Monday, December 17, 2012

WISH: Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars

Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your application. There will be minimal IT support for the holidays.

EXPLORE Your Dream Job

NASA wants you to become the engineers, scientists, researchers and innovators of tomorrow. The WISH project offers a one-of-a-kind experience for female high school students like you to jump start your future and explore the possibilities of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related major or career.

FIND Your Dream Job

WISH wants female high school juniors from across the country to participate in our pilot project! Your adventure starts with an online community and culminates with a summer experience at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Summer 2013.
Applicants need to be:
  • U.S. citizens
  • Current female high school juniors during the 2012-2013 school year
  • Interested and excited about STEM
  • Committed to a one-year relationship with JSC; and
  • Able to access to the Internet and email (at home, school or public library)
  • A scholar with a cumulative GPA of 3.25/4.0 or higher

CREATE Your Dream Job

  • Participate in an online community including chat sessions with subject matter experts
  • Complete online lessons covering past, present and future space exploration
  • Research about leading female STEM professionals
  • Attend the summer experience with selection based on application, participation in online activities and research, at no cost to you

The SUMMER Experience

  • Collaborate with girls from across the country on a unique design project during the summer experience at JSC
  • Work with NASA JSC engineers and co-ops/interns on the project
  • Present your mission to NASA personnel and community leaders

START Your Dream Job HERE

Download the WISH Flyer

To participate in this NASA experience, email, or visit

3rd Science and Engineering Festival

Calling All Exhibitors….

Exhibitor applications are now being accepted for the 3rd Festival! Don’t miss out on our Early Bird Special! We invite you to celebrate science at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest celebration of science and engineering in the United States! The 3rd Science Festival will kick off with nationwide school programs, contests…

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Preparing Students to Outrace Robots

Reposted from NYTimes BITS:

Eric Schmidt: How We Outrace the Robots

At the DealBook conference today in Manhattan, I asked the executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, where in the world the jobs for a great many people will be. His advice: We have to learn how to “outrace the robots.”
“Given the trends of globalization, automation and demographics, there will definitely be a small number of people who will be very prosperous,” said Mr. Schmidt. The challenge is to let as many people into that class as possible, and even more important, get masses of people educated to a level where they can qualify for work in the new businesses these people create.
Mr. Schmidt was speaking in an interview after appearing onstage at the New York Times DealBook conference. Earlier he, along with Mike Moritz, a partner in the Sequoia Capital venture capital firm, and Clara Shih, the founder of Hearsay Social, discussed how cloud computing’s access to a nearly limitless amount of knowledge and a borderless consumer base would create great fortunes.
Throw in robotics, 3-D printing, and faster telecommunications, and things get tougher for the average worker. Robots may hollow out the factories in China, which count on cheap human labor, and bring manufacturing back to the United States. Those machines will need people to service them, and those people will need to be reasonably skilled.
Jobs like that are likely to be well worth having. But who says those robot operators have to be United States-based, just because the machines are? In a world like that, I asked Mr. Schmidt, what are the chances that the United States can expect to have unemployment of 6 percent or even lower?
“I don’t think anyone can say the answer, but we can state the risks,” Mr. Schmidt said. “The way to combat it is education, which has to work for everyone, regardless of race or gender. You’ll have global competition for all kinds of jobs.”
Understanding this, he said, should be America’s “Sputnik moment,” which like that 1957 Russian satellite launch gives the nation a new urgency about education in math and science. “The president could say that in five years he wants the level of analytic education in this country – STEM education in science, technology, engineering and math, or economics and statistics – has to be at a level of the best Asian countries.”
Asian nations, Mr. Schmidt said, are probably going to proceed with their own increases in analytic education. “Employment is going to be a global problem, not a U.S. one,” he said.
Can we really outrun the robots, though? Mr. Schmidt cited the so-called “Flynn effect,” which notes that human intelligence appears to have risen on a sustained basis for several decades, possibly because people now live in more stimulating environments.
“The issue is, can you get the Flynn effect, plus education, to outrun the robots?” said Mr. Schmidt, who because of Google is a billionaire, and confessed his own self-interest in the matter.
“I am acutely aware that my economic and personal success depends on having a great number of customers and educated employees,” he said. It also matters that he has a stable world, without too many economic and political dislocations caused by our technology revolution.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Invitation: GreenSTEM - NOVA Outside Networking and Professional Development

Interested in developing GreenSTEM?
Get Connected with Environmental Educators in Northern Virginia with NoVA Outside!

