COMET • Vol. 18, No. 06 – 24 September 2017



California Finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are Announced

Source: California Department of Education 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced California’s eight finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher.

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the California Mathematics Council (CMC) to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program. After the state selection process, the National Science Foundation (NSF) convenes a national selection committee composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, district level personnel, and classroom teachers that reviews the applications of the state finalists and recommends to NSF up to two finalists in mathematics or science from each state or jurisdiction. These awardees receive a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. They are honored during events that take place in Washington, D.C. Visit for more information about the PAEMST.

Please see below for a list of finalists, and visit to learn more about these honored teachers:

Mathematics Finalists

– Clayton Dagler teaches at Luther Burbank High School in the Sacramento City Unified School District and has been teaching for 17 years. He currently teaches International Baccalaureate Mathematics Standard Level classes, one applied math class with computer programming and robotics, and an introduction to computer science class.

– James Snyder teaches at Anderson Valley Junior Senior High School in the Anderson Valley Unified School District and has been in the profession for 10 years. He is the Mathematics Department Chair and has taught every level of mathematics from grade seven through Advanced Placement (AP) calculus.

– Andrew Walter teaches at Alonzo Stagg Senior High in the Stockton Unified School District. A 22-year veteran of teaching and a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, he currently teaches pre-calculus, AP calculus, and pre-engineering.

Science Finalists

– Kathryn Beck is a high school teacher at Bolsa Grande High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District and has been teaching 18 years. Beck developed College Board-approved advanced placement Physics B and AP Physics C curriculum as well as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) after school extension class.

– Erin Dunroe teaches at Lake Center Middle School in the Little Lake City Elementary School District. She has been teaching for nine years. Dunroe teaches life science and physical science along with Advancement Via Individual Determination.

– Allie Kittay is a high school teacher at Redwood High School in the Tamalpais Union High School District. A 31-year veteran of teaching, she teaches AP biology and Integrated Science 3-4.

– Kari Milton teaches grades six through eight at Bancroft Middle School in the Long Beach Unified School District and has been teaching for 16 years. Milton teaches computer-aided drafting, which implements top-design concept, and coding skills through HTML and CSS.

– Jose Rivas is a high school teacher at Lennox Mathematics, Science, and Technology Academy in the Lennox School District. He has been teaching for 14 years and currently teaches AP physics, principles of engineering, and engineering design and development and uses a variety of instructional methods including phenomenon-based learning, structured discourse, and modeling.

Related Topic

“What Bill Gates Learned from Washington State’s Teacher of the Year [Elementary STEM]” by Abigail Hess


“Carol Dweck Recognized with $3.9 Million Prize for Education Research” by Milenko Martinovich


Stanford psychology Professor Carol Dweck, widely-known among educators for her research on fixed and growth mindsets, was named a recipient of the inaugural Yidan Prize for Education Research last Tuesday and will receive approximately $3.9 million–half as a cash prize in recognition of her innovative contributions to education and half to fund future research initiatives. She will also receive a gold medal during an official ceremony scheduled for December in Hong Kong.

The Yidan Prize is the world’s largest international prize in education research and development. The award was founded by Charles Chen Yidan, a Chinese tech entrepreneur and philanthropist. An independent judging committee focused on four major criteria: sustainability, future-orientation, innovation and transformation.

“I’m thrilled and honored to be the inaugural recipient of this amazing prize,” Dweck said. “It will allow us to take our work forward and continue to innovate – to develop even more effective interventions for students and more effective materials for teachers to use in classrooms. I couldn’t be more excited.”

Dweck’s influential research intersects developmental psychology, social psychology and personality psychology with a focus on growth mindset, the belief that intellectual abilities are not fixed attributes but can increase and develop in students when nurtured by the proper motivations and interpersonal processes. Her findings have influenced a new generation of scholars to further explore the idea that how children think about learning could affect their academic success.

Visit to view some free resources developed by Dweck and her collaborators (scroll down the page). These include the Mindset Kit, a set of online lessons and practices designed to help teachers foster adaptive beliefs about learning.

