Press Release

NASA Sends Science and Math Teachers “Back to School”

By SpaceRef Editor
June 25, 2003
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NASA is launching a major new education initiative. The
NASA Explorer Schools Program premieres Monday, June 30 at
11:30 a.m. EDT at the Washington State Convention & Trade
Center, Seattle.

The multimedia event kicks off the innovative program to
send science and mathematics teachers “back to school” at
NASA field centers. NASA experts and resources will be
available during the summer to help educators acquire new
teaching resources and technology tools to make learning
science, mathematics and technology more appealing to
students.

As part of the annual National Educational Computing
Conference (NECC), hosted by the International Society for
Technology in Education (ISTE), NASA Associate Administrator
for Education Dr. Adena Williams Loston, joined by astronaut
Don Pettit, will announce the first 50 competitively
selected NASA Explorer Schools before an expected audience
of approximately 1,000 science and technology educators.

In a creative school-like setting, Loston will address a
“classroom” of NASA officials and partners. Classmates
include Pettit, NASA’s International Space Station science
officer on Expedition 6; NASA Explorer Schools Program
architects Peggy L. Steffen and Dr. Shelley Canright; NASA
Deputy Associate Administrator for Education Programs Dr.
Cliff Houston; and representatives from the National Science
Teachers Association (NSTA), the U.S. Department of
Education and the U.S. National Guard Bureau.

The new initiative, sponsored by NASA’s Education
Enterprise, in collaboration with NSTA, will establish a
three-year partnership between the agency and 50 Explorer
Schools’ teams, consisting of teachers and education
administrators from diverse communities across the country.
During the commitment period, NASA will invite teams to
field centers in an effort to spark innovative science and
mathematics instruction directed specifically at students in
grades five through eight.

Following the announcement, the audience will participate in
a technology demonstration. The demonstration will focus on
using technology in the classroom to stimulate student
interest. Pettit will moderate an International Space
Station downlink with the Expedition 7 crew (11:53 a.m. –
12:13 p.m. EDT) for the audience and approximately a dozen
student groups via teleconference.

“At NASA, we feel compelled to act, to implement proactive
and innovative approaches, such as the NASA Explorer Schools
Program, to help stem the decline in the number of young
people pursuing study of science, technology, engineering
and math disciplines,” Loston said. “If we can help, in ways
unique to NASA’s mission, to hold students’ interest in math
and science through the middle school years, we would
anticipate a marked increase in students entering related
careers. The Nation’s continued leadership in science and
technology depends on the efforts of NASA and others,” she
said.

ISTE, based in Eugene, Ore., is a nonprofit professional
organization with a worldwide membership of leaders and
potential leaders in educational technology. ISTE’s mission
is to provide leadership and service to improve teaching and
learning by advancing the effective use of technology in K-
12 education and teacher education. NECC annually attracts
more than 15,000 educators.

For information about NASA on the Internet, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

For information about the NASA Explorer Schools Program,
visit:

http://explorerschools.nasa.gov

For information about the NASA Education Enterprise and
programs, visit:

http://education.nasa.gov

For information about ISTE and NECC, visit:

http://www.iste.org

SpaceRef staff editor.