NoVA Outside Networking and Professional Development Event for Environmental Educators - Friday January 25

Guest Speaker: Vince Meldrum - Vice President of EarthEcho International

Register now at

When: Friday January 25, 2013

Time: 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

1952 Gallows Road
3rd floor conference room
Vienna, VA

This event will include:
  • NoVA Outside’s business meeting to shape the future of this soon-to-be 501C3
  • Discussion of NoVA Outside's 2013 events for students and educators
  • Networking lunch
  • Guest Speaker: Vince Meldrum, Vice President of EarthEcho International talks about organization development and fundraising
  • This will be the first of four quarterly NoVA Outside networking events

Early bird registration - now thru Jan 11th

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Governor McDonnell Announces Measures to Empower Our Excellent Teachers in Virginia

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Bob McDonnell

December 13, 2012

Contact: Jeff Caldwell

Governor McDonnell Announces Measures to Empower Our Excellent Teachers in Virginia
Calls for 2 Percent Pay Increase for All Teachers – First in 5 Years; Incentives for Teachers in STEM-H Subjects, Strategic Compensation Grants for Teachers, and other Measures to Recruit, Retain and Reward Excellent Teachers
-Part 1 of Governor’s ALL STUDENTS K-12 Legislative Agenda-

RICHMOND – Today, Governor Bob McDonnell joined Delegate Kirk Cox and former Secretary of Education Jim Dyke, leaders from the Virginia School Boards Association, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals and key business leaders to announce part one of his 2013 K-12 education reform legislative agenda.

Speaking about the legislative and budget proposals announced today, Governor McDonnell said, “A good teacher makes the single largest difference in instilling a thirst for education in our young people. We must do everything we can to recruit, retain and reward excellent teachers in Virginia. Teachers are the most valuable resources we have to ensure a prosperous future in the Commonwealth. Today, I put forward several important proposals to promote the teaching profession in Virginia. In putting together this proposal, we sought input from teachers, parents, the Virginia School Boards Association, Virginia Education Association, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Professional Educators, the Virginia PTA and many others.

“Virginia’s teachers are underpaid. Everyone knows a teacher who has stayed after school, worked with students during their lunch break and on weekends, and devoted all of their energy to making sure their students have every possible chance to learn. My sister is one of them. They have not had a pay increase since 2007. I will propose in my budget amendments a 2 percent pay increase for all of Virginia’s teachers. In addition, I will be asking the General Assembly to approve a total of $808,000 in incentive money to recruit and retain teachers in STEM-H subjects in middle and high school. Coupled with proposals to advance professional development and continue our focus on excellent teaching, these measures will further elevate the teaching profession in Virginia and help ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn from the best possible teachers.”

“Governor McDonnell has a great understanding of the importance of providing every child in our Commonwealth with a world-class education,” said Amanda Gibson, teacher at Salem City Schools in Salem, Virginia. “As a teacher that works with children on a daily basis, I see firsthand how children are the greatest resources we have for the future of our great Commonwealth and personally applaud Governor McDonnell’s work to ensure that all children have access to a world-class education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

“Today's announcement demonstrates the governor's unwavering passion for rewarding our best teachers,” said Secretary of Education Laura Fornash. “The Educator Fairness Act provides much-needed clarity around the role that the performance evaluation plays when it comes to a teacher’s ability to impact our students. Our most effective teachers should be rewarded, and those teachers experiencing challenges will be provided the necessary feedback with the goal of improving outcomes for all students. These efforts will only enhance our students’ ability to be prepared for the top jobs of the 21st Century.”

“Education is the single most important factor in determining a child’s success. All students deserve access to a quality education and an excellent teacher,” said House Majority Leader and former teacher, Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonia Heights). “Today’s agenda advances the professionalism of Virginia’s teachers and recognizes the critical role of educators throughout the Commonwealth.”

Former Virginia Secretary of Education Jim Dyke said, “Every student deserves an excellent teacher. Excellent teachers result from quality preparation, constructive evaluations and continuing professional development. These proposals move us aggressively toward a pathway to success. Students must have our bipartisan support to make that pathway a reality.”

Virginia Association of School Superintendents incoming president Pat Russo said, “Many Virginia teachers have worked without state-supported salary increases for more than four years, watching their paychecks shrink in the face of increasing health insurance costs and higher retirement premiums. This state-funded initiative begins to remedy that problem and we are pleased to hear the announcement.”

