Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sara Martinez Tucker is NMSI CEO

I am always proud of our work at National Math and Science Initiative but even more proud and excited that we have just named Sara Martinez Tucker as our new CEO.  We met with Sara this week and her energy, drive and determination to increase college access for all students is exactly what we need.

We outlined what the perfect CEO would be and she fits the bill:

  • Corporate success - with AT&T
  • Non-profit success - with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF)
  • Education Experience - Under Secretary of Education
  • Fundraising success - on many boards now and raised over $200M with HSF
  • Outstanding leadership - she is the real deal
We have had incredible success over the last 9 months and this will put NMSI way over the top. 

And the students win!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TFA to Master's Profs - stop wasting my time

New Study: 
So NOT Amazing! Teach For America Corps Members’ Evaluation of the First Semester of Their Teacher Preparation Program

: (1) TFA students did in fact rate their courses and instructors significantly lower than did their non-TFA peers; (2) TFA students, as practicing teachers in charge of real-time classrooms, were more critical consumers, critical in the sense that they needed—or, more appropriately, felt that they needed—coursework that provided just-in-time knowledge; and (3) TFA students did not feel as if they were treated like master’s students. They wanted instructors who modeled practical teaching strategies and did not dumb down course activities, many of which they believed were irrelevant and a waste of time given their immediate needs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Common Core Teacher Training

The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) teacher training program for teachers in grades 3-12 is spreading rapidly. We were focused on a handful of states but the map below shows just how far we are reaching.  If you need teacher training for common core that provides teacher developed lessons that are deeply aligned to common core - you need to contact us and get our training in your state.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We must make STEM a priority now

So powerful - please share. We must have a culture of hope - we send too many signals to kids that they are not good at math or science.  Please share.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Indiana and Common Core

Since Tony Bennett left for Florida the number one issues seems to be whether or not Indiana will continue to use Common Core State and Standards and if they will still be in PARCC.  Mike Petrilli delivered compelling reasons for their continued participation:  they need to make progress on student achievement.

See Mike's Indiana Common Core blogpost from when he testified to the Indiana Senate Education committee.

Yes there is debate over whether implementation of the standards will improve student achievement but we can get it done with the right common core teacher training. We also appreciate that Mike points out there is no way for any state to set aside the dollars to invest in the next generation of student assessments that are given online.

Stay in Indiana - your students need this. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rigor Vs Remediation

National Math and Science is all about rigor and we have found through data in Arkansas that if you give students rigorous courses in high school, they don't need remediation in college.  

So - more AP=less remediation=more college completion.  When students complete, they aren't stuck with a mass of student loans.  If you drop out, you don't get the higher earnings you were supposed to have that would allow you to pay those off.

A new study from ACT focuses on the extent to which students who are academically far-off-track for college can catch up within four years. Researchers examined multiple cohorts of eighth-grade students whose EXPLORE (a test administered by ACT) scores were more than one standard deviation below benchmark scores associated with being on-track. Ten percent or fewer students who were far-off-track in the eighth grade attained ACT College Readiness Benchmarks by 12th grade. A separate analysis using state test scores for students in grade four and their EXPLORE scores in grade eight obtained similar results. For both fourth and eighth grade cohorts, the overall percentage of students catching up was lower in high-poverty schools. Even at more successful high-poverty high schools, fewer than 20 percent of far-off-track eighth graders attained College Readiness Benchmarks by 12th grade. These results indicate policymakers must emphasize prevention over remediation. Prevention strategies should be conceived more broadly — for example, giving every student access to a content- and vocabulary-rich curriculum in the early years, or implementing programs and strategies that improve student attendance and academic behaviors. Efforts to close academic preparation gaps should begin as early as possible, be more intensive, and take as long as necessary. Based on the study’s results, policymakers should not assume that rapid catching up is possible if only educators try harder.

See the report:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Common Core Training for Louisiana Teachers

Great article about NMSI providing Common Core teacher training for Louisiana Teachers. It was a great two days and the training these teachers have sets them up for success in common core implementation. Superintendent John White attended and Julie Stephenson, one of our best trainers, provided the training.