(Nominations for the 2018 Yidan Prize are currently being accepted. Register as a nominator here:

California Science Education Conference to be Held in Sacramento Next Month

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) hosts the California Science Education Conference on October 13-15 in Sacramento. Advance registration discounts are available through tomorrow, September 25. Visit for more information about the conference.

California Mathematics Council Conferences to be Held in Palm Springs and Pacific Grove

Online registration for the 58th annual California Mathematics Council (CMC) South conference ends on October 5. Complimentary conference registration and a 1-year membership in CMC are benefits for those who volunteer to work at the conference. Visit for details about conference, which will be held on October 27-28 in Palm Springs.

The 60th annual conference of CMC North will be held at Asilomar (Pacific Grove) on December 1-3. This year’s keynote speakers are Harold Asturias, Jo Boaler, and Alan Schoenfeld. Visit the conference website for more information and to register. Early Bird registration ends on October 20.

Reminder: Regular Registration Period for 2017 California STEAM Symposium Ends September 30


Regular registration for the 2017 California Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Symposium ends on September 30. “The inclusion of Art recognizes the role creativity and design thinking plays in students’ learning. By braiding together Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, like the strands of a rope, students learn to think critically and flexibly, preparing them for fulfilling, 21st-century careers.”

The symposium will be held on December 10-11 at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco. To register and for more information, visit Questions may be directed to

Registration for 2018 Early Childhood STEM Conference in Anaheim is Now Open

The Children’s Center at Caltech, in collaboration with THINK Together (, is hosting the 7th Annual Early Childhood Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (ECSTEM) Conference to promote and increase awareness of the importance of introducing STEM education in early childhood (birth through eight years).

The conference will be held on February 2-3 at the Anaheim Marriott. On ​“​Destination Friday,” ​attendees ​will ​visit ​four children’s ​museums ​that ​align ​with ​early ​childhood ​STEM ​education. ​ ​A Panel ​of ​Experts ​event ​will ​be ​held on ​Friday ​evening, which will include ​hors ​d’oeuvres ​and ​a cocktail ​hour. ​The conference continues on Saturday with a wide variety of workshops. ​

Registration for the ECSTEM conference is now open. Visit for more information.

Reforming Science Instruction in California – A Primer

EdSource has produced a 6-page bulletin for parents, “Reforming Science Instruction in California,” that answers a number of common questions such as the following:

How is classroom instruction different under the new [Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS]? How far along is California in implementing the standards? How will the new test be different from the old California Science Test (CST) students took? What is the relationship between NGSS and the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Math? Why does instruction under the new standards integrate different scientific disciplines? How can parents get involved in implementing and sustaining the new science standards at their children’s school?

To view and download this document, visit

California State University Faculty Express Concern Over Timeline for Implementing Executive Orders

Two leadership bodies of the California State University (CSU) have held regularly scheduled meetings recently, and among the topics of concern among faculty leaders were two Executive Orders (EOs): EO 1100 (“CSU General Education Breadth Requirements”) and EO 1110 (“Assessment of Academic Preparation and Placement in First-Year General Education Written Communication and Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning Courses”;

The CSU Board of Trustees (BOT) met last Tuesday and Wednesday. The agenda and archived video from the meeting is available online at At the BOT Plenary Session, the Chair of the Academic Senate of the CSU (ASCSU), Christine Miller, provided the ASCSU report. Miller’s address can be viewed online at (1:06-1:20).

She shared the deep concern that members of the ASCSU (representing all CSU campuses) had expressed at the Senate’s September meeting regarding the timeline for implementing EO 1100 and EO 1110.

Miller presented a resolution to the CSU Trustees (AS 3304, from the ASCSU that urged “Chancellor White to immediately put EO 1100 (revised) and EO 1110 into abeyance and defer their implementation date to, at earliest, Fall 2019.” She stated, “Faculty are asking, ‘Do you want it fast, or do you want it right?’… That’s why the Statewide Senate is asking Chancellor White to call a time out.” There was no discussion after her presentation.

The CSU Chancellor’s Office has provided useful FAQs for these two Executive Orders, including the rationale for the planned 2018 implementation:

EO 1100:

EO 1110:

Examples of questions and answers contained in the FAQs follow below:

[EO 1100]

1. What are some of the changes to EO 1100 Revised that relate specifically to Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning?

