Community Profiles and Local Partners: SSEP on STS-134


View SSEP STS-134 Communities on a larger map


SSEP on STS-134, the Final Flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour

Experiment Design Competition and Selection of Flight Experiments: Fall 2010
Flight to ISS: launched May 16, 2011; returned to Earth June 1, 2011

 

The 16 communities profiled below provided the opportunity for 19,700 grade 5-14 students, across 53 schools, to design and propose real experiments to fly aboard the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-134).

 

1. Shelton, Connecticut

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 2,500 grade 7-12 students in 2 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The Shelton Public School System seeks to motivate and inspire the current and future generations of young people to pursue careers in STEM related fields. We are committed to helping the United States maintain a leadership role in the economic and technological global marketplace of the 21st century. The Shelton Board of Education and the Shelton Public Schools seek opportunities to strengthen education in the areas of STEM education for both our educators and students. In pursuit of opportunities to improve the way our students learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics, we seek partnerships with businesses, organizations, and local colleges and universities across our community and region. In this vein, the SSEP provides a multi-faceted approach to community engagement, supporting student experiments across a broad range of scientific disciplines and reflecting the very best in STEM education. The SSEP will allow our students to act as real scientists, and be a part of a truly historic mission they will never forget. The Shelton Public School System is the only school system in the State of Connecticut that has secured an experiment slot on STS-134, scheduled to launch in February of 2011. This is nothing short of a celebration of learning for our entire community.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Shelton Public School System
Connecticut Space Grant College Consortium
PerkinElmer

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Tina Henckel
Assistant Director for STEM Education & Data Management, Shelton Public Schools
thenckel@sheltonpublicschools.org

 

2. Broward County, Florida

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 1,200 grade 6-8 students in 1 school

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Broward County Public Schools, a public school district serving Broward County, Florida, is the nation’s sixth largest public school system and the largest fully accredited district in the nation, with over 260,000 students. Crystal Lake Middle school is located in South Florida and consists of a very diverse student population. Our goal is to provide a rigorous, yet relevant education to all students, regardless of their culture and/or background.

We strive for all of our students to become productive members of the 21st century. We accomplish this by empowering them to excel academically, socially, and emotionally, while using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts to reach that goal. Crystal Lake Middle has a renown Science and Pre-engineering magnet program. Students use STEM concepts to program robots, create new inventions and of course, build rockets. Our most sophisticated rockets actually use rocket fuel.

SSEP lends itself to STEM activities that produce team-building, problem solving and communication skills. The SSEP allows students to collaborate and act as real scientists. We are fortunate to have the Florida Space Grant Consortium fund our school to participate in this historic event. It will be something our students, teachers and community will remember for years to come.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Broward County Schools
Florida Space Grant Consortium
Florida Atlantic University
Rand Eye Institute
OSU Extension Why Trees Matter Signature Program
OSU Extension North East Region
Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Secrest Arboretum

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Lenecia McCrary
Magnet Coordinator, Crystal Lake Middle School

Phillip Shaver
Science Department Chair and Science Coach, Crystal Lake Middle School

 

3. Orange County, Florida

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 1,100 grade 6-8 students in 2 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Orange County Public Schools is the 10th largest school district in the country and the 4th largest school district in Florida. OCPS has 180 schools with nearly 175,000 students in grades K-12. Our large student population boasts students who speak 166 languages and originate from 212 countries.

Our elementary students will likely be entering a 21st first century workplace using technology and information systems that have not yet been developed. Industry demands in these evolving fields are now requiring a shift in pedagogy within the PK-12 curricula. To address the need, OCPS is embedding STEM into the main streams of the K-12 curriculum through problem, project, and performance-based learning. Our STEM initiative is designed to help enable the OCPS vision: to be the top producer of successful students in the nation. The STEM initiative focuses heavily on industry partnerships, which ground outcomes and objectives in local and national industry needs.

The SSEP aligns with our strategic plan for STEM education, engaging students in problem solving and inquiry-based learning. Maitland and Glenridge Middle Schools will be participating in the program, with ongoing support from Orange County Public Schools.

