“We congratulate these excellent teachers, and their students, for meeting the Science Super Star Challenge requirements which included completion of science experiments, reading and writing assignments with a science content focus, participating professional development, and making use of CRS science support services,” said CRS Executive Director Teresa Barnett. “These teachers are helping to make science come alive for their eager students.”
Recent studies have confirmed that science has become a lost subject in many elementary classrooms due to the pressures of standardized testing and a lack of resources for training teachers. CRS works with nearly 900 teachers in 92 East Bay schools to promote and support high quality science teaching, including sending hundreds of scientists into local classrooms each year to do science activities with students.
CRS launched the Science Super Star Challenge in Fall 2011 to motivate and reward teachers who overcome challenges and find creative ways to include science learning experiences in their classrooms.
“The Science Super Star program initiated by CRS this year was a wonderful galvanizing tool for the staff at my school,” says PLACE@Prescott lead science teacher Lorraine Mann. “We all jumped into the challenge, and the result was a huge increase in the amount and quality of science education offered to students at every grade level this year.”
In addition to Mann, the other teachers honored at PLACE are: Cicely Day, Constance Cobb-Zunino, Linda Fox, Soraya Brooks, Adriana Guadarrama, Zerita Sharp, and Janina Brown.
“Science is the hook that gets my students excited about school,” explains Mann. “I can tie it to all other curricular areas -- students are much more willing to work hard on writing, math,
art, and reading when the work is teaching them about the world around them. I know that the world NEEDS scientists who view it through all different cultural lenses. My African American, Yemeni, Latino, and Cambodian scientists, boys and girls, will enrich our country with
their own unique perspectives on scientific inquiry. I know that early science education will be the ticket to a better future for many of my students. It will get them into college, it will make them look and sound better in job interviews, it will give them the knowledge they need to make sense of the world and to stand tall in the face of difficult circumstances.”
In the individual teacher category, CRS is pleased to recognize the following teachers and their students as 2011-12 Science Super Stars, for excellence in science education:
Kristine Fowler, Berkeley Arts Magnet
Anna Henry, Crocker Highlands Elementary, Oakland
Allison McGuirk, Lincoln Elementary, Oakland
Ashley Rockett, Grass Valley Elementary, Oakland
Betty Yee, Lincoln Elementary, Oakland
Each of these teachers met the challenge of completing hands-on science activities, participating in in-class or field trip science experiences, teacher professional development, student reading and writing assignments that incorporated science content, and use of CRS science support services. They provided documentation of student learning that included photos, science journal entries, and other samples of critical thinking in action in these classrooms.
Awards for the winning teachers include an assortment of prizes ranging from in-school science assembly presentations, classroom science book sets, a science-related book for each student, Flip cams, museum passes, science activity kits, and more, to keep the science learning going.
“We are particularly pleased to see the focus in Oakland schools on the importance of science,” says Barnett. “The whole district is stepping up efforts to include more science teaching and learning, and we’re delighted to honor these teachers who represent the success of that effort.”
"We are focusing on the connection between science learning and literacy, between science learning and critical thinking," explains Claudio Vargas, OUSD Elementary Science Coordinator. "We want to see effective integration of science and literacy, because high quality science includes both hands-on activities and activities such as writing, reading, and presentations which allow students to make meaning from the hands-on experiences."
Prizes were contributed by CRS partner organizations including: East Bay Regional Parks, Cal Academy of Science, Exploratorium, Rock Steady Juggling, in partnership with StopWaste.org, Treehouse Green Gifts, Fulcrum Publishing, Dawn Publications, and Nomad Press.
Teresa Barnett, Executive Director
510- 527 5212
Additional photo and video available on request