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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 11:16 pm | Fair 49º


School District Team Benefits from Training at Sally Ride Science Academy

The material focuses on helping educators raise student interest in STEM careers

The Sally Ride Science Academy is dedicated to helping teachers raise students’ interest in science. It is based on research, which shows that introducing young students to the wide variety of science careers available, and the many paths to becoming a scientists, fuels their interest in science and makes the study of science more meaningful to them.

Encouraging students’ interest in science has never been more important. The demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals is expanding rapidly, yet fewer and fewer students are choosing to prepare for such careers.

The team from the Santa Barbara School District participated in the July 11-15 training in La Jolla and had the opportunity to meet Sally Ride.

The district’s team consisted of La Colina Junior High School Principal David Ortiz, head counselor Athena Sims, eighth-grade physical science teacher L’aura Wilson, seventh-grade life science teachers Shannon Carpenter and Megan Cotich, and Santa Barbara Junior High School seventh-grade life science teacher Aaron Harkey. Former La Colina teacher Peggy Luchenco (current STEM outreach coordinator with the county) also participated as part of the team.

“Meeting Dr. Ride was an honor. She is pretty special and a real advocate for equity, especially gender equity,” Ortiz said. “The focus was gender equity and STEM careers. The experience was extremely powerful and relevant.”

The district team has been trained in the Sally Ride material and will be conducting eight-hour trainings, spread out over two days, for the district’s math, science and technology teachers.

For more information, e-mail Cotich at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). All participants will receive a set of “Cool Careers in Science” books.

— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara School Districts.

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