching/fellows.html

 source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/04/4536941/knowles-science-teaching-foundation.html

U.S. News Ranks Top 250 STEM High Schools

Once again, High Technology High School in New Jersey tops the list of U.S. News's Best High Schools for STEM.
The New Jersey vocational school has a knack for churning out high-performers in science, technology, engineering, and math: Over the last few years, its students have placed well at competitions sponsored by Intel and Siemens and scored an average of 2149 on the SAT, and the school has put all of its graduates into a four-year university.
This year, U.S. News has expanded its rankings to include the top 250 schools—the rankings were based on students' participation and performance on math and science Advanced Placementexams.


Schools in the Northeast and California fared better than more rural schools—Montana, Mississippi, and Arkansas failed to put any schools into the top 250.
Check out the full rankings here.

source: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/stem-education/2012/05/30/us-news-ranks-top-250-stem-high-schools

The Research & Development Council of New Jersey is committed to supporting excellence in science, technology, engineering and math 


STEM education is at a critical point in the United States. The U.S. lags behind other nations in STEM education at the elementary and secondary levels. Home to Thomas Edison and the first R&D facility in the world, New Jersey has thrived in STEM. It can continue to be a leader in STEM education and serve as a model to the rest of the country. To support New Jersey STEM education, the Research & Development Council of New Jersey is proud to launch the NewJersey STEM Database.


The New Jersey STEM Database was developed because of the R&D Council’s commitment to STEM excellence, and because the Council fully understands that to innovate, discover and achieve in STEM we must sustain the pipeline of talented individuals who fill New Jersey’s research labs and classrooms. To do so, improvements in STEM education must focus on 1) ensuring that teachers are well-equipped to educate student in STEM areas and 2) inspiring students to achieve inSTEM and to pursue careers in these fields. 


The following pages include hundreds of initiatives and programs with the goal of advancing STEM education for both students and educators. We are proud to say that many of these initiatives and programs are spearheaded and supported by the R&D Council’s members, including: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, ExxonMobil Cooperation, Rothman Institute at Fairleigh Dickinson University, GlaxoSmithKline, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, Liberty Science Center, Merck, Montclair State University, NJIT, Novartis, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, PSE&G, Roche, Rutgers University, Sabinsa, Stevens Institute of Technology and UMDNJ. 


We encourage you to share this document with students, educators, policymakers and others to ensure that all New Jerseryans are educated about the wonderfulSTEM programming taking place in and around our great state. This is a working document and we ask those who have additional programs, or edits to the current list of programs, to contact our office so that we can update our database with your information.


Download the R&D Council STEM Database here.


source: http://rdnj.org/page.php?24

Hunterdon Central is one of 14 schools in New Jersey chosen for grant program


RARITAN TWP. — Three Hunterdon Central High School teachers will learn how to better teach STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — and the school will get free access to integrative STEM curriculum, under a privately-funded grant program.
Central is one of 14 New Jersey school districts chosen to participate in the three-year STEM education project at The College of New Jersey. It’s funded by a $100,000 grant from Edison Ventures.
The teachers will work with other teachers and administrators, receiving detailed and ongoing professional development. They are design and technology teachers Michael McFadden, Kevin Mastropietro and Maria Smith.
The project, “Engineering byDesign-New Jersey Initiative,” takes place at The College of New Jersey’s School of Engineering, in conjunction with the Department of Technological Studies and The Center For Excellence in STEM Education.
There are also two research components to the program. Participants will contribute student achievement data to an ongoing national study of K-12 technology and engineering literacy and have a hand in methods of improving best practices for professional development in integrative STEM education, by way of professional learning communities.
Project director Chris Anderson said, “Compared to mathematics and science, far less effort has been made nationally to implement standardized curriculum, assessment and professional development in the fields of technology and engineering education. This project will help New Jersey schools prepare” for the state’s new Common Core Standards.
Anderson pointed out that those standards included “technology and engineering Literacy, 21st-century problem-solving skills, multidisciplinary activities, career education and career skills.”
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is to start technology and engineering assessments with eighth- and 12th-graders in 2014.
The grant program makes New Jersey the 23rd member of the International Technology & Engineering Educators Association’s Engineering byDesign Consortium of States.

Central is the only Hunterdon County district taking part in the program.