The National Science Foundation awarded a $300,000 grant to Public Education Foundation and University of Southern California (USC) to support the first-ever project to leverage the power of Gigabit connectivity for K-12 education. With USC scientists, students at STEM School Chattanooga designed experiments to utilize the world’s first 4K video microscope to study the effects of human activity on microbial ecosystems here at home in Chattanooga, as well as a continent away in the Pacific Ocean. See a preview of this amazing collaboration in a short video.
We hope to see you at the demonstration next week – please RSVP so we can accommodate all guests.
PEF is proud to sponsor the upcoming College Goal Tennessee conference on Saturday, January 31 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the UTC University Center. Download a flyer
This free, half-day conference will help students and their supporters learn from experts and each other how students can be successful in college.
Sessions include financial planning for college, what employers are looking for, navigating the college application for the student athlete, and much more. Sessions will be led by business leaders, college admissions and financial aid experts—experts in their fields.
At this conference, College Goal Tennessee will provide free on-site assistance to for high school seniors and current college students filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students are encouraged to complete this application to increase their chances of receiving financial support to attend college. Here’s a list of materials to bring in order to fill out the form.
To register for this free event, visit pefchattanooga.org/registerapply/
- Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President, College & Career Success
Today, we’re surrounded by technology, yet very few of us understand how computers actually work. Simple computer science activities can help nurture creativity and problem solving skills. By getting a feel for computational thinking early, you can have a foundation for success in any future career path.
The Hour of Code initiative in Southeast Tennessee will demystify coding and get people of all ages coding through simple, easy-to-use tutorials. Schools and community organizations throughout our region can hold their own Hour of Code events for teachers, students and even parents. Opening the door to computer science means opening the door to learning, creativity and future careers.
Students should register for events at setnhourofcode.com
Recently, while leading a Friday morning seminar with Project Inspire’s fourth cohort of teacher-residents, I heard some valuable feedback. Recent classroom observations revealed that, during instruction, many of the residents were consistently glancing toward the clinical instructor (their mentor) for approval during the lesson. Of course, the students pick up on these subtle, nonverbal cues, and we were concerned about any perception of the resident as inferior. So, it was suggested that residents, when uncertain, let the students know that: “Just as you as students turn and talk to one another about your ideas, we as teachers sometimes do the same. We also learn by sharing by our ideas with one another.” Sounds simple enough, right? However, I would wager that students rarely observe such open-ended dialogue among teachers.
We need a revolution in how we as a society think about teaching; it should be elevated as a craft that our most compelling and creative thinkers yearn to practice. I believe that the re-branding of teaching starts in the classroom, where young students develop those lasting impressions of teaching. In order to help our students appreciate the complexity and beauty of teaching, we need to redefine students’ strong misconception that teachers must be perfectly polished distributors of smart-sounding information, and I would argue that teacher residency provides the means for redefining and elevating the profession.
Recently, Ronald Thorpe, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, wrote an article that embraced residency as an opportunity to transform teacher preparation. Residency, he points out, has transformed the medical practice throughout the past century, by driving the following changes in practice:
Those of us who work in teacher residency strive to replace the word “doctor” in the sentences above with the word “teacher.” Project Inspire, Chattanooga’s urban math/science teacher residency, provides those with STEM majors and a passion for teaching access to the transformative opportunities that Thorpe is discussing. Project Inspire residents teach for a full year in a middle- or high-school setting alongside an experienced clinical instructor—grounding all learning from master’s level coursework within the context the classroom. Project Inspire residents and alumni are also working within the context of a team–whether collaborating with other residents at the training site, working alongside a content-specific coach as a program graduate, or joining their entire cohort for regular resident and alumni seminars. Finally, program graduates are consistently “paying it forward,” improving their own craft by opening up their classroom to current residents and their fellow teachers.
The retention of great teachers in the classrooms where they are needed begins with the preparation of those teachers. Project Inspire offers its residents and graduates an open invitation to dream, to be a real and meaningful part of the transformation of a school. We as teachers sometimes need to turn and talk; we can keep our brightest minds in this profession by allowing them to see the craft for the pure and collaborative wonder that it is.
