STANYS President's Letter: Kenneth Huff
Dear Fellow STANYS Colleagues,
On behalf of the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS), I welcome you to our 124th Annual Conference. It is a pleasure to join each of you to explore opportunities around this year’s theme Transforming Innovations into Reality in Science (TIRS)-it’s where the rubber hits the road in our science classrooms.
What has impressed me through the years is how our conference has become an impetus for professional learning in which we experience, practice, and reflect upon the new vision of science education. This is evidenced by the fact that 98% of conference workshops provide Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credits based upon criteria from the New York State Education Department. As professional teachers of science, we come together at this conference to learn new ideas, tools, and instructional resources to improve our classroom practices.
Since the release of A Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2012) there has been a shift in the role of the teacher and the nature of student work. Research supports that effective classroom practices promote deeper student engagement and stronger conceptual understanding of science content. This year’s conference will provide you with a plethora of experiences to rethink how students engage simultaneously with science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas throughout curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
The TIRS theme will be evident throughout our conference. On Friday evening, we will kick off the conference with a special event featuring Tonight Show star Jeff Musial from Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics.
On Saturday, there will be plenty of excitement surrounding the inaugural Texas Instruments breakfast for first time conference attendees at 8:00. Join members of the STANYS Executive and Conference Committees for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:45 to help open our exhibit hall. Live music featuring a student trio from the Eastman School of Music will begin at 11:30 for your listening pleasure. Be sure to make your way to the Lilac Ballroom in the Convention Center at 5:00 to congratulate this year’s STANYS award recipients. Our award ceremony will be followed with a conference highlight featuring a panel discussion with international and national experts in science education including: Joe Krajcik, Okhee Lee, Peter McLaren, Renae Pullen, and Helen Quinn who will share their perspectives around the TIRS theme. Thank you to Texas Instruments for sponsoring this remarkable panel.
On Sunday, join another highlight featuring four members of the NGSS writing team and authors of NSTA books including: Rodger Bybee, Mary Colson, Richard Duschl, and Okhee Lee in a spirited discussion around Contemporary Leadership in Science Education. If you missed one of the Saturday institutes, you will have another chance to attend STANYS institutes to learn specific pedagogical techniques and skills for your area of teaching and discipline of science. Our Directors at Large and Subject Area Representatives have worked hard to make these institutes most meaningful for you. Join award winning author Shawn Otto for our Sunday evening Fellow’s Address and learn about compelling solutions to “three wars on science”.
Monday’s events will be highlighted with an Argument Driven Inquiry full-day institute with Victor Sampson. Be sure to use your Post Card Home found in your registration bag to thank an administrator for allowing you to attend the conference or to invite a friend to be with you here next year as STANYS celebrates 125 years. Thank you to all our STANYS leaders who make our annual conference a huge success.
The front cover of this year’s conference program reminds us of the impact we have with students each day and our responsibility to improve science teaching and learning in our classrooms in order to prepare our students for their future. An important element of responsibility is empowerment toward taking action and achieving tasks. As you engage in professional learning experiences within the STANYS community this weekend, I encourage you to reflect on the TIRS vision. We can not progress without transformation and we can not transform without thinking abstractly.
Transformation isn’t just about projects or programs; it is about people: our leaders and our members. We’ll transform ourselves by seizing opportunities to innovate, removing barriers to progress and challenging each other to think differently. This is all of us-Transforming, Together.
Best wishes for a wonderful conference experience.
Kenneth L. Huff
2019-20 STANYS President