A Delaware business’ $100,000 donation will allow 200 science teachers from across the state to continue in a leadership and professional learning program.
LabWare’s donation will allow the NextGen Teacher Leader project to extend into a third year.
Governor Jack Markell thanked Vance Kershner, president and CEO of LabWare, a Delaware-based laboratory informatics company, for his company’s continued support.
Under the NextGen Teacher Leader program, educators from across the state have developed and field tested units aligned to the new standards, sharing their knowledge and experiences with their colleagues in their buildings and across the state.
“The NextGen Teacher Leader project is not only an important initiative for supporting quality science education but also an opportunity for science educators to take on leadership responsibilities, one that allows them to do this without leaving the classroom for an administrative position,” Markell said.
This is the second gift LabWare has made to the program. Two years ago, LabWare donated $60,000 to help the state launch the program.
“LabWare is honored to be able to continue to support this very special initiative that will allow Delaware educators to continue their development and will allow students to understand core scientific concepts, to understand the scientific process of developing and testing ideas, and to have a greater ability to evaluate scientific evidence,” Kershner said.
Delaware was among 26 states that participated in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize inquiry, engineering design and understanding the broad concepts common to all scientific disciplines. The State Board of Education unanimously adopted the standards in September 2013, and the state has spent the years since preparing for implementation.
“For more than 200 years, our state has had a tradition of innovation in the sciences and technology, and employers continue to seek employees skilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. If we are going to ensure that Delaware students can meet that need, Delaware schools need to effectively prepare them for STEM careers,” Markell said. “That is why this investment means so much.”
Michelle Kutch, Brandywine School District’s director of STEM, science and social studies and co-chair of the Delaware Science Coalition, said that with the adoption of new standards comes the need for new curricula materials and a great deal of professional development for teachers.
“This is no easy feat and typically brings a large price tag that not one local education agency can carry on its own. The Science Coalition relies on the collaborative philosophy of sharing resources among member districts and charters, however new initiatives require monies above and beyond our budget. We are very thankful for the generosity of LabWare’s donation to our teacher leader program. We will be able to continue building our capacity in teacher leadership by providing quality professional development to our staff in supporting science education throughout the state,” she said.
Shelley Rouser, director of K12 initiatives and educator engagement at the Delaware Department of Education, said investments such as this in our teachers are so valuable.
“When it comes to ensuring the best education for our students – the best science education – we know it’s more about investing in people and less about purchasing programs. That is what is so significant about LabWare’s support,” she said. “Their trust in and support of teacher training and leadership development supported the launch of this teacher leader program two years ago, and we are thankful that they are committed to support sustaining it.”