The SSEP project was funded by the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools through a generous donation from the Community Foundation of Central Florida.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Orange County Public Schools
The Foundation for Orange County Public Schools
Community Foundation of Central Florida

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Mariel Milano
K-12 STEM Resource Teacher, Orange County Public Schools
mariel.milano@ocps.net

 

4. Lincolnwood, Illinois

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 557 grade 5-8 students in 2 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Lincolnwood School District 74 is a K-8 district that is home to a diverse population of students speaking 43 languages. The district’s vision is a community of learners actively engaging students in the pursuit of learning and empowering them to be productive contributors to society and the world. We work as students, families, educators, and community to promote the highest standard of quality education, and produce confident, self-reliant, and determined learners.

In terms of strategic direction in STEM, Lincolnwood School District 74 is working to strengthen STEM education for both students and faculty. This is especially important because our Niles Township High Schools have new STEM labs and STEM Inquiry and Research (SIRS) classes, allowing students to collaborate with each other, carry out sophisticated research, and communicate with professionals who act as mentors. These STEM facilities feature state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and are laid out to promote collaboration and drive student exploration. We are participating in SSEP given how well it is tailored to the vision and capabilities of our STEM program. It is an inspirational project providing an opportunity for our students to design real experiments for space, and is pushing both our students and teachers in new directions in STEM education that will  improve our methods of learning and education far into the future.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Lincolnwood School District 74

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Sharon Churchwell, NBCT
6th Grade Science Teacher & Gifted Education Specialist, Lincolnwood School District 74
schurchwell@sd74.org

 

5. Jefferson County, Kentucky

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 475 grade 9-12 students in 1 school

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
As Jefferson County Public Schools Aerospace and Energy Technology Magnet, The Academy @ Shawnee threads a STEM focus throughout our curricula and strives to become the districts primary source for Aerospace and Energy Technology resources. We are the only intercity school in the country where students can learn to fly, earn 24 college credits while working towards their Airframe and Powerplant License or, focus on becoming an Aerospace Engineer.

The Academy provides unique instruction that integrates cutting edge science, technology, engineering, and math through our Aerospace and Energy Technology foci. SSEP is an excellent example of how a STEM related opportunity placed in an inquiry-based academic setting can result in a real world experience for high school students. Many of our students’ dream of working in the Aerospace industry someday; SSEP is giving those students a glimpse of that reality today. It doesn’t get any more real than having your work be a part of the last mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Partner Institutions
Lead: The Academy @ Shawnee
NASA Kentucky Space Grant Consortium and EPSCoR Programs

Jefferson County Public Schools, Information Technology
Jefferson County Public Schools, Telecommunications Unit

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
William VanderMeer
Magnet Coordinator, The Academy @ Shawnee
William.VanderMeer@Jefferson.kyschools.us

Bo Lowrey
Director Telecommunications, Jefferson County Public Schools
Bo.Lowrey@jefferson.kyschools.us

 

6. Zachary, Louisiana

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 710 grade 5-12 students in 3 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
As Louisiana’s top performing school district the Zachary Community School District is committed to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. We offer rich STEM learning experiences for all students in each of our seven community schools. We collaborate with local universities on numerous STEM projects and we are extremely proud to boast that we are the only school district in Louisiana that is taking part in the SSEP! Our 5th-12th grade students had the opportunity to design investigations, conduct research and complete 21 proposals critiqued by local scientists, engineers and university professors. Participation in the SSEP program has inspired ZCSD teachers and students to open doors to the unpredictable path to real world applications of science. SSEP has helped prove that teaching and learning are not limited to the written text and are only truly achieved through in-depth hands-on opportunities! SSEP and other exemplary STEM projects are the keys unlocking the world of science to our students in the ZCSD. The SSEP project funded and supported by the Louisiana Space Consortium and the ZCSD school board is an example of our district’s dedication to excellence in the STEM fields. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for our entire community!