If you are interested in joining Project Inspire as a math or science teacher-resident, please visit projectinspiretn.org. Candidates and interested community members are also encouraged to attend the next Project Inspire MeetUp on November 25 at 5:00 pm at PEF, 100 E. 10th Street, 3rd floor. Please contact Erin Harrell for more information.
- Mark Neal, Director, Project Inspire
Mayor Andy Berke poses with the Boys Leadership Summit organizers Temus Terry, Chris Ramsey, and Stacy Lightfoot.
The 5th Annual Boys’ Leadership Summit (BLS) was held on November 15, 2014. BLS targeted males in grades 6-12 and served as an opportunity for males to learn with and from each other. Keynote presenters included community leaders as well as a young man who has attended all BLS summits. Breakout sessions included warm-up icebreakers where the co facilitators (college men and seasoned men) created atmospheres for open dialogue and in-depth discussions on how to become successful and productive adults. The Summit was designed to help attendees learn to cope with issues and problems facing youth today.
The young men – almost 200! – were pleased with how the day went: comments included, “I loved everything,” “I plan on attending yearly,” and “I found the togetherness most valuable.”
PEF was proud to be a partner in this effort!
- Janice Neal, Program Associate, College & Career Success
Through a partnership with Fund for Teachers, PEF offers teachers in Hamilton and Bradley County fellowships to travel in the U.S. or across the globe in search of cultural enrichment, new teaching methods and fun and exciting ideas for the classroom. Applications are now available and must be completed by Thursday, January 29, 2015, 5:00 pm CST.
Take a look at these videos from our Fellows:
Interested in applying, but need some guidance and support? Attend a workshop!
Sessions will be led by former FFT Fellows who can give you first hand advice and insider info. You will get lots of help with your application. If these aren’t convenient, try a Fund for Teachers webinar.
Chattanooga sessions (PEF, 100 E 10th Street, 3rd Floor): RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cleveland sessions (BCPEF’s STaR Center, 5005 N. Lee Hwy.): RSVP to email@example.com
For more information, contact Leslie Graitcer, Fund for Teachers coordinator.
In 2010, a group of men from various organizations (e.g. fraternities, 100 Black Men, Shriners, Masons, service organizations, etc.), with an interest in helping young African-American males become successful and productive adults, hosted the first Boys’ Leadership Summit (BLS) in October 2010. These men answered a charge by Michael Baisden, an international radio personality, who encouraged communities to join together to impact the lives of our young black men.
Based on Dr. Shaun Harper’s report titled “Black Male Student Success in Higher Education” he found that Black men’s dismal college enrollments, disengagement and underachievement, and low rates of baccalaureate degree completion are among the most pressing and complex issues in American higher education. So, in 2012, PEF worked on several initiatives to empower men of color, young and old, to convene at luncheons and conferences to share their stories of triumph and collegiate success.
This year, PEF is joining forces with the founders and organizers of the Boys’ Leadership Summit to host a collaborative workshop for young men that will target males in grades 6-12 and include college males as well. Together, these organizations hope to provoke conversations that will engage, empower and encourage our young men to achieve to greater heights. We will have special sessions geared towards parents during the summit. Unique opportunities are in store for engaged parents.
The 5th Annual Boys Leadership Summit 2014 is a free one-day conference (breakfast & lunch provided) held on November 15, 2014 (9 am – 2 pm), that will serve as an opportunity for middle and high school males and their parents as well as young men in college to learn from experts and each other how to become successful and productive adults. We will cover topics to help attendees learn to cope with issues and problems facing youth today. Registration and breakfast will start at 8:00 am. The summit will be held at UT-Chattanooga’s University Center.
The first 50 people who register online AND attend the summit will have their names placed in a bowl to win an awesome gift at the end of the day.
