Spring Membership Meeting

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Make plan to join us in Raleigh on Saturday, April 28 for our Spring Membership Meeting

Join NCSLA

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Join today!  NCSLA is seeking new members interested in

Run for Office

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NCSLA is looking for new leaders to serve on the leadership team.  Offices up for election include President-Elect and Directors-at-Large.  The deadline for nominations is January 15.  Submit your nomination today!

Recognize a Leader

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Nominations are being sought for the Jackson Distinguished Service Award.  The award recognizes  outstanding leadership and service to science education at the district, regional, state levels and beyond. Submit a nomination.

SLFP Blog: Transformative Leadership

 Table of Contents  

Message from the President
2016 Spring Meeting
on Science and Literacy
Advocacy and
Legislative Update
Mountains to the Sea:
Rocky Mount
SLFP Blog:
Transformative Leadership
Congratulations
New Board Members

[This article is also available at EdNC.org]

It was a cool, crisp Friday evening in February. As many people headed home for a weekend respite, a cohort of nearly two dozen educators made their way from across the state to Chapel Hill, one by one pulling into the parking lot of the Carolina Center for Educational Excellence. There was a STEM lab teacher from Charlotte, Environmental Education certified teacher from the Triad, and Nationally Board Certified teachers from Durham and the Southeastern Shore. While their specialties, home school districts, and experience were different, their goal and vision was unified: advocate for excellent science educational opportunities for children in every corner of the Tar Heel state.

Over the next two years, this cohort of dedicated educators and advocates will regularly convene, building skills in leadership and establishing a network of committed individuals with the common goal of ensuring more widespread, meaningful, and rigorous science instructional experiences for the children of the Old North State.

During this first weekend, participants got to know one another and participated in various team building skills, developing the trust and connections necessary for successful advocacy work. After helping teammates cross flowing rivers of lava with construction paper stepping stones, we participated in a simulation that reinforced that although systemic change can be hard to achieve, it is possible. All it takes is a group of committed leaders with a transformative vision and the unrelenting passion to work tirelessly to achieve it, whatever it takes.

But what makes a leader, and what does transformative leadership look like? Truly great leaders are able to craft and articulate an aspirational vision, set clear goals, inspire and invest others, demonstrate integrity, recognize and celebrate others’ success, and create a stimulating work environment that is focused on the needs and interests of the collective. But how do these pieces fit together, and what elements are the most important for leading transformational change? The responses were as varied as the paths that led us to that science classroom on that February night.   One group saw all of the elements as equally important, like spokes on a wheel, to be used cyclically and continuously. Another group saw it as a sandwich, with integrity and inspiration as the bread that bookends the other elements. Yet another team broke the conversation down into things leaders do and things leaders are. Finally, fitting for a room full of science educators and advocates, one group saw effective leadership as a blossoming flower, budding atop a stem of integrity, vision, goals and communication.

PhotoGrid 1460404409414No matter how each group depicted effective leadership, one thing is clear: our students deserve a science education that empowers them as learners and leaders, and prepares them for college, careers, and citizenship in the 21st Century. Getting there will take committed, strategic leaders who are champions for all students.

We are the 2016 cohort of the North Carolina Science Leadership Association Fellows. We are Kenan Fellows, museum educators, and teachers. We have studied the oceans, written curriculum, and served on advisory boards. We have led children in building robots, starting a garden, and touching a sting ray. We know the transformative power of science education, how it can nurture the unique inquisitiveness and curiosity of childhood, and empower citizens to make decisions about public policy and elected officials. We know the challenges of providing excellent science education to all kids in our state, but we believe firmly in its possibilities. We are the leaders of today and for tomorrow, and we will not rest until our vision is a reality for all North Carolina students.  

Jess Miller2016-2018 NCSLA Science Leadership Fellow

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Congratulations to New NCSLA Board Members

 Table of Contents  

Message from the President
2016 Spring Meeting
on Science and Literacy
Advocacy and
Legislative Update
Mountains to the Sea:
Rocky Mount
SLFP Blog:
Transformative Leadership
Congratulations
New Board Members

Congratulations to the newly elected NCSLA Board members.  

