The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference was held March 30 to April 3rd in Nashville, TN. Dr. Kama Almasi, Science Teacher at Waldport High School submit two abstracts highlighting the collaborative work of many teachers in the school district. The abstracts were accepted over many presentation proposals and five teachers were able to attend. Dr. Almasi and Melissa Steinman of Waldport High School spoke about the importance and impact of community partnerships on student achievement and educational opportunities.
Highlighting the 16 community partners participating in the Career and Technical Education Revitalization Grant, Almasi and Steinman encouraged other science teachers to engage their students in the process of identifying the needs of their communities and to build relationships with community partners. This pairing of student with mentor leads to learning opportunities beyond the capacity of frequently underfunded school systems while leveraging the high quality core instruction for the benefit of the community partner. “The process of reaching out to experts outside of your area of expertise can be scary,” says Dr. Almasi, “but most people want their life work to be valued and have purpose. By reaching out, you are letting them know that their work is valued.”
The second presentation highlighted project based learning at different grade levels across the district. Engineering Remotely Operated Vehicles for Three Dimensional Learning gave teachers an idea of how to use a project to meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Three Dimensions of Learning: Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross Cutting Concepts. The Remotely Operated Vehicle project which is supported by the Oregon Coast STEM Hub allows teachers to engage students in a challenging engineering project while being adaptable to the needs of many student communities.
Katie Sard of Newport High School, Kara Allen of Taft Elementary, Dr. Kama Almasi and Melissa Steinman of Waldport High School gave their perspective on the strengths and challenges of the project and the impact it had on their students. The highlight of the conference for the team of Lincoln County teachers happened after the presentation when an audience member exclaimed “You are all very inspiring!” The ROV project and the teachers attendance at this conference was supported by Math Science Partnership Grant, CTE Revitilization Grant, Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund and Lincoln County School District.
Information and photos provided by Melissa Steinman