Oregon Science Teachers Association

President's Message

Jomae Mertz Sica, Biology & Chemistry Instructor at Forest Grove High School and STEM TOSA for Forest Grove School District

The more I travel around the state and meet with educators, the more I realize the need for professional development around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I am excited to lead OSTA during this time as we have a unique opportunity to coordinate and lead professional development that will help teachers transition to a student-directed, three-dimensional learning environment that weaves together the Disciplinary Core Ideas, Scientific and Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts in a way makes learning relevant and accessible to all students. This will ensure the future growth of Oregon’s economy by enticing and encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM fields where the most job growth and earning opportunities will be found.

This year, I hope to start expanding our professional development opportunities to our rural regions in the East, South, and on the Coast. Before coming to Oregon, I was a teacher in a rural Idaho district and I know that teaching in these areas comes with unique challenges such as instructing multiple levels and subjects, not having colleagues to collaborate within the building, and not having close access to high quality professional development to drive the iteration of my curriculum. This is why I am committed to expanding our regional meetings to more rural areas of the state so teachers can network with others in their area while picking up new ideas for their classroom. Also, OSTA, in conjunction with Eastern Oregon University and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub has just received an Oregon Math and Science Partnership grant from the Oregon Department of Education that will train 40 emerging Oregon science education leaders to prepare them to successfully implement science professional development based on the 2014 Oregon Science Standards (NGSS).

This is an exciting time for science educators and I am proud that OSTA is playing an active role in shaping the future. Educators across our state are creating amazing experiences for our students and I hope to provide more spaces and times that we can share with one another. Please join us!

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