• Intermediate Algebra is no longer required as the uniform prerequisite for all courses in CSU General Education Breadth Area B4 Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning.

• Approved GE Area B4 courses may now include non-algebra intensive courses such as statistics pathways, statistics for majors, computer science and personal finance, for example…

[EO 1110]

1. What changes [are being made by California State University regarding] its approach to academic preparation?

…Executive Order 1110 revises the policy for first-year student placement in English and mathematics/quantitative reasoning courses. It retires the CSU assessment exams (Entry-Level Mathematics Test and English Placement Test) currently used for course placement. It strengthens the Early Start Program by giving students an opportunity to earn college credit in the summer before their first term. Finally, it eliminates the use of developmental education prerequisites and calls for alternative instructional models to support students in credit-bearing courses…

6. How can interested parties stay updated on these impending changes?

This FAQ is a living document and will be updated on the Graduation Initiative 2025 website ( as new information becomes available.

For related news coverage, as well as some background provided in earlier issues of COMET, please see the following:

• “Cal State faculty take a stand against ‘hasty’ plans to loosen course requirements” by Rosanna Xia


• “The politics of math: Is algebra necessary to obtain a college degree?” by Rosanna Xia and Teresa Watanabe


• “CSU faculty rebels against changes in remedial and math education, calls for delay” by Larry Gordon and Mikhail Zinshteyn


[Comment from Christine Miller at the CSU BOT meeting: “We aren’t rebelling—we just want to get it right.”]

• “CSU Makes Sweeping Changes to Developmental Education Policy”


• “California State University Issues Executive Order Regarding Mathematics and Writing Assessment of Entering Students and Subsequent Enrollment in Credit-Bearing Courses”


• “California State University Releases Draft Executive Order on Assessing and Developing Student Competency in English and Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning”


• California State University Addresses College Readiness in Mathematics



Related Information

CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium will be Live-Streamed on Oct. 11-12


The California State University (CSU) Office of the Chancellor will host its Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium on October 11 and 12, 2017. The symposium, which will be streamed live on, will feature nationally recognized speakers sharing their experience with proven, evidenced-based strategies that support student success. Visit for details.

New Report on Efforts to Increase STEM Course Success for Underrepresented Students at CSU Campuses

The Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California recently released a report on the California State University (CSU) STEM Collaboratives Project. Entitled “Creating a Unified Community of Support: Increasing Success for Underrepresented Students in STEM,” the 65-page report may be read online or downloaded from

An excerpt from the Executive Summary (pp. 2-3) appears below:

This report discusses the findings from a three-year study of the California State University STEM Collaboratives project… The project selected eight CSU campuses to rethink the ways in which they support first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority (URM) students in science, technology, engineering and math as they transition to college and experience their first year. Each participating campus implemented three integrated high-impact practices, or HIPs, through collaboration among faculty and student affairs. The three HIPs were a summer experience, a first-year seminar or first-year experience, and redesigned introductory STEM courses. Below are the key takeaways from the mixed-methods case study that examined project implementation across all eight sites…

1. Elements of underserved, STEM student success are locked into separate silos—academic affairs and student affairs—that almost never connect… What our study identified is the importance of academic and student affairs working together to develop interventions that use the knowledge that exists amongst both divisions and can help lead to STEM student success.

2. We found that the specific interventions matter less than the integration of multiple support programs…

3. The study and project identified the importance of a unified community of support that can break the typically negative climate that many first-generation, low-income, and URM students face in STEM…

4. Cohorting students into the same shared experiences and courses developed a strong sense of belonging for students…

7. One of the most valuable lessons learned from the campuses was the identification of key mechanisms that can help facilitate alignment of the programs including a thematic approach, professional learning communities, a STEM center, pathways or structured curriculum, and advising and technology systems.

8. Collaboration is the most important aspect of a smooth implementation process…

CalEd Grants Can Support the Production of Mathematics and Science Teachers

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) recently released the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the CalEd Grants competition. At least 30 grants ($100,000-$1,250,000 for a maximum period of 3 years, 2017-18 through 2019-20) will be awarded to eligible school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to address recruitment and retention issues by attracting and supporting the preparation and continued learning of teachers, principals, and other school leaders. Approximately a third of the total available funds will support activities that result in teachers being credentialed to teach mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education.

Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. PT on Friday, October 27. Links to the RFP and fillable application forms are available on the CTC website:

Related Opportunity

Webinar: Using CalEd Funds to Strengthen and Sustain Your Educator Workforce

This coming Wednesday (Sept. 27) from 1-2:15 p.m. PT, the Learning Policy Institute and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) will host a free webinar to “inform LEAs (school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools) and partner organizations (institutions of higher education and nonprofits) about the latest research and promising practices in recruiting and retaining excellent educators, particularly in high-need fields and locations: What are evidence-based strategies for recruiting and retaining a strong educator workforce? How might LEAs and their partners develop proposals that are well grounded in research?

“During the webinar, researchers and practitioners will share findings from the latest research and discuss high-leverage, evidence-based investments in teacher and school leader recruitment, preparation, and retention. The webinar and associated materials can serve as a resource to LEAs and their partners as they develop CalEd proposals.”

If you cannot attend, you may still receive a recording of the webinar if you register. Visit for more information and to register.

Free Online CSET Mathematics and Science Content Reviews

Prospective mathematics and science teachers who need to take the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) to meet subject matter competency requirement may wish to enroll in the free, online, interactive CSET reviews offered by the Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative at Fresno State. The CSET: Mathematics Subtest II course will be offered by Stefaan Delcroix from 5-8 p.m. PT on Tuesdays and Thursdays from October 12 through November 6. The CSET: Science Subtest I and Subtest II reviews will be offered by Brad Huff, Kelly Sullivan, and David Tinker on September 30 (Physics), October 28 (General Science), December 2 (Life Sciences), and December 9 (Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences). For more information and to register, please visit (see page 3).

Related Content:

Pearson Seeks Scorers for the CSET and CBEST

The Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s (CTC’s) examinations contractor, is seeking educators to serve as scorers for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) and the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST). Scoring sessions ranging from 1-4 days long are held year-round in Sacramento. For more information about the CSET/CBEST and scorer qualifications and to apply as a scorer, please contact Geri Roubos at or Carol Wilhelm at

Request for Applications for the 2018-19 State Board of Education Student Member


Any student who (a) is a California resident and enrolled in a public high school, (b) will be a senior in good standing in the 2018-19 school year, and (c) will be available to attend a statewide student leader conference November 4-8, 2017, in Sacramento, is eligible to apply to be the 2018-19 State Board of Education (SBE) Student Member.

For more information about the 2018-19 Student SBE Member application, please visit, or contact the SBE by email at or by telephone at 916-319-0827. Complete applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, 12 October 2017.

California’s ESSA State Plan Receives State Board Approval and is Submitted to the U.S. Department of Education

At the September 13 meeting of the State Board of Education (SBE), Barbara Murchison, ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) State Lead at the California Department of Education (CDE), provided an update of the revised ESSA Consolidated State Plan. ESSA replaced NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and goes into effect this school year (2017-18). The plan describes the state’s implementation of standards, assessments, accountability, and assistance programs.

Following are links to files related to Murchison’s presentation to the SBE:

– SBE Agenda Item: (Item 4)

– Presentation Slides:

– Video of Presentation to SBE:

Following Murchison’s presentation, the SBE voted to approve the ESSA State Plan, pending SBE Executive Director approval of final revisions requested by the SBE and correction of typographical errors.

The final plan was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on September 15 and is available to view at

There was strong support for the California Subject Matter Project (CSMP). In her presentation, Murchison stated, “We specifically commit to using Title II Part A funds to support the California Subject Matter Projects” (Slide 25). Explicit support is found in the submitted plan: “Title II, Part A funds will be used to support the work of the CSMP, an essential component of California’s professional learning infrastructure. With more than 90 regional sites statewide, the CSMP is a network of nine discipline-based communities of practice that promote high-quality teaching and leadership. CSMP activities are designed by university faculty, teacher leaders, and teacher practitioners to improve standards-based instructional practices that lead to increased achievement for all students.” (COMET is sponsored by the Executive Office of the California Mathematics Project, one of the nine subject-specific networks of the CSMP.)