            Mrs. Deborah Frazier, principal of Harrison Road Elementary School in Spotsylvania County and president of the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals said, “VAESP is especially delighted to see that mentoring is recognized as a valuable and critical ingredient in the success of principals in their first essential years. We feel that principals typically operate as lone decision makers on many issues in their schools and are often in search of peers who could offer insight and wisdom in solving problems. Mentoring programs are highly effective and cost-effective ways to reinforce and extend the novice principals’ academic preparation, close possible gaps in training, and share best practices between novice and veteran principals.”

            Keith Perrigan, principal at Patrick Henry High School in Washington County said, “The Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals stands with the governor in expressing our support for a legislative plan that maintains respect for continuing contract status for instructional personnel, recognizes the need to retain the best teachers for our students and streamlines the procedure for dismissal of ineffective teachers. Our association supports professionals being afforded fair but expedited due process procedures in decisions that affect employment and reputation.”

On behalf of the Virginia Association of School Boards, John Lumpkins said, “The governor's proposal allows time for a teacher to demonstrate appropriate student academic progress.  This extended period is a huge positive for the teaching profession.  It will raise the quality of Virginia’s teachers by ensuring a thorough and rigorous evaluation process based upon a review of a larger and more valid data set before a division makes the decision to grant a teacher a continuing contract or to separate the teacher from employment.”

“To be competitive in a global economy, Virginia’s educational system must prepare students to meet the critical workforce needs of businesses in the future,” said Ned Massee, chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “An essential component to having a well-trained workforce is quality teachers. The governor’s ‘All Students’ agenda is important for developing a workforce that can compete in the 21st Century economy.”

“The VirginiaPTA is encouraged by the governor's newly released K-12 initiatives,” said Anne Carson, president of VirginiaPTA. “We support the empowerment of teachers as they remain committed to the success of students across the Commonwealth.”

ALL STUDENTS: Empowering Excellent Teachers

2% SALARY INCREASE FOR VIRGINIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS: Governor McDonnell will propose $58.7 million in FY 2014 to support state share of cost equivalent to a 2 percent salary increase for funded SOQ instructional positions, effective July 1, 2013.
·         Includes teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, instructional aides, principals, and assistant principals. Participation is optional but requires a local match in order to receive the state funding.
·         Salary increase is contingent on passage of the Educator Fairness Act.
·         Last state-supported salary increase for public school employees occurred in FY 2008, with a 3 percent increase for all positions, effective on December 1, 2007.

STEM-H INCENTIVES: Governor McDonnell’s proposal includes $808,000 to attract, recruit, and retain high-quality individuals to teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM-H) subjects in Virginia’s middle and high schools.
·         Successful teachers selected to participate in the pilot program will be eligible to receive a $5,000 initial incentive award after the completion of the first year of teaching with a satisfactory performance evaluation and a contract for the following year.
·         An additional $1,000 incentive award may be granted for each year the eligible teacher receives a satisfactory evaluation and teaches middle education 6-8 mathematics, mathematics-algebra I, mathematics, middle education 6-8 science, biology, chemistry, earth and space science, physics, and technology education for up to three years in a middle or high school in a Virginia school division. 

STRATEGIC COMPENSATION GRANT INITIATIVE: Governor McDonnell will propose $15 million to award competitive grants to school divisions for the design and implementation of compensation systems for teachers that provide incentives that are tailored to each participating school division’s strategic goals and objectives. 
·         The grants would allow school divisions to award incentive payments to effective teachers who meet the school division’s strategic compensation criteria, or to reward effective teacher leaders assuming additional responsibilities or priority assignments.  For example, the grants could reward teachers who help students make significant academic progress; reward teacher leaders assuming additional responsibilities, such serving as teacher mentors; pay incentives to effective teachers with needed expertise willing to transfer to hard-to-staff or low-performing schools; or reward effective teachers who are assigned to teach critical shortage areas, such as mathematics and special education.
·         The proposed Strategic Compensation Grants Initiative would provide incentive grants to approximately 3,000 teachers. 

EDUCATOR FAIRNESS ACT: Excellent educators in Virginia provide students a world-class education. We must do more to reward and recognize those excellent educators.
·         The Educator Fairness Act will extend the probationary window for teachers from 3 to 5 years to allow for a much more thoughtful examination and development of those teachers being awarded continuing contract status. 
·         Further, this legislation will provide for a definition of incompetence to include one or more unsatisfactory performance evaluations and will define the relationship between the evaluation and the contract. 
·         Educators overwhelmingly submit the need for grievance reform. This act will streamline the grievance procedure and will allow for an expedited decision to inform the teacher of the final outcome.