Alisa B. Wickliff, President-Elect, is the Associate Director of the Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education at UNC Charlotte. She is not new to the board but is excited to step into this new leadership role for the association.

A new Director, Shawn Moore, is Acting Director of the Center for STEM Education, where he supports the STEM enterprise by participating on grant writing teams, being the Greenville Regional Director for Science Olympiad, as well as the Director for Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics at East Carolina University.

Tammy Lee is continuing as Director due to changes in board representation. Tammy is Assistant Professor in Elementary Science Education for the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education (MSITE) at East Carolina University.

The board Secretary, Carla Billups, is maintaining her current role on the board. Carla is an Elementary STEM Coach for Buncombe County Schools where she is responsible for implementing an Educational Workforce Innovation Fund grant from the Office of the Governor.

Thank you to those who answer the call to lead. Let us know as an association work to support them in their efforts to maintain the purpose of NCSLA.

Mountains to the Sea

 Table of Contents  

Message from the President
2016 Spring Meeting
on Science and Literacy
Advocacy and
Legislative Update
Mountains to the Sea:
Rocky Mount
SLFP Blog:
Transformative Leadership
Congratulations
New Board Members

STEM Innovation at Rocky Mount Middle School

Terry Whitaker is an innovative educator from Rocky Mount, North Carolina where he teaches STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at Rocky Mount Middle School in the Pitsco Lab. Terry received his bachelor's degree from Fayetteville State University in Mass Communications and collaborates with a team of teachers and administrators at Rocky Mount Middle School to build a culture that supports the focus on STEM concepts.

After teaching multiple middle grade levels for two years, Terry had a desire to begin transforming teaching and instruction inside of his own classroom. As a lead teacher of the NC State University STEM Career Club, he strives to transform instruction in his classroom to provide opportunities for at-risk students to access pathways of college and career readiness. By creating real world STEM based projects that include Webpage Design, Robotics, 3-D printing, Digital Book Design and Coding, students experience new and innovative ways to problem solve and be successful in life.

rm1STEM Career Club allows students to explore project-based learning activities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that extend the curriculum taught in the classroom and build student competency in STEM workforce skills, tools, and technology. School administrators and teachers work in teams and attend professional development to collaboratively develop plans to support and sustain the STEM Career Club. NC State’s University team members engage in STEM Career Club activities, which provide student teams with access to STEM professionals, mentoring opportunities, and activities emphasizing STEM workforce-relevant experiences. The funding for the STEM Career Club is provided by a generous grant from The National Science Foundation.

Whitaker began implementing and leading innovative practices with the help of Nash-Rocky Mount Public School and North Carolina State University officials. Terry and his team’s leadership has energized both students and RMMS teachers to break the traditional mold of instruction and has reinforced new ways of planning to bring passion and active engagement for all into the classroom.

rm2

Legislative Update

 Table of Contents  

Message from the President
2016 Spring Meeting
on Science and Literacy
Advocacy and
Legislative Update
Mountains to the Sea:
Rocky Mount
SLFP Blog:
Transformative Leadership
Congratulations
New Board Members

The advocacy committee wants to invite the membership to participate in professional development opportunities around the state and country focusing on defining advocacy, developing skills for promoting science education reform and operationalizing change in local communities and state-level organizations.

EdCamp: Various locations, see below. The “unconference” format provides a space for unique, organic discussions on topics relevant to teachers at that conference.   Edcamp Spark. Charlotte, NC. April 9, 2016. EdcampWake. Raleigh, NC. April 16, 2016. Edcamp WNC. Cullowhee, NC. April 23, 2016. Edcamp Beach. Castle Hayne, NC. April 30, 2016. Edcamp NCMA. Raleigh, NC. May 14, 2016.

NCSTA: Greensboro, NC. October 20-21, 2016. Click here to register. At the state conference of the NCSTA, we will focus on teacher-based advocacy and exploring local issues in science education.

Bridging the Gap: Raleigh, NC. October 25-26, 2016. Click here to register. This is an annual conference bringing together K-16 education in North Carolina. Advocacy presentations will include information on the NCSLA and current advocacy work.

