This year I was fortunate enough to be selected for the first ever OKMath-OKSci Leadership Academy, sponsored by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. So far, the group of 44 math and science educators has met for three weekend retreats to focus on creativity and innovation, leadership and educational philosophies, and professional growth. But this is not just a discussion group; we are very much an action group. The goal is to advance math and science instruction in the state through leadership development.
Each member of the academy is required to complete a Keystone project during the year, and our year is passing much too quickly! There are several groups of academy members working on projects, but many are completing individual projects as well. One group of math educators is planning regional professional development training opportunities for next year. They’re soliciting sponsorships and partnerships with a variety of organizations. Other groups are working on promoting STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) education and problem-based learning strategies in science. Individual projects include advocacy of safety training for science teachers and a marketing campaign to promote the teaching profession (Teach Like Me), among others.
I am working with a group of five others on creating a web site for Oklahoma Science Teachers, where we can house resources. It’s modeled after the web site recently created by Oklahoma Math Teachers (nothing like a little friendly competition between teachers, right?). With new state science standards coming out this year, we anticipate that science teachers will be searching for resources and lesson plans to help them satisfy the new standards.
Our goal is to take some of the stress off of science teachers, while providing quality resources. Before it’s over, we hope to have vetted lesson plans posted that will satisfy each standard for each grade level and subject. It’s a huge undertaking, and will involve convening a group of science teachers from across the state for a summer workshop to write, recommend and/or evaluate proposed lessons.
For now we’re working on some blog posts, and I’m busy trying to figure out how to create podcasts from telephone interviews and edit them for iTunes. It’s a challenge, but I’ve never been one to shy away from new learning challenges. Look for more content on our web site soon, and keep your fingers crossed that I get this Skype to Pamela to Audacity thing figured out!