This President stuff is new to me. Why did I decided to become APAST’s president in the first place? It was surely NOT because I had nothing better to do.
I am not originally a science teacher by choice. I hold a BA in English and America Literature and a minor in Modern American Grammar. My certification is in Elementary Education. I had a superintendent that wanted to punish me, thought that Science was as far away from my expertise as possible and told me, “You will teach science and you will like it.”
He actually got very angry when I did.
I hated science in school. It was filled with useless facts and arbitrary names that I had to remember for no apparent reason. I was sure I wasn’t ever going to use that junk in the real world, and for the most part, I haven’t.
Since I had no background in science, and was now responsible for all sixth through eighth grade science in the entire school, I decided I needed to do some research. I attended many workshops on elementary science.
I was surprised to find out that science wasn’t about arbitrary names and useless facts; it was about thinking and putting order in our world. The names and facts were just a small part of the big picture – they were used to help us all speak the same language so we could share our information with others and build on what’s already there.
Science is about thinking. It’s about an ordered plan to answer questions – that problem, hypothesis, procedure, results and conclusion thing. Getting the right answer is not nearly as important as backing YOUR answer with examples from your experience. The greatest thinkers of all time very seldom got right answers. They achieved their fame from proving what the status quo had decided was a wrong answer in the first place.
The people who helped me solidify this realization were the people who were the heart APAST and are still an active part of our organization today. – Absolutely awesome and inspiring people like Ruth Ruud, Julianna Textley, Alma Miller, Dwight Sieggreen, Fran Hess, Howard Henning, Kenneth Huff, Fred Myers and John Hunt. As awesome as these people are at their craft, they never made me feel stupid or inadequate. They just freely and openly shared their passion with me, and because of them, I became a great science teacher.
It’s my turn to give back what was given to me. I’d like to extend this invitation to all of you to join us – to share our passions, talk about our craft, and bounce ideas off people who are interested in what you have to say. Come be a member of our circle of friends. Together we can and will change the world for the better… one student at a time… every time we get them to think.
APAST will be holding its
Annual Business Meeting and Social
APAST also is represented at the Elementary Extravaganza, an annual share-a-thon where innovative lessons and activities are showcased.
Stay tuned for dates and times!
President’s Message – December, 2015
The holidays are upon us once again after just a few months of the new school year. Where does time go? And, once again, APAST’s Presidential Awardees across the nation are providing first-rate science instruction to thousands of students.
This is a very exciting time for science educators. As a result of all the thought that has gone into the NGSS and all the talk that has swirled about STEM, all of us should be re-thinking the way we teach science to students and the way we assess their learning. After decades of modest improvements in science education, we may be on the cusp of something truly significant.
APAST should be at the forefront of the evolution of science education. However, I am sorry to report that the organization has not emerged as a leader in this area. For obvious selfish reasons I prefer to believe that it has not been the result of poor leadership in APAST, but I will share part of the blame. I prefer to believe that the biggest problem has been caused by APAST members being so busy with their professional lives that they cannot afford to devote significant time/effort to APAST initiatives. Please consider getting more involved in APAST initiatives. Also, please urge other Presidential Awardees you know to join APAST.
A series of computer issues has caused problems with our membership records. We are currently working through back records to reconstruct the accuracy of our current membership records. Please be patient with us regarding this.
Please expect to get at least three emails from me in January. One will be the ballot for APAST’s 2016 elections, one will be about the status of your membership, and one will be about ways to contribute to APAST initiatives.
Happy holidays and have a wonderful New Year.
APAST President’s Message – July, 2015
We are in the midst of summer, and that means that most of us are getting a well-deserved break to regain our full energy and reflect on how to become even better science educators. I hope you all have a wonderful summer.
At long last, the White House recently announced the PAEMST recipients (secondary teachers) for 2013 (!). Please reach out to the recipients in your state to congratulate them. The 2013 PAEMST recipients were recognized at The White House at the end of July. Let’s hope that the 2014 and 2015 recipients will follow shortly.