 Executive Order to establish the Virginia Teacher Cabinet. This advisory group will directly advise the Governor, Secretary of Education and State Board of Education on all issues related to the teaching profession.
·         The Teacher Cabinet will be comprised of teachers from each superintendent region of the Commonwealth.
·         The Virginia Teacher of the Year will serve in an ex-officio role on the cabinet.
·         The cabinet will provide an annual report to the governor on the “State of Teaching in Virginia.”

GOVERNOR'S CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING: Governor McDonnell will propose to establish the Governor’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and the Governor’s Academies for Excellent Teaching.
·         The Virginia Department of Education will partner with one Institution of Higher Education (IHE) to establish summer Academies for Excellence in Teaching for exemplary teachers in Kindergarten through Grade 12.  The academies will be designed to improve and expand the quality of instruction and enhance enthusiasm for teaching. Successful completion of an academy will include graduate course credit in educational policy and instructional leadership. 
·         The Governor’s Academies for Excellent Teaching will provide professional development opportunities for exemplary teachers seeking to improve their instruction, knowledge of educational policy, and capacity to provide instructional leadership.
·         The residential summer program will be offered as a five-day summer residential academy with five follow-up Saturday meetings, for a total of 80 instructional hours, including five credits in educational policy and instructional leadership.

ABOUT ALL STUDENTS: The ALL STUDENTS initiative is about bringing attention to the critical role K-12 education plays in our communities and our economy. We must be willing to consider strategies and structures that have been proven to address the achievement gap that continues to exist in the Commonwealth. We have a responsibility to ensure graduation rates rise and the rigor of our classroom challenges ALL STUDENTS. We have a responsibility to measure results and attainment by embedding innovation in our education system. We have a responsibility to ensure ALL STUDENTS have the opportunity to learn. I encourage you to take a few minutes and visit www.ALLSTUDENTS.Virginia.Gov.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Challenging recent education initiatives

Excerpts of Lisa Nielsen's guest post on SmartBlog on Education:

Schools are missing the boat when it comes to addressing the problem of preparing students to recapture America’s leadership in producing scientists, inventors, engineers, programmers and more through STEM initiatives. The answer has little to do with more teachers, more common graduation requirements, more tests or more school as our policymakers and corporations who stand to profit off this have suggested.
Instead, if we listen to what the experts in these fields are telling us we discover that when it comes to producing successful STEM graduates, the key lies in the adage “less is more.”
Five lessons from STEM experts
1) Less common requirements/more specialty paths. As the common core standards come to schools there is a danger of requiring students to demonstrate competency in the same bloated, one-size-fits-all curriculum rather than giving students a choice of areas on which to concentrate. Specialty paths should be offered for students who want to focus deeply on that which they are interested. Students should not be penalized for not choosing to study or not thriving in areas that are not in alignment with their pursuits.
2) Less school/more real-world opportunities. You rarely hear of scientists lauding brick, mortar and fluorescent lights as optimal environments for discovery, creativity or invention. If we want to foster success in those pursuing STEM careers, we can support students in leaving the day-to-day of school and learning through authentic apprenticeship, lab or work opportunities. Schools like Big Picture allow students two days per week to learn in the world and have tremendous success in producing graduates who move on to the college or career of their choice.
3) Less memorization/more exploration. We often confuse the memorization of facts with learning so it’s no wonder that after years of memorizing facts about science, math and other subjects, high school students often have little knowledge of any of these topics. Memorizing algorithms or the periodic chart does not help most learners acquire the foundation necessary for success in STEM-related fields. Exploration does.
4) Less medicating/more options. It’s not unusual for those passionate about STEM-related pursuits to be considered school misfits. To address this, rather than providing youth with additional options, more and more young people are being medicated. If we want to foster creativity and invention, before turning to medication, we must consider alternate options for children who want, need and demand a non-traditional setting where they can have access to technology (rather than be banned) and pursue extended independent studies rather than those driven by bells and birth dates.
5) Less testing and textbooks/more making and learning from real experts. Along with common core comes the multibillion-dollar common testing and textbook industry. More tests and textbooks that are more rigorous do not lead to more scientists and engineers who are more prepared. Instead, testing and textbooks suck the fun and passion out of learning. Instead give students more opportunities to do and make with real-world experiences or programs like Maker Faire.
If our nation is to produce more citizens successful in science, technology, engineering and math, we must stop listening to politicians and corporations and start taking our lessons from the experts in those fields. When we do that, we can see that with less common requirements, less testing, less memorization, less medicating, and less school, we will have more students ready for success in the fields we desire.
Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997 and is the author of “Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones to Enhance Learning” and The Innovative Educator blog.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Engaging Elementary Students in STEM

