A Day at the Museum

informallyspeaking_250x250The most recent issue of the Informal Science Education Association of Texas’ newsletter, Informally Speaking, features an article on Page 4 highlighting the TRC’s Fall Project Director Meetings and PDA at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. A PDF of this issue is now available. Download Newsletter (PDF)


Congratulations to Allison Pace, 2010 AFMS Service Award Winner!

allisonpace_265x222The American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, a national group, has a rather unusual service award. Through the efforts of the amateur mineral societies in the Dallas area, Diane Brownlee, Director of the Ellison Miles Geotechnology Institute was selected to receive the 2010 AFMS Service Award for their Southwestern Section. As the winner, she was allowed to select two deserving graduate students in the classical Geoscience areas in the Section area to win $4000 each. Allison Pace, who will begin her Science Education masters degree in Fall 2010 at the University of Texas at Dallas after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Geoscience (also from UTD), was one of the lucky award winners. She was nominated by Barbara Curry, the Project Director of the UT Dallas Regional Science Collaborative, for whom she worked as an assistant, in addition to her participation to the UTeach Dallas program. Allison’s long-term goal is to teach and do research in Geosciences at the university level, after completing a Ph.D. in Geochemistry.


Top Texas STEM Teachers Gather for Texas Regional Collaboratives Conference

The University of Texas at Austin College of Education News

jbeily_am_200x250Successful partnerships, innovative instructional techniques and exceptional teachers were celebrated at the Sixteenth Annual Meeting of the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching (TRC), which was held in Austin June 29-July 1. The highly anticipated event drew over 700 attendees, including state policy makers, science and mathematics teachers, TRC project directors, representatives from institutions of higher education, corporate partners and scientists.



Collaborative Member, Kristin Shumbera Published in Science and Children

action_151x184Kristin Shumbera was  published in the NSTA Journal:Science and Children  (July issue) with an article titled How to Create Your Own Professional Development Experience.  The article co-authored by Katie Lynn Milton-Brkich and Becky Beran begins, “Have you attended a professional development (PD) workshop that had nothing to do with the real world of your school or classroom? As three practicing elementary teachers (one fifth grade, one second grade, and one kindergarten), we decided we had experienced enough of these disconnected PDs and decided to structure our own. We did a year’s worth of PD through a collaborative, cross-grade action research project that was both extremely applicable for improving our teaching and lots of fun!” Kristin is a member of the TAMU-College Station Regional Collaborative under the leadership of Carolyn Schroeder. Congratulations Kristin!


Hands On Science


The University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences, in partnership with the TRC, is offering an engaging series of weeklong institutes during the summer of 2010 designed to improve elementary and middle school teacher science content knowledge. Each institute will focus on the big ideas in science taught through an integrated, inquiry approach and grounded in concepts from physics, biology and chemistry. Workshop #1: Energy and Motion, will be held on July 12-16 and will cover big ideas in the physical sciences. Workshop #2: Energy and Matter in Biological Systems, will be held on July 19-23, 2010 and will focus on the integration of physics and chemistry with the big ideas in biology. Cost of the workshop is $250 per person and includes light breakfast, daily lunch,  snacks, and parking on campus.

Workshop # 1: Energy and Motion

July 12-16, 2010 Facilitators Prof. Sacha Kopp, Dr. Cynthia LaBrake

In this workshop we cover the “Big Ideas” of energy, energy transformation, and the conservation law of energy. Participants will use standard physics lab equipment to develop these concepts using evidence gathered by inquiry. Specific topics covered will include motion and interactions, potential energy, friction, conservation of energy, magnetic energy, gravitational energy and electrical energy. In addition we discuss the concept of forces, and the relationship between force and energy. We discuss common misconceptions held by children that often continue into adulthood. Participants will be given ample time to fully develop an understanding of this content via small group and whole class discussions.

Workshop # 2: Energy and Matter in Biological Systems

July 19-23, 2010 Facilitators Dr. Peter English, Dr. Cynthia LaBrake

This workshop begins by tracing the flow of energy and matter into living systems, integrating the focus of the physics segment into biology. The first day will develop the concept of radiant energy from the Sun and mechanisms of energy transfer. The second day will cover the process of photosynthesis. The remainder of the course will trace that energy through the dazzling array of processes that living organisms display. We will define living systems and investigate several of characteristics of living things including energy use, growth, and replication. Finally, we will trace the process of inheritance and variation from both a molecular-level parent-offspring perspective and also from a large- scale population level.