One of the NSF’s policies related to confidentiality prevents them from sharing the email addresses of the new recipients with APAST. We always offer the new recipients a free, one year membership in APAST, but if we don’t know their contact information it becomes very difficult. Please find out the contact information for the new recipients in your state (and any other state if you know it) and send the contact information to me at my NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you. And, keep up the good work!
Here is the official White House Press Release complete with list of this cycle’s awardees:
President’s Message – January 14, 2015
We have started the new year in smashing style here in Connecticut —- over the last 3 days we’ve had eight small earthquakes. A swarm such as this is a rarity in Connecticut. As long as they don’t get more energetic than the biggest (3.3), it is just a curiosity. I’m sure a lot of you have experienced much more frightening quakes.
I hope that 2015 is off to a good start for you. I also hope that you will be able to attend the APAST functions that will be occurring at the NSTA Conference in Chicago. The two functions (both to be held at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place) are:
- APAST Business Meeting and Social – 3:30-5:30 pm, Friday, March 13 in Regency D
- APAST Breakfast – 7:00-9:00 am, Saturday, March 14 (This event will be sponsored by National Geographic Learning. Pre-registration for this will be required, and details about pre-registration will be announced in a few weeks). What better way to celebrate Einstein’s birthday!
On another note, a few years ago we transitioned to having memberships begin on April 1 and end on March 31. We thought it would be easy for people to remember. However, we have had many people tell us that they didn’t know when to pay their dues. So, if you wish, pay your dues for next year now —- we can extend your membership to March 31, 2016 or beyond. You can pay dues using a credit card on our website (www.apast.org) or pay by check.
I sincerely hope you attend our functions in Chicago — we look forward to hearing your thoughts on how to make APAST a more effective and influential organization.
We hope you enjoyed the APAST events at NSTA Boston!
APAST Breakfast Meeting
Sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education
APAST Business Meeting & Social
Sponsored by Ward’s Science
Assuming the Presidency of APAST, Fred Myers
President-elect: Linda Lee Smith
Secretary: Nancy Foote
District 1 Director: Kathy Renfrew
District 3 Director: Alma Miller
District 5 Director: Charlene Dindo
District 7 Director: Jason Crean
We wish our newly elected officers all the best in their new positions!
Thank you to McGraw-Hill Education for sponsoring our breakfast meeting and Ward’s Science for sponsoring our business meeting and social at the 2013 NSTA National Conference in San Antonio. The Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching is grateful for the continued support and commitment of our sponsors.
APAST President Kenneth Huff has released a letter that is intended to express the support of the Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching (APAST) toward the development and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. We believe this is an important step to guide science teaching and learning in the 21st Century.
To view this letter, please click here.
Upcoming NSTA Web Seminars on Preparing for the Next Generation Science Standards—Crosscutting Concepts
NSTA is presenting a series of seven web seminars on the Crosscutting Concepts described in The Framework for K-12 Science Education, released in 2011 by the National Research Council (NRC). The Framework describes the major practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school and is being used to guide the development of the Next Generations Science Standards.
The crosscutting concepts included in the Framework (and the final version of the NGSS) represent current research about how students learn best. Teachers are encouraged to learn more about these crosscutting concepts now in advance of the final release of NGSS and begin incorporating them into instruction to provide students the skill sets they need to be successful in learning any content.
The web seminars will be a valuable professional development experience for any science educator, but will be especially practical for those at the middle and high school level. They will also be helpful for science coordinators, supervisors, state science supervisors and others.
The web seminars are offered free of charge and are designed so that participants can attend just one or all seven sessions. They will run from 6:30-8:00 pm Eastern Time every other Tuesday starting on Tuesday, February 19.
NSTA Web Seminars on Crosscutting Concepts Feb. 19: Patterns March 5: Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation March 19: Scale, proportion, and quantity April 2: Systems and system models April 16: Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation April 30: Structure and function May 14: Stability and change
For more information and to register visit: