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Sample Scientist-Educator Partnerships

Federally Funded Programs
Professional Society-Based Programs
National Nonprofit Organization Programs
Systemic-Change Initiatives

As you’ve read through this guide, you’ve probably learned that starting a partnership from scratch takes a bit of work. This may have convinced you that, at least to start, you may wish to affiliate with existing scientist-educator partnerships. Or perhaps you are ready to launch your own partnership but want to get ideas and avoid pitfalls by seeing what others are doing before you begin. The links below will help you do both.

Many of these partnerships involve scientists working directly with students or teachers, but if that’s not your cup of tea, don’t despair. Talk to the program director about other ways you might help, such as recruiting new schools or other scientists to the program; working with school principals, school boards, or parents to facilitate the running of the program; meeting with local corporations or foundations to garner additional financial support; reviewing or collaborating on producing program materials; or evaluating program success.

There are hundreds of programs linking scientists to K-12 education throughout the country. Those listed here are merely samples. The NIH SEPA Web site may be a particularly useful place for you to start because it describes the projects of all SEPA grant awardees since 1991. Don’t forget to check with your institution or local schools to find out about local opportunities, too.

Federally Funded Programs

NIH Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA) External Web Site Policy
The SEPA Program funds grants for innovative education programs. The projects create partnerships among biomedical and clinical researchers and K-12 teachers and schools, museums and science centers, media experts, and other educational organizations. On this site, you’ll find information about new and past SEPA awards, including links to many SEPA project Web sites and publications that the grants led to. Projects are indexed by state and type of project. Even if the project is no longer active, consider contacting the SEPA investigators in your area. They may be involved in or know about other local projects.

NIH Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award Program (SEDAPA)
SEDAPA funds programs that range from improving science and drug abuse knowledge among high school students in a local community to developing media outlets such as radio stations. Brief descriptions of some of the projects that NIDA has funded are listed on this site.

DOE Contests and Competitions (DOE)
DOE sponsors a variety of competitions in STEM for K-12 students. These include the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, National Science Bowl, Solar Decathlon, and a number of competitions for energy technologies.

NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources (NSF/EHR)
The mission of EHR is to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in all settings (both formal and informal). On this Web site, you’ll find information about new and past EHR awards.

Professional Society-Based Programs

American Chemical Society (ACS) External Web Site Policy
ACS runs a variety of programs, from ACS ChemClubs to the Chemistry Olympiad to Project SEED, a summer research program for economically disadvantaged students. It also offers programs for teachers. Click on the "Education" tab and follow the links.

American Physiological Society Phun Week External Web Site Policy
This is a program designed to take physiologists into schools to work with students for one to five days. The society provides materials and guides to make the program feasible even for novices.

National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) External Web Site Policy
The NABT BioClub provides opportunities for students to share and promote interest in the biological sciences. The Web site provides information about how to start or join an existing club and what other clubs are doing.

Physics Teacher Education Coalition and External Web Site Policy
This site has information about programs for students held at centers connected to high-energy physics experiments (Quarknet), programs for teachers conducted at NSF-funded sites (NSF RETs), and teacher and student research opportunities at DOE labs.

National Nonprofit Organization Programs

The programs listed below operate nationwide or almost nationwide. Don’t forget to look for local programs. Even if a national youth organization doesn’t have a nationwide science program, your local chapter might have its own program.

4H External Web Site Policy
This site describes the many programs of the national "4H Science, Engineering & Technology Community." 4H programs can be found nationwide and are normally affiliated with landgrant institutions.

Girls Inc., Operation Smart External Web Site Policy
Helps girls develop enthusiasm for and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and consider careers in these fields by interacting with women and men pursuing such careers.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) External Web Site Policy
Click the “Get Involved” tab on this Web site to see myriad ways you can support K-12 education through involvement NSTA. Opportunities include serving on advisory boards, writing articles, coaching an "ExploraVision" team, and participating in online discussions.

National Science Resources Center (NSRC) External Web Site Policy
The NSRC was established jointly by the National Academies and the Smithsonian Institution. The organization can help you become involved in efforts to introduce systemic changes in science education at the local or state level. It also has many resources to help you develop your own strategic plans for reform.

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) External Web Site Policy
OM is an international education program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.

Science Olympiad External Web Site Policy
Science Olympiad is a science competition providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to more than 5,700 teams in 48 states.

Society for Science and the Public External Web Site Policy
This organization administers the International Science and Engineering Fair and the Science Talent Search.

Systemic-Change Initiatives

By exploring these Web sites, you can learn about some initiatives to make large-scale changes in science education. They may or may not be active in your area. However, many of the organizations will be able to help you locate reform efforts in your area or build a team to start your own.

National Science Resources Center External Web Site Policy
The NSRC is an intermediary organization that bridges research on how children learn with best practices for the classroom. The NSRC provides science education leadership development by 1) building awareness for science education among leaders, 2) helping develop science education leadership among groups from school districts and states, 3) conducting programs to support the professional growth of teachers, and 4) developing and disseminating information about exemplary science instructional materials.

Stakeholders in Student Success: Public-Private Partnerships Strengthening K-12 Education External Web Site Policy
The report -- published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, written by Jacqueline Nader, and edited by Kent Hughes -- outlines a large number of major ongoing education reform efforts in a variety of schools, school districts, and states and discusses commonalities in strategies and themes in these efforts.

Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education External Web Site Policy
This nonprofit organization comprises more than 100 member organizations with representation from three key stakeholders: business, education, and scientific and engineering societies. Their mission is "to bring together the voices of government, business, and education to improve the quality and outcome of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education." Through the coalition, you can learn about and from leaders of other successful partnerships.

Washington State LASER External Web Site Policy
The mission of the Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) is to help school districts implement an ongoing, research-based science program aligned with the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements. LASER explores six elements of an effective research-based science program: research-based instructional materials, professional development, student and program assessment, materials support, administrative and community support, and literacy.

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