STANYS President's Letter: Dr. Helen Pashley
It is an honor and a privilege to welcome you all to the 122nd Annual Conference and Meeting of the Science Teachers Association of New York State. During the events, you will have the opportunity to meet many dedicated science educators from around our State and beyond. Our goal is to share our knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for teaching science in a supportive and collegial atmosphere. Whether you teach Kindergarten or college, in a public or private school, are one in a department of 35 or “the” science teacher, whether you work outside of a formal classroom setting, are just starting out in your career or have retired, we have one thing that brings us together - a mission to ensure excellent science education for all students. Our conference aims to provide a forum for those who love our profession. It is a great place to share new ideas, be inspired to take what we do every day to the next level, explore strategies to meet the diverse needs in our classrooms, and yes, hang out with a bunch of folks who understand the terrible science pun on our T shirt.
Since last November, the Board of Regents adopted the New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards (NYSP-12SLS). This will bring significant challenges for all of us over the next few years, in content, in assessments and in pedagogy. Change can be hard, but I hope that the new emphasis on student driven, real world investigations of phenomena will help us share the joy and fun of finding things out that inspired many of us to pursue science in the first place.
This year’s theme is “Science – Now in 3D.” It refers to the three “dimensions” intertwined in NYSP-12SLS - Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross-cutting Concepts. They are embedded in the student Performance Expectations on which assessment should be based and require an understanding of instructional content, interdisciplinary connections and how science and engineering is done. In order to support the transition, we have changed the format of the conference significantly. We are offering half day intensive Institutes in all subject areas, which will enable you to explore in depth instructional shifts and examples of phenomena based learning in the classroom. I am very appreciative of the incredible work of our Conference Committee, Directors At Large and Subject Area Representatives have done to put together this year’s program. You will be free to move among other workshop sessions to customize learning opportunities to best suit your needs. Use the Conference app, or program to choose where to go. This year even more of our sessions are “CTLE Approved” for those teachers needing Professional Certification hours. Paul Andersen of Bozeman Science will be returning to lead a special day-long event on Monday, and don’t forget to check out a Makerspace session in the Exhibit Hall.
The other events that you look forward to are still the same – no, not JUST the raffle and wine and cheese! I am particularly excited to hear from our Keynote speaker Dr. Mathias Vuille from the University at Albany talk about the scientific aspects of climate change and Fellows speaker, best- selling author, Dava Sobel. Plan to listen to an invited speaker talk about a hot topic in the science news, meet the Executive Committee, or other STANYS leaders and talk to them about issues that matter to you, try a hands on workshop, enjoy connecting to colleagues and make new friends at the subject area breakfasts and lunches, or at a section party, and join in the T-shirt competitions. It is our members that make our organization effective. Please consider becoming more involved in your STANYS section all year round, or at the State level.
So thank you for joining us for our 2017 conference. I hope you will find it an enjoyable and enriching experience.
President, STANYS 2017-2018