Stephen Lane and Jeffrey Yuhas represent a small number of teachers who can speak to the benefits of finding ways to collaborate through the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Mr. Lane has attended several AMS Annual Meetings and worked with DarkSky, Earth Networks, the AMS Policy Program, and the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Yuhas has worked with the MIT-Haystack Observatory as part of the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program, Earth Networks, University of Oklahoma, and Li-Cor. He has presented findings at the American Geophysics Union Fall Meeting, RET special conferences, and the AMS Annual Meeting.
Both have been fortunate to do most of their work funded by their secondary schools. While wonderful opportunities have been generated for them, this is clearly a model that only works for well-funded districts in affluent areas.
Pre-College Educational Research is typically done by Universities or Research Institutes and Cooperatives. K-12 teachers simply do not have access to the same research funds nor do K-12 education systems have the resources or mechanisms to competitively do this research. Researchers may benefit from the input of those on the front lines regarding the particular needs of and issues with K-12 science education. For example, K-12 teachers are an excellent resource for developing strategies to implement Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and STEM initiatives. Further, teachers would be valuable resources in helping to address the “broader impacts” outlined in many grants.
The AMS would also see many benefits as a new community of educators gains a pathway to attend the Annual Meeting and become active participants in the business of the Society. Between them, Mr. Lane and Mr. Yuhas have become members of the Board on Outreach and Pre-College Education, the Local Chapter Affairs Committee, and the Education Symposium planning group.
It is our overarching goal to increase K-12 educator access to the AMS in general and the Annual Meeting specifically. Finding ways to include teachers as active participants would help to achieve this goal. We recognize the obstacles to doing so, but the rewards would represent a tremendous opportunity for all involved.