For more information, contact Temus Terry — (423) 316-0698
For the past four years, Project Inspire has worked to recruit, train, and support excellent math and science teachers for Hamilton County schools. In August, a new cohort of teacher residents entered Dalewood Middle School, Tyner Middle Academy, and Tyner Academy, eager to begin their first year of residency. Side-by-side with their clinical instructors (veteran teachers of Hamilton County), the residents will dive into curriculum, instruction, and relationships with students. The staff of PEF and Project Inspire will continue to support these residents as well as graduates throughout the year.
However, an additional task is fresh on our minds. It’s time to recruit the next incoming cohort of teacher residents who share Project Inspire’s passion for equity and excellence in the Hamilton County public schools. This year, Project Inspire has received funding from a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. In the past, the program has been able to recruit teachers with a variety of undergraduate degrees, so long as they had sufficient math or science coursework. This year, however, the NSF grant provides an exciting opportunity for those who hold a degree in the STEM field—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Project Inspire is part of a national recruiting effort to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers. This connection positions Chattanooga nationally next to other large organizations who are devoting efforts to answer the nationwide shortage of quality math and science teachers. Locally, Project Inspire hopes to encourage recent STEM graduates as well as professionals. Through the teacher residency and ongoing professional support through Project Inspire, PEF, and Hamilton County Department of Education, the goal is to create a new story about teaching in low-performing schools—elevating the profession and giving teachers the opportunity to be entrepreneurs in their own classrooms.
On October 23, Project Inspire invites candidates to the first meet-up of the year at the Lamp Post Group for those who want to start a dialogue about teacher residency. The ideal candidate for the program is someone who is passionate about innovation, teaching, and is compelled towards social change. Candidates should hold a STEM degree or be pursuing one currently. While in many parts of the country teacher residency is aimed at recruiting undergraduates, Project Inspire is also an opportunity for career changers to gain a teaching license and masters in curriculum and instruction in a short amount of time. No matter if the candidate will be fresh out of college or is thinking about making a career change, the most important candidate quality is a compelling vision and passion to provide students in Hamilton County with the best science and math teachers possible.
- Erin Harrell, Project Inspire Program Associate
PEF is reaching out the community and businesses to provide important information on preparing for college & careers. One of the ways we’re doing this is by hosting, in partnership with businesses, the College Knowledge Lunch Breaks. Sessions run from noon to 1 p.m., providing a convenient time for parents, counselors, and other community members to quickly gain valuable knowledge they can share with young people in their lives.
The first “lunch and learn” will be Wednesday, September 24th at PEF on Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills. Larry Tong, Assistant Vice President of Benefits, and Shawnel Rogers, Director of Benefits, will be joining us from Unum to bring their unique employer perspectives.
As students complete their senior year in high school or college they’ve built a wealth of knowledge and skills. An area that doesn’t get a lot of attention, until students seek employment, is fundamental resume writing and interviewing skills. We’ll discuss the resume and interview from the employer’s perspective during an interactive session:
1) What does an employer look for in a resume and interview? A basic understanding will help students be strategic with their preparation and build their confidence.
2) Insight to be shared—do’s and don’ts in your resume / interview, cover letters, key business words, social media, elevator speech, professionalism, etc.
A buffet lunch is available for $5 or participants may bring their own lunch; sessions are FREE but online registration is requested.
Subsequent workshops will take place at businesses in the community. We are looking for businesses to provide space so that we bring in experts to talk about college & career related topics to its employees and the general public. For more information about hosting a College Knowledge Lunch Break, contact Janice Neal at 423.668.2423.
– Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President, College & Career Success
Today is our last day to win $5,000 from First Tennessee Foundation! PEF needs your help NOW for our mission of improving student achievement in Hamilton County public schools.
Visit 150daysofgiving.com, search for “public education”, and vote for PEF (look for our logo). You DON’T have to register, get a password, or anything. Just search, click, and vote.
You can vote from ALL your devices ONCE a day: your phone, iPad, laptop, desktop, etc. each day, and all those votes will count. Please share this through your networks, social media, and help public schools by helping PEF!
- Shannon Edmondson, Development & Communications Officer