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Inaugural Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy presents latest in teaching practices

ORAU recently hosted the inaugural Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy for Tennessee educators.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 6, 2012
FY12-41

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Educators from 53 school districts across the state of Tennessee recently spent three days at ORAU immersed in the art of teaching science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM, during the inaugural Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy.

Presented by ORAU and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, also known as TSIN, the academy featured teaching tips designed specifically for STEM subjects, hands-on group energy challenges and experiments, a tour of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a presentation given by retired NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber.

"Today, more than ever, there is a great need to keep students of all ages engaged in the STEM subjects," said ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. "By partnering with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network to provide this Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy experience to teachers across the state, ORAU is helping to positively impact STEM education for Tennessee students."

The Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy is funded through Race to The Top funds and is a three-year professional development program that was created to develop a cadre of current K-12 STEM teachers and administrators to serve as liaisons in the TSIN. Selected by their districts’ superintendents and administrators, the attendees are expected to share the innovative STEM standards and best practices gathered at the academy with others in their school district.

"We created the TSIN to purposely identify and then train one representative from every district in the state on information regarding Tennessee’s STEM hubs, where teachers can gather resources and can collaborate to share this information," said Sky Gallegos, Director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. "The goal of the program, when this grant is over in two years, is to have one representative from every district across the state working with and integrated into the Tennessee STEM Network so we get full reach across the state."

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).


Value of the Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy to participating teachers

“This has been a phenomenal training experience for me and I have so many takeaways that I can use in the elementary, middle and high schools in my county.”
–Rhonda Owens, K-12 Science Coordinator, Dixon County

“This academy has been unbelievable, and has really shown us how to integrate various STEM resources that have been around for few a years, but maybe not necessarily used to their full potential.”
–Randy Payne, 6th grade science teacher, Wilson County

“The in-service has been invaluable. Making teachers, principals and even superintendents aware of the need, the desire and the passion that is required to advance and share the knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math to students of all ages.”
–Carla Dawson–Jackson, Director of STEM at Metro Nashville Public Schools

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