North Central Texas College Honors Teachers


Sixty science and mathematics teachers involved in the NCTC Texas Regional Science and Mathematics Collaboratives were recognized and awarded certificates of accomplishment for receiving up to 105 hours of professional development at their “Honoring the Teachers” event on February 20, 2010.

Lisa Bellows and Sara Flusche, Project Directors, hosted the event sponsored by Shell.

“We admire these teachers so much for their dedication, their persistence, and their devotion,” said Flusche.  “They are not content to be just teachers, they are committed to being the very best teachers they can be, and the positive impact they can and will have on our children is beyond measure.”

For the entire news article posted in the Gainesville Daily Register on March 1, 2010 go to:



Brenda Paloski, UHCL/EIH Regional Science Collaborative Member invited to work with TERC and present “Earth Science by Design” training at the TXESS Revolution Summer Institute

brenda_news_231x232Brenda Paloski, a Science Teacher Mentor from the UHCL/EIH (Environmental Institute of Houston), Regional Science Collaborative teaches AP and Pre-AP Biology and GMO (Geology, Meteorology and Oceanography) at Pasadena Memorial High School in Pasadena ISD.

Through her Collaborative at UHCL/EIH, Brenda has participated in an Earth Science Course Development program called the TXESS Revolution  (www.txessrevolution.org) in conjunction with The Jackson School of Geosciences at UT Austin. Through them she has participated in a curriculum development program for the Texas Water Development Board in 2009, and has begun to facilitate Earth Science Workshops for both UHCL/EIH and the Galveston County Regional Collaborative.  Brenda has also presented Earth Science workshops for the Pasadena Independent School District.

During the summer of 2008, Brenda was first introduced to TERC’s Earth Science by Design, which has developed and field-tested a year-long program of professional growth for middle and high school Earth science teachers. Based on the “Understanding by Design” approach, it helps teachers integrate classroom assessments, visualizations, and carefully designed activities to teach for deeper, more enduring understanding of the big ideas in Earth and space science. TERC, http://www.terc.edu/ based in Boston, is a leader in innovation and creativity in the development of educational practices and products. Brenda has now been invited to partner in a weeklong Earth Science by Design workshop in June of 2010 at The Jackson School of Geosciences. Brenda will work side-by-side with the TERC experts to further the unit development process for teachers and program leaders that will participate in the summer workshops with the TXESS Revolution.

This is a great honor for Brenda and we all congratulate her on these accomplishments.


SBOE Honors Stef Paramoure as a Finalist in the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

On January 15th, 2010, the Texas State Board of Education honored TRC teacher Stef Paramoure as one of the six finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Stef Paramoure is a TRC Science Teacher Mentor (STM) at the Region 13 TRC Science Collaborative and a middle school teacher at New Braunfels ISD. Jennifer Jordan-Kaszuba, Project Director for the Region 13 Collaborative states, “One of the most dynamic and effective teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with, Stef Paramoure inspires others and improves the lives and teaching practices of those around her.”

The National Science Foundation just recently announced the names of the Texas finalists in science and mathematics, secondary division, for the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The 2009 PAEMST awards recognize grade 7-12 science and mathematics teachers whose innovative methods bring teaching to life in the classroom.

A state panel of master teachers, specialists, and administrators reviewed the applications and chose the outstanding science and mathematics teachers for the National Science Foundation to consider for state finalist status.  These state finalist awardees will be recognized by the State Board of Education.

Teachers honored for the PAEMST awards are identified from schools in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity.  Each year, after an initial selection process at the state or territorial level, a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators recommends about 100 teachers to receive the award from a pool of these talented finalists.

The National Science Foundation, under the direction of the White House, approved the Texas candidates as finalists for the national PAEMST award.  If chosen as a national winner, the state finalists will receive $10,000 and an all expense paid trip for two to Washington D.C. for ceremonies that include recognition from the President of the United States at the Capitol.

In addition to the PAEMST award, Stef Paramoure recently received the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Teacher of the Year award for 2009. She will be recognized at the AAPG meeting in New Orleans in April. Dr. Lyle Baie, Former Executive Director AAPG, states,   “Having had a chance to work with Stef Paramoure for several years, I have a greater appreciation of the qualities she brings to her profession as a science teacher. Stef is always looking for new ways to bring science to life for her students, including going well beyond the TRC requirements to learn and experience the science herself and then sharing this knowledge and those
experiences with her peers, as well as her students.”

Finally, the TRC would like to recognize Stef Paramoure for playing a leadership role in our state-wide Podcast network.  Ms. Paramoure has mastered the technogy of podcasting and frequently provides training for other educators on the topic of Podcasts in Education.  You can subscribe to Stef’s podcast series, “Science in the Real World,” to access the growing library of professional develoment content authored by Stef. To find additional podcast series by Stef, visit the TRC Podcast Index.