We are providing Common Core training for teachers in New Mexico, Tennessee, Louisiana and many more - so if you are interested, make sure you let us know asap!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Women in Engineering Scholarship Announced

AUSTIN, TX -- In honor of its 25th anniversary, TechSearch International and the IEEE Women in Engineering Committee have established a scholarship for women entering the field of engineering.
The scholarship, named the IEEE Frances B. Hugle Engineering Scholarship, honors the memory of serial inventor and company founder Frances Hugle.
Hugle graduated from the University of Chicago in 1946 with degrees in chemistry, physics, and philosophy and received her master's from the University of Cincinnati. She co-founded Hugle Industries, Siliconix, Stewart Warner Microcircuits and Opto-Electronics Devices. In each of these companies she served as a director of R&D and chief engineer. She held 16 known patents in the field of electronics and was one of the pioneers in the invention of tape automated bonding (TAB).

To encourage young women to follow in Hugle’s footsteps, IEEE WIE will select one scholar annually to receive a $2,500 scholarship, beginning as early as 2013.  The scholarship will be presented to one female in her third year of undergraduate study in an engineering curriculum at an accredited university or college in the United States. Student membership in the IEEE is required.

TechSearch and its founder, E. Jan Vardaman, seeded the scholarship with a $5,000 donation this year. The objective is to raise $100,000 during the next few years.  We hope that others will join us in supporting young women entering the field of engineering by making a donation.

The IEEE Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the US, is accepting and managing the donations.  Donations can be made:

1. Online at by selecting the Frances B. Hugle Memorial Fund
2. By check payable to the IEEE Foundation – Frances B. Hugle Memorial Fund and mailed to IEEE Foundation, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA.

To learn more about the IEEE Foundation, visit, call the IEEE Development Office at +1 732-562-3915 or email  For more information on IEEE WIE, visit

Thursday, January 3, 2013

STEM Resources

Two great items gleaned from the twit-0-sphere this morning.

The first is the Naval Academy STEM summer program for students. If you have not figured it out, I am a USNA grad and love the academy.  This is a great program and I hope that you help spread the word.

The second is Gooru and there is a great blogpost at Teach Stem Now about the partnership with the Office of Naval Research and Gooru to help teachers get through all the content on the web to find the one thing that will help their class.  If you are flipping your class and need great content - this is the site for you.  ONR is also funding the NMSI initiative for military families and I got to see the Gooru presentation at a recent meeting.

STEM resources abound - finding the right ones for your students is the key!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PARCC Computer Requirements

The PARCC technical requirements have been released and I have to say I am a little concerned. Laying the Foundation delivered over 85,000 online assessments in schools grades 6-12 last year and it was not easy but we did it.   Scheduling computer labs, bandwidth, access, outdates software and security made this a very difficult implementation.

We are 18 months away from Common Core implementation and school budgets are still lean.  Are all districts going to be able to put this in place? I think they can but they have to start now!

PARCC Technology Guidelines

Minimum Specifications
Minimum Specifications address the oldest operating systems and lowest levels of hardware capacity that can reasonably be compatible with PARCC computer-based assessments in 2014-2015.
  • Minimum Specifications apply to existing school technology inventories.
  • Computers meeting the Minimum Specifications can be considered as satisfying PARCC
    guidelines for 2014-2015.
    Considerations regarding computers meeting, but not exceeding, minimum specifications:
  • Computers with these minimum specifications may not be adequate beyond the second year
    of PARCC assessments in 2015-2016. PARCC recommends that schools upgrade or replace computers with older operating systems and lower memory capacities to Recommended Specifications levels as soon as possible.
  • Computers that meet only the Minimum Specifications will be compatible with the PARCC assessment delivery platform, but are more likely to experience slower performance than higher capacity computers.

    Recommended Specifications
    Recommended Specifications outline the levels of computer and network capacity that are more likely to meet growing demands for school technology that supports learning, assessment, and administrative uses simultaneously across classrooms.
  • Recommended Specifications apply to both existing inventory and new hardware purchases.
  • Computers meeting the Recommended Specifications can be expected to satisfy PARCC
    guidelines through the 2018-2019 school year.