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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU summer science institute provides support for area teachers

Education is a constantly changing field. Teachers must keep abreast of current information, especially in the area of science. To help teachers accomplish this, the New Mexico State University Scientifically Connected Communities (SC2) program offered a summer institute June 8-11.

Area teachers participating in the Scientifically Connected Communities (SC2) summer institute work together to develop a composting area during a workshop led by Greg Baker, of the New Mexico Environment Department. (NMSU photo by Margaret Kovar)

More than 100 teachers from Las Cruces Public Schools, the Silver Consolidated School District and the Gadsden Independent School District participated in the first session of the institute, held at NMSU's College of Education. NMSU faculty and staff, along with several LCPS teachers, directed and lectured during the institute's various workshops.

"It's important that we have scientists who are experts in their fields and are on the cutting edge to teach and lecture at the institute. Teachers were able to learn the content and then had the opportunity to apply it while at the institute," said Susan Brown, College of Education director of STEM Outreach for the Institute for Excellence in Math and Science Education.

The workshops focused on renewable energies, and teachers learned about a variety of subjects, including solar and wind power, composting and recycling. Participants were able to not only work with teachers of other grade levels from the same school, but also teachers of the same grade level from different schools.

"Education has changed enormously. Now, it's more eclectic, more about taking what you need for your students and then modifying it so everyone can understand," said Rosie Acosta, a teacher at Sunrise Elementary School in the GISD.

In addition to the summer institute, SC2 has field specialists who offer classroom support during the school year, and teachers have the opportunity to participate in other professional development workshops throughout the year. More than 300 teachers and administrators from nine school districts in southern New Mexico participate in SC2.

"Teachers need support, modeling and time to work together to create an enriched environment curriculum. This is about helping area teachers build relationships with each other and find local resources," said Terri Hansen, science field specialist.

Teachers from other school districts in southern New Mexico, including Deming, Lordsburg and Alamogordo, will attend the institute's next session in July. For those interested in participating in next year's SC2 institute, visit http://education.nmsu.edu/sc2/, or contact Brown at (575) 646-1397.