Tag Archives: announcement

The Times They Are A-changing…

“Come gather around people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth saving
Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changing”

– Bob Dylan

While the lyrics above may sound a bit ominous, they are also something to consider! It is an exciting time in New York State for science education…but it can also be an overwhelming time! When I started teaching high school science in 1985, communication was much more limited than now. The internet was not readily available, cell phones and text messaging had not yet been developed. For new teachers, developing lessons could be an overwhelming and isolating task. I was fortunate to start my career with a colleague that was more than willing to collaborate and was able to work with her to plan new lessons and work out the “kinks” as I began my teaching career.

As we begin the transition to NYSSLS and three-dimensional teaching and learning, the shifts in our classroom can be difficult to navigate alone. While some districts are actively working to begin the shifts, others are moving forward more slowly. If you are fortunate enough to work closely with a collegial department, you may have the support needed to begin to convert your lessons. For those of us that are the only discipline-specific teacher or work in a less than perfect department, there is a need to find resources and effective means of networking. The internet is a wealth of resources and information, but there is nothing like collaboration with another teacher to ease the burden of lesson-planning and gain professional expertise!

NOW is the perfect time to consider joining STANYS and encouraging your colleagues to join as well! STANYS has been at the forefront of providing professional development opportunities directly related to incorporating the new standards into classroom practice. The annual conference in November is only one of many opportunities. The Suffolk section has also provided local conferences for the past several years and is actively seeking ideas for providing the best possible support and professional development for its members. Membership has its benefits including:

the opportunity to network with science teachers across the state
reduced cost of attendance at conferences a chance to have your voice heard in science education concerns in NYS publications that will increase your awareness of issues concerning science educators reduced joint cost of membership in NSTA

We are looking for your input and feedback! Involvement at the local level of STANYS is an ideal way to learn more about NYSSLS and to increase your professional network of enthusiastic teachers. In this time of change, STANYS can be the support that you are looking for. If you are already a member, try to commit to attending a meeting or a conference to learn more about what we do. Approach your district for funds to attend the state conference. Encourage your colleagues, especially elementary teachers, to consider joining! If you are not a member, follow the link below to join! (Membership in the state level includes membership in the section level.)

Join STANYS Today!

Spring Conference Recap

On Friday, April 21, Suffolk STANYS held their annual “Spring Into STEM” conference at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  Attended by over 140 science teachers from around Long Island, it is one of the premier events for science educators of all grade levels and content backgrounds.  Presenters came from a variety of organizations and institutions, including the Long Island Association for Chemistry Teacher Support and the Long Island STEM Education Leadership Association.  Participants had the opportunity to participate in a wide array of workshops – there was even a Makerspace!

One of the overarching themes of the conference was informing and preparing teachers about the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS).  With its roots in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), NYSSLS is not just a change in content; NYSSLS will change how educators teach science to their students.  As a result, STANYS made sure to offer sessions in these methods such as question formulation technique, science and engineering practices, and modeling.  here was even a session that discussed the possible upcoming changes to science assessments that educators could expect see.

Since this conference is held at Brookhaven National Laboratory, educators had several experiences that are unique to the lab.  Teachers were able to tour the National Synchrotron Light Source II, which is currently the brightest synchrotron in the world! Additionally, Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Office of Educational Programs also offered a variety of workshops that were in the spirit of the NGSS.

 One of the highlights of this conference was our feature keynote speaker Chris Paparo.   Not only is he the manager of SUNY Stony Brook’s Southampton Marine Science Center’s web and the center’s resident naturalist, he is a well-respected speaker and advocate for Long Island’s natural environment.  His talk, “From Plankton to Whales – Why Our Local Waters Are Worth Protecting”, captivated many of our attendees, especially since he included many of his personal photographs of Long Island.  Many of his photographs, as well as his adventures with his red-tailed hawk Emmy, can be seen on his online photo gallery, Fish Guy Photos.  It can be found on both Facebook and Instagram.    

In closing, the conference was a success.   Special thanks go out to our Vice President of Programs, Matthew Christiansen for all his hard work putting this conference together, the STANYS Suffolk Board for volunteering in assisting in this conference, and all the presenters who came together to offer a high-quality conference.  We hope to see you soon at our fall conference, which will be taking place on October 16, 2017 at Hofstra University.  Be on the lookout for a postcard this September with more details!