Academy Kicks off Science Ed Initiative with a Teachers’ SLAM

Five New York City science and math educators presented their best ideas for how to engage students in classroom science learning.

Published April 26, 2010

A public “Science Teachers’ SLAM” in February marked the kickoff of the Academy’s New York City Science Education Initiative, which was launched to help address the long decline in science performance by American students. A second event in March featured a lecture and workshop led by Sheila Tobias, the widely known science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education scholar and author, on how science teaching can evolve into an independent scientific profession.

The Science Teachers’ SLAM featured five New York City science and math educators who, in 10 minutes each, presented their best ideas for how to engage students in classroom science learning. Among the presenters, four high school educators were 2009 winners of the Fund for the City of New York Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics, which recognize high school educators who inspire young people to pursue careers in science and math. A fifth presenter was a middle school New York City Teaching Fellow.

The new initiative “aims to infuse educators with the excitement of ongoing discovery and to promote the teaching of cutting-edge science in New York City schools,” says Academy CEO Ellis Rubinstein. He adds, “We are inviting New York City science teachers into one of the premiere networks of science in order to keep them current, to allow them to build and cultivate communities, and simply to honor what they do.”

With help from the NYC Department of Education, the Academy is inviting up to 1,400 New York City science teachers to join its premiere network of scientists in order to enable science educators to assemble an organic community in which they, like other professional scientist members of the Academy, can share best practices, examine their work, and exchange innovative science education strategies. More than 700 teachers have already taken the Academy up on its offer. NYC science teachers who take advantage of the free Academy membership off er will be entitled to all benefits of Academy membership and may take part in all Academy events and gain access to all Academy publications produced by or for the Academy’s communities of scientists in various scientific disciplines. Through their participation in the Academy, educators will be able to stay current on the state of scientific knowledge and breakthrough research, and they will be able to build relationships with scientists in their fields of specialization—bonds that could yield opportunities for them and their students.

The NYC Science Education Initiative is being spearheaded by a steering committee of NYC science educators including a representative from the NYC Department of Education in collaboration with Academy staff who are establishing new tools and programs to allow science teachers to collaborate, share best practices, engage in professional networking, and discuss the direction of their profession. Through the initiative, the Academy will host regular events targeted at educators’ interests, and disseminate the content of those events online. The Academy has also launched an online calendar featuring frequently updated listings of science teaching events and resources in New York City, with an associated monthly email for science teachers. For more information on the NYC Science Education Initiative, please visit www.nyas.org/scienceeducation.