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Immediate Changes to Science Education Necessary, Says New Report

“If America is to sustain its international competitiveness, its national security, and the quality of life for its citizens, then it must move quickly to achieve significant improvements in the participation of all students in mathematics and science,” begins a report issued on February 16 by the Business-Higher Education Forum titled A Commitment to America’s Future: Responding to the Crisis in Mathematics and Science Education. The report calls for business, higher education, and policy leaders to organize and implement a nationwide plan that addresses the quality of the mathematics and science education provided to all students, "in collaboration with classroom teachers and school administrators and taking advantage of the promising work they have already initiated.” Read more at http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_02_22_bhef.htm.

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New NSTA Standards-Based Service Will Assess School’s Science Instruction Program; Provide Recommendations

NSTA is putting the finishing touches on a new professional development initiative that will soon be available to help teachers and administrators evaluate—then strengthen—the science instruction being provided to their students. The NSTA Science Program Improvement Review (SPIR) is a standards-based strategy that culminates in a comprehensive written assessment of a school’s science instructional program as well as recommendations for improvement as needed.

NSTA’s SPIR program is designed to assess a school’s complete science instructional program across all grade levels. NSTA-trained SPIR facilitators will work with the school’s teachers and administrators to align the science instruction more closely to the standards for teaching, professional development, assessment, content, and program. The first SPIR facilitator teams are expected to be in the field this fall, after completing the intern phase of their training and certification program. For additional information, go to http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_02_22_spir.htm. Schools interested in learning more about SPIR, are invited to fill out the short inquiry form http://science.nsta.org/survey_spir or contact Amy Bluestein at Amy_b@nsta.org or by calling 703-312-9227.

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NSTA’s 53rd National Convention, March 31-April 3 in Dallas: Ten Reasons You’ll Want to Register NOW!

1. 1,200+ plus presentations and workshops within strands highlighting today’s most pressing classroom issues: Biomedical/Biotechnology, Technology Showcase, Assessment, and Safety. Browse the agenda and use the personal scheduler at http://www.nsta.org/pd/institute.aspxpersonal_sched_launch.asp?meeting=2005DAL to set up your hour-by-hour convention schedule.

2. Fabulous featured speakers—our keynote speakers are cutting-edge medical researchers, Nobel laureates, FBI terrorism experts, nationally recognized education analysts—and more. Go to http://science.nsta.org/2005dal/advance_program.asp to read about these notables and their topics in the advance program.

3. March 4 Advance Registration deadline to register at a reduced fee; go to http://www.nsta.org/main/conventions/convention_intro.php?Meeting_Code=2005DAL. March 4 deadline to register for Linking Science & Literacy in the Classroom NSTA/NSF April 2 Conference-within-the-Convention; read all about it when you go to http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=101&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.

4. March 1 deadline for going “the cheapest route” for hotels; check out special deals for airline transportation too, at http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=98&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.

5. Professional Development Institutes as only NSTA can offer them: Come early for the March 30 start. Continue your journey during the Convention under the guidance of six well-known national professional development providers. For information, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=100&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.

6. 51—count ‘em—51 Short Courses—from three hours to a full day, provide in-depth investigation into a wide variety of topics. Included are always popular NSTA/NASA Symposia plus three new short courses by authors of best-selling NSTA Press books. For more on the NSTA events, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=102&Meeting_Code=2005DAL; for the entire menu of short courses, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=104&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.

7. NSTA’s Exposition of Science Teaching Materials presents hundreds of exhibitors and workshops with the latest and greatest products and services…from butterflies to online courses to NSTA’s Science Store for books and more! To get a feel for the excitement, take a quick video tour of 2004’s Exhibit Hall, click here http://ts1.nsta.org:8080/ramgen/Atlanta2004.rm?usehostname.

8. You’ll feel welcome with planned events for preservice teachers, new teachers, new NSTA members, first-time attendees, and many more special groups. Check your advance program or search the sessions online at http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.

9. NSTA will raffle off a 2005 Prius donated by Toyota! Tickets for the drawing will be sold at the Dallas Convention Center, March 31-April 3 (until 10 a.m.).

10. …And a jam-packed agenda of sessions, social events, field trips, and old-fashioned peer networking certain to send you back to your classroom energized, excited, informed, and motivated! Come for the full convention, or take advantage of special one-day-only or last-day-only registration rates.

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Preservice Teachers Experience the Power of NSTA Student Chapter Involvement

Much of the success of NSTA’s student chapter program is due to the growing amount of collaborative events among chapters and chapter leadership opportunities, which creates a rich mix of professional activities. For example, members of eight NSTA Student Chapters, consisting of 80 preservice teachers and faculty members, throughout the Midwest conducted a virtual workshop as a means to collaborate and share ideas. The live virtual broadcast also served as a wonderful demonstration of how technology can be used in the classroom. “Through their chapter activities, preservice science teachers could be better prepared for the transition to the science classroom,” noted NSTA Executive Director Gerry Wheeler. For the complete story, visit http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_02_22_studentarticle.htm.

NSTA also selected Elegan Lee, a third-year science education student at the University of Missouri-Columbia and member of the University of Missouri—Columbia NSTA student chapter as the first Preservice Teacher Member of NSTA’s Teacher Preparation Committee. This marks the first time a student has served in a leadership role on an NSTA committee. For more details, visit http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_02_22_press.htm.

Student chapter involvement, such as those mentioned above, can make a difference for preservice science teachers preparing for the classroom. For more information about starting an NSTA Student Chapter at your college or university, download the Student Chapter Procedures Manual (http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/student.pdf) or visit http://www.nsta.org/studentchapters.

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