12th Symposium on Education


A Follow-Up Study on National Weather Service K12 Education and Outreach Programs

Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, NOAA/NWSFO, Taunton, MA; and W. T. Babcock

The National Weather Service (NWS) is an important partner in educational efforts for the public, including the K-12 education community. These efforts introduce students to weather, and bring teachers important information and materials that can be incorporated into their science curriculum. During the summer of 1997, a survey was conducted of the NWS Eastern Region weather forecast offices on the status of their K-12 education and outreach programs. At that time, a high level of commitment to educational outreach was noted. However, respondents from many offices expressed concern for future support of these programs as a result of planned changes in staffing and the potential for changes in dedicated funding.

Since that time, the NWS Modernization and Associated Restructuring has been largely completed. Most forecast offices are now staffed at "end-state" levels, which for some has meant the loss of one of more staff members through attrition. These leaner staffing levels may necessitate careful prioritization in implementing a wide range of outreach activities, including K-12 education, SKYWARN weather spotter training, and presentations for civic and philanthropic organizations.

With this in mind, the authors will present the results of a follow-up survey of NWS Eastern Region weather forecast offices to determine the status of their outreach programs, with an emphasis on their ability to maintain an effective K-12 education program. Recent trends in these outreach efforts will also be discussed. An additional survey of all forecast offices outside Eastern Region will be conducted this year to determine their overall activity and commitment to outreach efforts. Suggested methods to remain "in touch" with the K-12 educational community with also be presented.

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Poster Session 1, Poster Session: K-12, Popular and University Educational Initiatives
Sunday, 9 February 2003, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM

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