Region 7 Math Collaborative Director Receives TCTM Leadership Award

JaneSilvey03b_191x278The Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics (TCTM) is proud to announce that it has chosen to honor Jane Silvey, of Region 7 Education Service Center, with its annual TCTM Leadership Award. The TCTM Leadership Award recognizes outstanding service at the local and/or state level in the field of mathematics education.

“I have worked with Jane for a number of years,” said Paul Gray, TCTM President. Gray presented Silvey with her award at the 56th Annual Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching (CAMT), held in Houston, Texas, on July 15-17, 2009. “Jane has been an inspirational leader across the state of Texas, always encouraging mathematics teachers at every grade level to look for ways to better serve their students. When you look at other states, Texas is at the cutting edge of mathematics education. We are in that position largely because of leaders like Jane.”

Silvey began her teaching career in 1969 in Irving ISD as a special education teacher. She continued teaching special education both in Texas and out of state for many years. Then in the early 1990s, Silvey returned to school to complete a mathematics degree and begin a new teaching career in secondary mathematics. In 1996, Silvey attended the original TEXTEAM’s Algebra I Institute presented by Dr. Susan Williams from University of Houston. Since that time Silvey has referred to herself as a “born again mathematician” crediting that training for changing her philosophy of teaching mathematics and providing her a deeper understanding of algebraic connections.

During the following years, Silvey has worked on numerous state committees and advisory boards. She has worked as a co-writer on several state mathematical trainings. Her most recent projects include working on the MTC Geometry and the professional development component for the Texas Response to Curriculum Focal Points. Silvey is also one of the sixteen national trainers for Stanford University’s School Redesign Network.

Fourteen years ago, Silvey began working at Region 7 Education Service Center as an Educational Specialists in Mathematics and also served as Coordinator of the Math/Science Cooperative. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Center for Curriculum Services at Region 7.


Julie Pollard, Region 11 TRC Science Teacher Participates in Oceanographic Research off the Coast of New Zealand

Pollard_161x186Julie Pollard, a Science Teacher Mentor from the Region 11 Science Regional Collaborative in Fort Worth, teaches 7th and 8th grade science at Watauga Middle School in Watauga, Texas. Julie has been participating in the TXESS Revolution (www.txessrevolution.org) and was selected by Ocean Leadership to participate in an oceanographic research cruise offshore New Zealand on the drillship, JOIDES Resolution. The cruise will sail November 4, 2009 – January 4, 2010. It is part of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and she will sail on Expedition #317 to study the Canterbury Basin, Eastern South Island, New Zealand. The operations plan assumes a start in Papeete, Tahiti and an end in Wellington, New Zealand.

Find out more about Julie’s adventures on IODP Expedition 317 (Canterbury Basin, NZ).  Follow along!  Read Jule’s Blog.


Region 9 TRC Teacher Named Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year

reg9teacher_188x229Donna Patrick, a Math Teacher Mentor from the Region 9 Mathematics Regional Collaborative in Wichita Falls was recently named the 2010 Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year. Donna currently teaches sixth graders at Southern Hills Elementary School in Wichita Falls ISD. Leslie Patrick (no relation) is Donna’s proud Project Director for the Region 9 Collaborative. “Donna Patrick is a terrific Math Teacher Mentor. She truly loves people and teaching children mathematics. I have heard her say to students, “You are not allowed to give up” which encourages them to keep trying to understand a concept until they get it. Eventually, the students like math because they like Mrs. Patrick.” said Leslie. Donna has been an MTM for two years with the Regional Collaborative. “I joined the Math Collaborative because I felt it was a great way to learn lots of new ideas that I could teach my students and share with fellow teachers.  I have really enjoyed being a mentor teacher.  My favorite part is going into other classrooms and working with the students and the teacher.  You learn so much from others.  The Collaborative is a great program and I hope to see it continue for many years to come,” said Donna. MORE


NCTC Collaborative Teacher and Students  Participated in the GLOBE’s Expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro

The Era Elementary 5th grade classes participated in the GLOBE’s Expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro recently. The students learned about climate change, global warming, and information about the mountain, people and the biomes of that area. They created information cubes, wrote expedition journals and created baggables showing all the information they had learned. Sara Flusche from the NCTC Collaborative came to the school and taught students how to create and read topographical maps and landforms. The students created their own 3 dimensional landform. GPS training was also taught. The students thought it was a lot of fun and really enjoyed learning about another place in the world. One student commented, “ It was like we were actually in Africa!”