NSTA: Los Angeles, CA. March 30–April 2, 2017. Click here to register. At the national conference of the NSTA, we will be conducting a PD session titled “Finding your Voice without Shouting: Seeking Successful Support for Science Education.” This session will include how to frame issues, use data to support positions, craft short "elevator speeches," leverage social media, and use of effective communication strategies.

advocacyADVOCACY NOW:
Advocacy is both a local and global issue. Understanding the importance and scale of our education issues and promote dialogue between teachers and policymakers. To address this need, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has developed an advocacy toolkit for teachers to provide a quality education. To access this 16 page, full color booklet online at UNESCO’s website, click here. You can also follow them online on Twitter at @UNESCO.

Submitted by Rebecca Hite
NCSLA Legislative Liaison

Message from the President

 Table of Contents  

Message from the President
2016 Spring Meeting
on Science and Literacy
Advocacy and
Legislative Update
Mountains to the Sea:
Rocky Mount
SLFP Blog:
Transformative Leadership
Congratulations
New Board Members

wayneSTEM Fatigue and Victory Lists

Like many NCSLA members, I tend to be very enthusiastic and eager to support science programs, activities, and events. In following my colleagues on Facebook it seems we are always going from one place to another in our efforts to excite teachers, parents, students, and others about science education in North Carolina.

A few examples of NCSLA member support for science education include: leading professional development for teachers; presenting at local, state, and national conferences; being event leaders or organizers for Science Olympiad, Robotics Competitions, Science and Engineering Fairs; serving on Board of Directors for science related organizations; planning the fall and spring NCSLA programs; and facilitating the NCSLA Science Leadership Fellows program.

When I reflect on my contributions to science education, I feel at times I am not doing enough to accomplish what needs to be done to significantly impact teacher practice or public support for science. At other times I feel I am trying to do too many things to get others excited and vested in teaching and learning through science.

It has been my experience when I try to do too many things related to science or STEM, I lose some of the momentum and passion I have to do what is needed to motivate myself and others to reach for the highest and strive for the best to nurture and grow science education in North Carolina. In short, I suffer from what I call “STEM Fatigue”.

From my sports background, I know about muscle fatigue, which occurs when muscles are overworked to the point where they no longer respond as quickly as they should to maintain a fast pace. STEM fatigue happens when we do not lead a balanced life and spend too much time immersed in planning, organizing, advertising, leading, attending, and supporting STEM events. Our bodies and minds, at times, need a rest.

When I have STEM fatigue and feel overwhelmed by everything that is on my plate of STEM events, I refer to my Victory List to help me rekindle the drive to lead and inspire others to be leaders in science education at the school, district, or state level.

What is a Victory List? It is simply a list of anything that reminds you of how you have excelled in the past and can do so in the future. Said in another way, it is a list of items that make you feel good about yourself. It’s been said that people who feel good about themselves produce good results. I agree. A personalized Victory List can be an instant “pick-me-up” when we all have the occasional “bad-hair” day or are suffering from STEM fatigue.

A few examples of items on the list I keep in my wallet include being an National Board Certified Teacher, serving 12 years an Officer in the United States Coast Guard, teaching physics to 1500+ students, competing in Masters Track and Field, interviewing for the NASA Astronaut Class of 2004, and being a member of NCSLA.   I also include 34 years of being happily married, two wonderful children, and quotes such as “This too shall pass!”.

If like me, you sometimes find yourself wondering if you are doing too much or too little to support science education in North Carolina, I encourage you to create and consult your Victory List to give you renewed energy to network, celebrate, support, lead, and advocate for science education in North Carolina.

 

Keep the fires burning,
Wayne Fisher – 2015-16 NCSLA President

NCSLA Tweets!

Apply for the NC Science Leadership Fellow Program! Details at https://t.co/dtKlx6q82g
RT @SusanHardy96: A line item in the new tax reform proposal could hinder STEM education https://t.co/rRdgMC8QFt via @statnews

Leadership Opportunities

NSELA provides many opportunities for members to build leadership skills and take leadership rolls that shape science education. 

Resources

NCSLA recruits and supports the development of, emerging science education leaders.  Use the following resources in the development of your own leadership skills.

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