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Welcome to the 1999 PI Meeting

published: 02/03/1999
posted to site: 02/03/1999

Joyce: We are a little late, but I would like to begin by welcoming you all. Some of you are here for the first time. So there's a special welcome for you. I would like to begin by acknowledging the help and great work of the Merck Institute for Science Education. The specific team consisting of Carlo, Carlo Parravano, Susan Elko, Carol Sterns, Donna, and Joan, who you met at reception. Carlo, Susan, Carol, Diane, and I have been working on planning this meeting for almost nine months now. It has been lots of fun and we hope that you're going to find it helpful.

We certainly intend that this is a working meeting. But more to the point, I think Merck has done a lot, not only with the logistics for the meeting, but to make sure you're all comfortable and your needs while you're here are very well taken care of. And I think the light supper tonight was a great beginning. So thank you, Carlo and Merck.

I would also like to welcome a guest tonight, Miss Susan Ipry-Brown(sp?) from the Office of Science and Technology Policy who has come here so she can get an idea of what local systemic change projects are about. And specifically the involvement of the corporate sector with our projects. So welcome, Susan. Thank you for being here.

And last, but not least, I would like to welcome Hyman Field, who is Acting Division Director for the Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education Division. And Hyman has come here. He doesn't want to stay too long because he's afraid he's getting the flu. But Hyman, thank you for coming and, please, everybody welcome Hyman. Thank you.

I've already implied that this is a working meeting. It is a reunion for some of you, but these meetings are extremely important to NSF. It is part of our investment in you as a learning community. And we have used LSC-Net for the purpose of asking you to focus your thoughts in preparation for these next few days.

Why the title for this meeting? Why have we chosen these topics? As you know, the NSF mission is to promote progress in science and engineering. And the vision for this is summarized in this statement which was published in '94 in "NSF - In a Changing World". And I put this before you so that you could be reminded of why we are all doing what we are doing. Our goal is to achieve excellence in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education. For those of you who are new to these phrases, I would point out that technology education here refers to preparing the technical work force and is not to be confused with educational technology, which is the role that technology plays in the classroom.

Why this title?

"Achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering and technology education at all levels
It requires attention to needs at every level of schooling and access to science, mathematics, engineering and technology education opportunities for every member of society."

NSF in a Changing World

Why this title? (continued)

  • Given the magnitude of the NSF invetment, we anticipate a legacy that will remain in the school/districts once NSF funds cease

  • Given the vision of excellence in education in all classrooms, five years is not enough time

  • It takes time to bring about changes in attitutde and culture

But it requires attention to needs at every level. And we are working so that every member of society shall gain the benefit. Those of us who have been working with the local systemic change projects from the beginning had in mind several ideas when we started. And given that in these projects the magnitude of the NSF investment was considerably more than it has ever been in prior projects. Some of you know, our projects range in award size from $600,000 to $6 million. That is a considerable investment. And given the magnitude of that investment, we anticipate a legacy.

Also, given this vision for excellence in education, we recognize, as you all do, that five years, which is the maximum length of any NSF award, is not sufficient time. We also recognize that what we're trying to do is change attitudes and the culture. And to meet the needs of quality professional development for all teachers.

So a goal from the start of all these projects was to have you thinking about the words we've used before in the past; have been sustainability and institutionalization. As many of us have gone round our projects, we began to realize that this was a topic that needed serious discussion. And we summarized all those thoughts in this title of "Creating Lasting Change".

We have planned this meeting with several goals in mind. Reconnecting you with the vision. Because I think sometimes when we're in the trenches, the biggest challenge is keeping in mind where we're going. We do intend to provoke your thinking. And, at the same time, the meeting is planned to allow time for reflection. You are here in teams. We want you to work in those teams and focus on what we have put before you. But it is a reflective time for you because you've left behind all your work temporarily while you come here and we hope you get renewed. And we hope for each one of you it's also a time for personal growth.

What are the goals?

  • Reconnect with the vision

  • Provoke your thinking and allow time for reflection

  • Alow you to see new possibilities, new oportunities

  • Create linkages

  • Develop ideas/plans that might help create lasting change in your school/districts

We hope to have you see new possibilities and new opportunities as you gain new ideas and knowledge from those who are working on similar projects with the same goal. And hence, the creating linkages with those whom you meet here. And we hope you leave with ideas and plans that will help promote lasting change in your project in the schools in the districts. The impact we hope will be twofold. First of all, that the ideas that you get here and take back and try and implement will have lasting effects on your projects. And also we at NSF will see some of the impact of this meeting as we read your annual report.

I remember when we began this not nine months ago with Carlo, Susan, Carol, Diane and I, Susan was taking notes at the meeting. And every time we put down what we wanted to see sustained, she wrote it down. And she ended up with a very long laundry list. So we had to sort of cull that down to what we thought were the essential elements that we would want to see sustained and without which there would not be lasting change. And it is these essential elements that I think you will see reflected in the agenda that is before you.

Why these topics?

  • The structure and values intrinsic to the disciplines of mathematics and science

  • Instructional mateirals and implementation

  • Student assessment

  • Parents and public

  • Policy Issues