Strengthening K-12 Teachers through AMS Education Program Professional Development Programs

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 11:00 AM
125AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Robert S. Weinbeck, AMS, Washington, DC; and J. A. Brey, I. W. Geer, E. W. Mills, and K. A. Nugnes

An increasing number of educators are being asked to teach subjects outside their initial training leaving them unprepared. To bridge this gap, the AMS Education Program offers free professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers. These unique national-local teaching partnerships link educators with college and university faculty and operational scientists.

In the AMS DataStreme Project, in-service K-12 teachers gain considerable subject matter content and confidence in Earth science instruction. The graduate-level DataStreme Atmosphere, Ocean, and Earth's Climate System (ECS) courses are offered each fall and spring semester by Local Implementation Teams (LITs) across the country in coordination with DataStreme Central, a team of AMS Education Program scientists and educators who develop instructional materials, provide logistical support to the LITs, and administer the project. The 3-member LITs mentor about 8 teachers and in some instances an emergency manager, per semester through a given DataStreme course, which is taken mostly online with 3 face-to-face meetings. Teachers may receive 3 tuition-free graduate credits through State University of New York's (SUNY) The College at Brockport upon completion of each DataStreme course and construction of a Plan of Action for educational peer-training.

AMS also runs two-week, summer residence workshops, Project Atmosphere on the fundamentals of meteorology and the Maury Project on physical oceanography. Alumni of both workshops peer-train teachers in their local communities, using topic modules provided by AMS, as well as assist in offering DataStreme courses. Similar to the DataStreme Project, these workshops are offered at no cost to teachers and each carries 3 free graduate credits from SUNY Brockport.

Throughout all AMS Education Program professional development programs, teachers investigate the Earth system using real-world data and state-of-the-art resources from NOAA, NASA, IPCC, among many others. Course materials are scientifically accurate and in close alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. Investigations are transformed by teachers into discipline- and age-appropriate lessons for their students. Upon completion, teachers peer train others in their local area, thus broadening course impact.

AMS Education Program professional development programs provide educators with the tools and resources to more effectively teach Earth system science. More than 19,000 teachers have been directly trained through these programs, and more than one million students have been impacted.