Theme of the month

Theme of the Month

Join us each month as we focus on a topic of interest to STEM Teacher Leaders with a webinar panel, open discussion, resources and blog post. 

Discussion: Call to Action for Science Education: How Teacher Leaders Can Help

In this facilitated discussion, we will explore ways that teacher leaders can help to leverage the Call to Action for Science Education in order to make lasting change. We invite your participation! (This discussion is now closed.)


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Susan Meabh Kelly

Inclusive Partnerships to Advance Equitable Access to STEM

During the discussion component K. Renae Pullen of Caddo Parish Public Schools had brought to mind the value of teacher expertise in partnerships. This is important, as often the literature is largely oriented towards what the research experience offered teachers (one-directional benefit). Good news is that there are scientists (and education researchers) who already recognize teacher expertise and insight!

As one recent example, I have been invited by a team of Brown University geoscientists to outline this reframing of teachers' roles/positions during a panel session scheduled on December 15th: . There will be opportunity for virtual and on-site registrants to engage with scientists who share this perspective during the subsequent discussion:  Of note, the American Geophysical Union offers significant registration discounts for teachers ($50 for teachers/$0 for students):

As another example, a collaboratory has been established between university (e.g Yale, University of Massachusetts) and agency (e.g. NOAA, NASA) scientists, education researchers, and teachers. The primary focus is authentic partnerships in order to ensure scientists' broader impact/outreach activities are useful and valuable -- shifting beyond compliance. A key component of this work is for professionally diverse partners to identify areas of overlap to orient activities. To accelerate awareness, a public collection of resources has been organized: . Perhaps if more science teachers were aware of the broader impact/outreach expectation (one of the collaboratory resources) they will more likely initiate a connection with a local or regional scientist. In this way local/regional STEM alliance infrastructure can be initiated or expanded.

Also a focus of recommendation 5 in the Call to Action is a "high-quality, diverse workforce for teaching science". Needless to say, professionally recognizing and compensating teachers through broader impact activities is also a way to elevate the profession -- something that may attract people with strong STEM backgrounds to become, or continue to be, science teachers.

Sat, 10/30/2021 - 9:52 AM
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David Lockett

Call to Action for Science Education

The drive to equip students with an understanding of science is the call to action. Encouraging federal agencies, state and local governments, and others to focus resources on increasing the quality and accessibility of science education is key. Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future says science knowledge and scientific thinking are essential for democracy and the future STEM workforce, yet science education is not the national priority it needs to be. National stakeholders in science education — including business, philanthropy, and nonprofits — should coordinate their advocacy, with particular attention to addressing disparities in opportunity.


Sun, 10/31/2021 - 3:40 PM
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Susan Meabh Kelly

In reply to Call to Action for Science Education by David Lockett

Coordinating Advocacy

I agree that national stakeholders "should coordinate their advocacy" David. This is the approach the tech community has taken to advance computational thinking/computer science in K-12. Here are two sample products of the tech community's coordinated advocacy efforts: Computational Thinking Leadership Tool Kit ; CODE Advocacy Coalition.

Worthy of noting as we look to make K-12 science more prominent, the computational thinking community has recently advanced the notion that, given constraints on scheduling and number of CS-qualified teachers, computational thinking should be integrated into K-12 science classrooms in order "to reach the widest audience" .

Sun, 10/31/2021 - 7:13 PM
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Joan Harper-Neely

This is a much needed conversation!

In my local community, several school divisions do not teach science in 4th or 5th grade. Why? Because they want better test scores in reading and math. I feel for the students who love science and have to spend a year without science lessons. 

How many other school divisions have this practice? 

How can we empower and support science leaders, parents, and students who would like science offered at every level in elementary school?

Mon, 11/01/2021 - 1:34 PM
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Nancy Hopkins-Evans

In reply to This is a much needed conversation! by Joan Harper-Neely

Science for ALL Students


I totally agree with you about the lack of science instruction in too many elementary schools.  You could use the data included in the Call to Action for Science Education to have conversations with school leaders and at school board meetings.  There seems to be a misunderstanding about how science builds in a coherent manner from grades K-12 and while this is indicated within the standards ensuring that educators, parents and community leaders know and understand this is important.  As indicated in the report, it is really important that there is national recognition of the importance of science as key to our democracy, for solving current and future problems and to prepare the next generation of science literate citizens as well as those who will pursue STEM careers.  A high quality science education experience in grades K-12 is foundational and a necessary precursor.  

Mon, 11/01/2021 - 10:26 PM
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Kathy Renfrew

State of elementary science Novemember 2021

Abigail Jurist Levy wrote a blog back in the spring of 2022 putting this topic on the table . I am not sure the state of elemenetary science instruction  is any better now than then. In October, Heidi Schweingruber spoke of the Call to Action for Science and made specific reference to the new  PK-5 report on the Brilliance of Students and the Strengths of Educators  So what can we do about the current state of science instruction in the younger grades. I think we a need for a very specific Call to Action.

So as a longtime advocate for elementary science I am very excited to hear this conversation, MAYBE? bubbling up to the topl level of priority at the policy level, I am wondering what each of us can do at our local level to make this happen. For example, can I call someone in my local district and actually talk ith them about that or can I send a letter to the school committee asking that this topic be considered in their next discussion. How can I get the report in the right person's hands? How do I get my  principal to read the report and cosider it topic for discusssion?

I want to see this important topic move beyond US, beyond the choir.... How can we make this happen?  I am hoping that each member of our choir can speak about this issue with someone in their sphere of influence so that the conversation gets out the classroom and into the community.


Wed, 11/03/2021 - 9:33 AM