Teachers are Invited to Apply to Serve on the Instructional Quality Commission

The State Board of Education (SBE) is seeking applications for four appointments from currently practicing teachers and/or leaders with experience and expertise in special education, elementary grades, mathematics, and/or ethnic studies to serve on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC). The deadline to submit the application and all requested supporting documents is noon on Wednesday, 11 October 2017.

The IQC consists of 18 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the SBE upon the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or the members of the SBE. At any one time, at least seven of the public members must be current classroom teachers, or mentor teachers, or both, who are assigned to teach in grades K–12.

The IQC is responsible for advising the SBE on matters related to curriculum and instruction. The IQC (1) develops and recommends curriculum frameworks; (2) develops and recommends criteria for evaluating instructional materials submitted for adoption; (3) evaluates instructional materials that have been submitted by publishers and makes recommendations to adopt or reject each submission; (4) recommends policies and activities to the SBE, the California Department of Education (CDE), and local educational agencies regarding curriculum and instruction; and (5) advises and makes recommendations to the SBE on implementing the state’s academic content standards…

Commissioners serve for four calendar years beginning January 1, 2018, and shall not be eligible to serve more than one full term. The IQC holds six two-day meetings a year (January, March, May, July, September, and November). Additional IQC and Subject Matter Committee (sub-committee of the IQC) meetings may also be scheduled if needed. Commissioners may be called upon to make an additional commitment of 10–12 days to participate in the review of instructional materials submitted for adoption in California in 2018 and 2020. Additional information about the IQC may be found on the IQC webpage:

The online application form can be found on the SBE Application webpage:

For questions or additional information regarding the IQC, please contact Stephanie Gregson by telephone at (916) 319-0881 or by e-mail at

New Reports: Insights into California State Standards Implementation and Teacher-to-Teacher Professional Learning

Source: Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd – 20 September 2017 

The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd announced two new reports on Wednesday that “explore critical perspectives on the teaching profession.” One of these reports was produced by the Center’s Teacher Practice Networks initiative, a 5-year effort designed to support the work of organizations (currently 13) in empowering teachers to serve as teacher leaders.

This report, the second CenterView issue, is entitled Teachers Leading the Way – Teacher-to Teacher Professional Learning. It is available for free download from

The report notes that teacher leaders are educators who strive to advance effective, current, and standards-aligned teaching practices in their own classrooms and also “collaborate with peers to influence, improve, and transform teaching and learning” (p. 1).

The Center’s announcement states that the report includes the following information: “Teacher leader-led professional learning designed to integrate face-to-face learning, virtual learning and coaching; vignettes of teacher-led professional learning in action; and site-based conditions that enable teacher leaders to facilitate effective professional learning.”

The second report that the Center announced was produced by its California Initiative, an effort to support the state in “successfully implementing the new California State Standards to improve student success.” For the new report, Insights into CA State Standards Implementation: 2016 – 2017, teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and district leaders were interviewed to learn about shifts in instruction.

Visit to view district leaders’ and teachers’ perceptions of teacher mastery of instructional shifts in reading and mathematics. While 100% of the district leaders report that the majority of their teachers “know the standards,” only 5% of the district leaders interviewed believe that the majority of their teachers “are capable of designing standards-based units of instruction with assessments to meet varying student needs.”

One figure contained on this webpage depicts the percent of teachers who indicated an increase in the emphasis on a variety of mathematics practices since the implementation of the California Mathematics Standards in 2013-14. By far, the practice that showed the greatest reported increase in implementation among these teachers was having students “explain their reasoning or methods for solving a problem” (66% of the teachers).

When separated by level (elementary vs. secondary), differences emerged in reported increases in the implementation of mathematical practices. For example, 70% of the elementary teachers reported an increase in having their students explain their reasoning compared with 59% of the secondary teachers. Sixty-two percent of the elementary teachers reported an increase in having students compare and contrast different methods for solving a problem compared with 39% of the secondary teachers.

