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Major Overhaul of High Schools Needed, says Governors, Business Leaders, and Educators

A major initiative to overhaul the nation’s high schools was announced last week after the two-day National Education Summit on High Schools between 45 of the nation’s governors, business leaders, and educators came to a close. Six partner foundations—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Wallace Foundation, The Prudential Foundation, and the State Farm Foundation—will fund a public-private partnership to help states create and implement policy strategies designed to improve graduation and college-readiness rates. A recent study by The Manhattan Institute on high school graduation and college-readiness rates, covering 1991 to 2002 finds that the national high school graduation rate for all public school students remained flat over the last decade, from 72 percent in 1991 to 71 percent in 2002. There is a notable disparity in the graduation rates of white and minority students: in the Class of 2002, 78 percent of white students graduated from high school with a regular diploma, compared to 56 percent of African-American students and 52 percent of Hispanic students.

At the close of summit Achieve, Inc., a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that helps states raise academic standards, announced that a group of 13 states—Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas—have agreed to form a new coalition to improve high schools.

Bill Gates delivered the opening keynote address to the 2005 National Education Summit on High Schools, which was sponsored by the National Governors Association and Achieve, Inc., in partnership with the Business Roundtable, the James B. Hunt Institute, and the Education Commission of the States. For more information, go to http://www.nga.org or http://www.achieve.org. For information on the Manhattan Institute study, go to http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ewp_08.htm.

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NSTA Names 2005 Award Recipients

NSTA proudly announces the recipients of its 2005 Teacher Awards, which recognize K–12 teachers, professors, principals, and others for their outstanding achievement in and contributions to science education. The awards will be presented to 22 individuals at a special banquet and ceremony at the NSTA National Convention in Dallas, March 31-April 3.

NSTA’s most prestigious honor, the Robert H. Carleton Award, will be presented to Harold Pratt, science education consultant and former NSTA President. Harold is being honored for his lifelong contributions to and leadership in science education at the national level and to NSTA.

NSTA congratulates all of the award winners and extends its appreciation to the sponsors for their generous support. For a complete list of winners, go to http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/nsta_story.php?news_story_ID=50278.
If you’d like to see your name on this list next year—and win a trip to the 2006 National Convention—apply for one of our many 2006 Awards. Stay tuned to NSTA Express for announcements and updates about next year’s awards program.

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Just Like Spring, New NSTA Press Books are Right Around the Corner…Here’s a Special Sneak Peek at Great New Resources!

The new Spring 2005 NSTA Recommends catalog will be in the mail shortly, but in the meantime, we’re pleased to introduce our exciting new titles for spring 2005—exclusively to readers of NSTA Express in advance of their publication dates, but available to order right now through our online Science Store at http://store.nsta.org.

Leading the list of new titles is the latest addition to our wildly popular Stop Faking it! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It series: Air, Water, & Weather joins the first five titles as the latest from author Bill Robertson.

The first two titles in a new Exemplary Science Monograph series edited by Robert E. Yager of NSES fame, make their debut this spring. Exemplary Science in Grades 9-12: Standards-Based Success Stories and Exemplary Science: Best Practices in Professional Development are expected off the presses in time for the NSTA convention in Dallas, March 31-April 3.

Exploring Ecology: 49 Ready-to-Use Activities for Grades 4-8 prepares you to lead your class into the field and gives you ideas for what to do when you get there. Anticipated publication is late March.

Now available is a new entry in our popular How to… series; it’s sure to make you a web wizard: How to…Weave the Web into K-8 Science is available now.

Other spring selections are co-published by NSTA Press: Teaching High School Science Through Inquiry: A Case Study Approach; Bringing Technology Education into K-8 Classrooms: A Guide to Curricular Resources About the Designed World; Curriculum Topic Study: Bridging the Gap Between Standards and Practice by Page Keeley; The Nature of Science and the Study of Biological Evolution; and Galapagos: An Inquiry into Biological Evolution, Student Field Log.
Click here for complete descriptions and links to these new titles: http://store.nsta.org/showMultipleItems.asp?category=62.

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What You Might Not Know about NSTA’s March 31-April 3 Dallas Convention (But that Might Help You Get Professional Development Funding to Attend)

NSTA’s 53rd national convention is an immersion in cost-effective professional development opportunities almost too numerous to name (although you actually can see an hour-by-hour list at http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2005DAL).

  • Register and arrive a day early for NSTA’s highly acclaimed Professional Development Institutes, presented by six nationally known National Science Foundation-funded partner providers. For description and session subject tracks, Go to http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=100&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.
  • Peruse the full convention agenda, and use the Personal Schedule feature to put together your day-by-day plan to further your professional skills, then download, print, and present your personal plan with your request for funding. Find it at http://www.nsta.org/pd/institute.aspxpersonal_sched_launch.asp?meeting=2005DAL.
  • The Linking Science & Literacy in the Classroom Conference for K-8 teachers on April 2 presents workshop presentations on the practical classroom applications of National Science Foundation-funded research by experts in science education, instructional materials development, school administration, and research. For a full description, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=101&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.
  • NSTA will provide professional development certification to any educator who provides documentation of participation using the form in the on-site convention program. (Participation can include presentations and/or workshops, the General Session, other featured presentations, short courses, exhibitor workshops, and exhibit hall time.)

See y’all in Dallas!

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Innovations in Science Education: The Mid-Atlantic Regional Teachers Project

Every few weeks, we feature a promising new (or not-so-new) idea, strategy, or innovative program in teaching and learning and/or science and math education that we think merits the attention of the more than 206,000 NSTA Express readers. This column is an interactive endeavor, so send your ideas of a large-scale, innovative program in science and math education to jodi_p@nsta.org. This week, learn more about a regional collaboration of education leaders from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia who are working together to better prepare, hire, and retain quality teachers. For the story, click to http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_03_07_mntc.htm.

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The Ocean System Added to American Museum of Natural History's Online Summer Course Lineup; Early Registration Discount Now Available

Are you a K-12 educator looking for graduate-level science coursework? This summer, New York's American Museum of Natural History's award-winning online professional development program, Seminars on Science, is presenting eight Standards-based courses, including a new offering The Ocean System: Integrated Science. This new course will explore the origin and evolution of the ocean, as well as its vast diversity of life and ecosystems. Other summer online courses include The Diversity of Fishes; Earth, Inside and Out; Genetics, Genomics, Genethics; In the Field with Spiders; The Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds; Sharks and Rays; and Space, Time, and Motion. Teachers taking courses will discuss current scientific ideas and classroom applications with Museum scientists and educators, and take away lesson plans and resources. Courses may be taken for up to four graduate credits.

Register before May 6 for any of the Seminars on Science courses and you'll get an "earlybird" discount; classes begin June 27. For more information, go to http://learn.amnh.org.

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Career Center-Featured Job: Principal in Arlington, VA

For more information, browse here: http://careers.nsta.org/edit_job.asp?jobid=203 (Free registration required)

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