Press Release

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Selected to Collaborate with NASA In Educator Professional Development

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2012
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CONCORD, NH – The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center has been selected by NASA’s Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP) to participate as a member in a newly created alliance designed to provide professional development for educators, 10 days before the start of Discovery Center’s Stellar Science Symposium for Educators.

The new NASA-AESP Professional Development Alliance, administered by Penn State University for NASA, consists of a select group of high-quality professional development providers. The goal of the alliance is to improve education in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines through collaborations that identify and serve appropriate audiences, providing them with sustained access to NASA resources and assets.

Member organizations collaborate with NASA Education, the space agency’s education wing, to design and deliver ongoing professional development activities that can improve teaching and learning. Each member works with a NASA education specialist to build a strategic plan to bring resources to educators in their region. Activities are customized to match the professional development needs for teachers in any local area.

Members also have opportunities to work with NASA’s Education and Public Outreach groups to participate in various NASA events, such as piloting training of new classroom resources, or celebrations of NASA mission milestones like the launch of a new mission or one reaching its destination. In addition, members have a forum to discuss issues in STEM teacher professional development across their organizations.

Membership in the alliance is by invitation to organizations that provide professional development to STEM educators and who have had previous successful collaborations with NASA Education. The alliance currently has 75 members in 38 states and Puerto Rico.

The Discovery Center will be hosting the Summer Stellar Science Symposium June 25-29, 2012 from 9 AM-3:30 PM. This 5-day science symposium will bring K-12 educators together with NASA and university scientists and Discovery Center educators in an exploration of stars, covering science, technology, – more – engineering, and mathematics. A 30 contact-hour certificate will be awarded.

Four days will be held at the Discovery Center and one day session will be at UNH. Transportation will be provided, leaving the Discovery Center at 8 AM and returning at 4:30 PM. Weather permitting, one or two evenings (6-12 PM) may be substituted for day hours at the Discovery Center to allow for live stellar observing using the observatory. Each teacher will also have the opportunity for Discovery Center educators to present a distance learning lesson to their class in the fall.

Overnight lodging is available at NHTI for $26 per night. Bring your own linens or sleeping bag.

Cost is $250. Credits are available through Plymouth State University for an additional $165/credit, 3 credit maximum, and a $25 registration form fee.

This symposium is sponsored by NASA and the NH Space Grant Consortium.

The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space sciences, a state-of-the-art planetarium and a variety of science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups, and lifelong learners. For more information, visit

Contact: David B. McDonald
Education Director
(603) 271-7827 x114

SpaceRef staff editor.