(As a side note, a short video documenting WestEd’s history was created last year to celebrate the organization’s 50 years of service to education. This informative video is available at 


Creative PreK-12 Classroom Teachers or Afterschool Program STEM Educators are Invited to Join the Science Friday Educator Collaborative

Science Friday, which broadcasts “entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff” on nearly 400 public radio stations across the United States each week, invites K-12 STEM educators to join the team and contribute creative content for sharing on the show. Visit to learn more (excerpts below):

“For 25 years, Science Friday has been producing award-winning multimedia for web, radio, YouTube, and social media. By reaching millions of people and working with a growing network of scientists and innovators–including Nobel laureates, MacArthur geniuses, Pulitzer Prize winners, and world-famous explorers–we aim to promote a greater understanding of science and technology in the general public…

“The Science Friday Initiative is conducting a search for creative, highly motivated, and dedicated STEM educators to participate in the collaborative development of new multimedia-driven education resources. You’ll work directly with Science Friday staff to produce and share compelling approaches to STEM education inspired by interviews and stories from real scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Science Friday will support your work with stunning visuals and multimedia, and will then share your content with a larger audience…

“If you’re excited to improve your professional practice, get your work published, and join an amazing community of STEM educators, we hope you apply.” The application deadline is 7 January 2018.

There are a number of benefits to participating (including a $500 honorarium and having your educational resource featured on See for more details on this unique opportunity. On this page, you can also sign up to receive free science education resources via email.

“Math is Universal: Interview with Education Leaders James Tanton and Nigel Nisbet” by Calli Welsch


A recent interview with James Tanton and Nigel Nisbet introduces readers to the Founder of the Global Math Project and the Vice President of Content Creation at MIND Research Institute. Both men have a passion for mathematics, visualization, and helping students gain an appreciation for mathematics through active engagement and problem solving.

Tanton stated, “…It is mathematical play and wonder and delight that lies at the heart of mathematics, that sustains mathematicians who devote their careers to mathematics, and has sustained mankind for thousands of years in doing mathematics. It is the joy of creativity and play.”

The article shares that the purpose of Tanton’s Global Math Project is “to share a unifying, joyful experience of mathematics through annual online global events. The first Global Math Week will take place October 10th to 17th, 2017, with students and teachers at participating schools all over the world engaging in the same math lesson, entitled Exploding Dots.”

Visit and to learn more about this project and how to participate.

School Library Journal Presents Free Webinars on Virtual Reality Projects, Creating a Makerspace, Integrating Reading and the Arts into STEM, and More

The School Library Journal hosts the following three free webinars this fall in its series, “Top Tech Trends for Fall 2017.” The archived videos and resources for all are made available following the original telecast to those who register, even if it’s after the broadcast date. The webinars are led by top practitioners in the field and “offer practical insight into these hot topics in tech, with implications for schools and libraries.”

1. “Build a Great Makerspace” – On Demand

2. “60 Tools in 60-ish Minutes” – 19 October 2017 – Noon-1 p.m. PT

“Panelists will tip you on the best applications in VR creation, digital storytelling, making, and more!”

3. “Take the Plunge: STREAM” – 16 November 2017 – Noon-1 p.m. PT
“You’ll glean insight from STREAM practitioners and tips on integrating science, technology, reading, engineering, arts, and math.”

For more information about these webinars and to register for one or more, visit

NASA Requires Astronaut Applicants to Have a Degree in a STEM Area

Students may find this article from NASA regarding the selection of astronauts of interest:

During their careers, the next generation of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. spacecraft: the International Space Station, two NASA Commercial Crew Program spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle. In 2016, NASA received a record-breaking number of applications from people who wanted to become astronauts. One of these applicants may be one of the first explorers to travel to Mars…

The military selected the first astronauts in 1959. They had to have flight experience in jet aircraft and a background in engineering. And they had to be shorter than 5 feet 11 inches – to fit in the Mercury spacecraft.

But, in addition to flight and engineering expertise, space exploration requires scientific knowledge and the ability to apply it. So, in 1964, NASA began searching for scientists to be astronauts. Back then, one qualification for scientist-astronauts was a doctorate in medicine, engineering, or a natural science such as physics, chemistry or biology…

Today, to be considered for an astronaut position, U.S. citizens must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. [They must also have] at least three years of related professional experience obtained after degree completion OR at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time on jet aircraft.

For additional details, visit