The December issue of Children's Technology and Engineering
Core Connections: Science
Article: Engaging Elementary Students (Two Examples of Integrating Science and Engineering in the Classroom)
Activity: What Lives in Your Neighborhood?
Quick Activity: Atmospheric Pressure: The Unseen Force
Books to Briefs: Core Connections to Science
Design Squad Nation's "Power Paddle" Hands-on Challenge
Resources, Funding Solutions, Career Connections, The Space Place, and more!
Children's Technology and Engineering: A Journal for Elementary School Technology and Engineering Education is available electronically for only $30/year. Children's Council of ITEEA members receive a complimentary copy. For subscription information, contact
To join ITEEA, go to How to Join/Renew.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Einstein Fellows Applications Due December 5

Einstein Fellowship Applications Due this Wednesday! 

Deadline to Apply - 11:00 pm (EST) on December 5, 2012

Are you an educator wanting to help impact national STEM education programs and policies? Would you like to spend next school year working in DC among a cohort of like-minded leaders? Current K-12 STEM educators with a demonstrated excellence in teaching and leadership are encouraged to apply for the 2013-14 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program!

Selected teachers will spend 11 months in Washington, DC providing a professional educator's perspective on STEM policies and programs. Einstein Fellows may serve in a Congressional office or in a government agency such as the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  Fellows receive a competitive monthly stipend and an allowance for professional travel and relocation.

The goal of the Einstein Fellowship program is to inform national policy and improve communication between the K-12 STEM education community and national leaders. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, be currently employed full time in a public or private elementary or secondary school or school district, and must have been teaching in one or more STEM fields full time for at least five of the last seven years. The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education administers the program for the Department of Energy Office of Science in partnership with the other participating federal agencies.

To apply or to learn more about the program, visit Applications for the 2013-14 fellowship are due by 11:00 pm (EST) on December 5, 2012.

Share this opportunity with a teacher you know!

Virginia Space Grant Consortium 2013–2014 Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities

Virginia Space Grant Consortium Announces
2013–2014 Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities!

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is pleased to announce the 2013-2014 Scholarship and Fellowship Program.  Each academic year the VSGC awards over $300,000 in scholarships and fellowships to students attending Virginia Space Grant member institutions and majoring in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field.

The Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program provides a one-year scholarship of up to $8,500 to support undergraduate students actively engaged in a research project with a faculty mentor.

The Graduate STEM Research Fellowship Program provides $5,000 in support to graduate students actively engaged in a research project with a faculty mentor.  The Graduate Fellowship is add-on support for students and is renewable for one year.

Research proposals from students majoring in any STEM field and working on a project that supports NASA’s mission are welcomed.  VSGC can assist students and faculty in identifying appropriate research projects.  Please see our website for details.

The STEM Bridge Scholarship Program provides $1,000 renewable awards to sophomore students from any federally recognized minority group enrolled full-time in a program of study in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) at one of the five Virginia Space Grant member universities.

The VSGC is especially seeking applications from underrepresented minorities, females, and persons with disabilities.  Complete program information including student eligibility and a link to the online application are available at:  

If you require further program information or additional copies of any flyers please contact me or Denice Dublin, VSGC Program and Development Specialist, or  (757) 766-5210.

Home-Made RADAR

Technology Today Newsletter Project Idea
IEEE Spectrum Magazine
Student Project Video– How to Build a Coffee Can Radar

At we often come across technology projects, topics, and other materials that should be shared within the CTE community. This video that shows you how you can build a coffee can radar  needs to be shared.

student built radar LoRes.jpg

Links to Columns by Tech Area:

Project-Based Thinking in Language Instruction

Free Webinar: Securing Private Funds for New Programs

Join us on December 5, 2012 at 1:30pm ET and learn:
  • Why a project-based approach is critical
  • How to define your project
  • How to identify potential resources
  • How to structure your proposal
Grant expert Deb Ward will share information on grant funding, and you’ll hear how other educators funded their language-learning programs.
The first 100 people that register and attend the full webinar will receive a copy of Deb’s latest book “Writing Grant Proposals That Win”! Register now.
Regards,The Rosetta Stone Education Team
T: (800) 811-2819