Partner Institutions
Lead: Zachary Community School District
Louisiana Space Consortium (LaSPACE)

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Tammy Wood
District Coordinator of Special Programs, Zachary Community School District
Tammy.Wood@zacharyschools.org

 

7. St. Mary’s County, Maryland

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 1,830 grade 8-12 students in 7 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Located in Southern Maryland, with a student population of about 17,290 students, our mission is to “Know the learner and the learning, expecting excellence in both. Accept no excuses educating ALL with rigor, relevance, respect, and positive relationships.” We have developed a rigorous and unique program of STEM emphasizing the core areas of mathematics and science with an infusion of technology and engineering. Our guiding principles for STEM include extensive laboratory experiences with diverse technological applications, intensive communication assignments designed to refine verbal and visual communication abilities necessary to participate in nationally recognized academic and engineering competitions, and an environment of intellectual and technical exchange with local business and industry mentors. Students in Grade 8 and in high school Chemistry classes will be participating in SSEP. This project perfectly exemplifies student generated experimentation, communicating and presenting a scientific proposal, and collaboration with our community business and industry mentors.

Partner Institutions
Lead: St. Mary’s County Public Schools
Maryland Space Grant Consortium
St. Mary’s Hospital
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Naval Air Station Patuxent River

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Linda Musial, Ph.D.
Supervisor of STEM, St. Mary’s County Public Schools
ljmusial@scmps.org

Claudia Wortman
Supervisor of Instruction for Science, St. Mary’s County Public Schools
cgwortman@smcps.org

 

8. Harry A. Burke High School, Omaha, Nebraska

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 2,090 grade 9-12 students in 1 school

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Harry A. Burke High serves 2,091 students of various ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds in grades 9-12. Burke High is dedicated to providing students with exemplary education through the collaborative efforts of students, parents, staff, and community. Students attending Burke receive a comprehensive high school experience with course selections including college preparatory classes, AP and honors classes, and specialized career electives. Burke High has recently taken on a school-wide focus of Space Education, which, has strong ties to STEM education. The SSEP provides students in grades 9-12 an opportunity to design and create a product that will utilize students’ written and oral communication skills, problem-solving, and collaboration while extending their science content knowledge. Thus the SSEP helps Burke High meet STEM goals.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Harry A. Burke High School
NASA Nebraska Space Grant

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Michael Sortino
Curriculum Specialist, Harry A. Burke High School
Michael.sortino@ops.org

Chris Schaben
Science Supervisor, Omaha Public Schools
chris.schaben@ops.org

 

9. Omaha North High Magnet School, Omaha, Nebraska

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 1,920 grade 9-12 students in 1 school

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Omaha North High School is the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Magnet for the Omaha Public School, with the aim to enhance socio-economic diversity and maximize educational excellence. Omaha North has won many state and national awards for curriculum innovation. North offers the fullest complement of higher-level mathematics courses, including 7 college-level courses. Omaha North is the only engineering program in the Midwest certified by Project Lead the Way, a national consortium of schools providing pre-engineering courses eligible for college credit.

As a STEM school, Omaha North’s staff is dedicated to preparing students for a highly technological, global society through real-life applications, service learning, and interacting with professionals. The SSEP provides all students in grades 9-12 an opportunity to design and create a STEM product that will utilize students’ skills in written and oral communication, problem-solving, and collaboration, while extending their science content knowledge.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Omaha North High Magnet School
NASA Nebraska Space Grant

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Dan Sitzman
Curriculum Specialist, Omaha North High Magnet School
dan.sitzman@ops.org

Chris Schaben
Science Supervisor, Omaha Public Schools
chris.schaben@ops.org

 

10. Central Consolidated School District, New Mexico

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 300 grade 5-12 students in 6 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Central Consolidated School District is New Mexico’s 11th largest school district, in terms of area, and covers about 3,000 square miles in the Four Corners region. It serves the communities of Kirtland, Ojo Amarillo, Newcomb, Naschitti and Shiprock, New Mexico. The district serves approximately 7,000 students: 89% of the students are Navajo, 9% are Anglo and 2% are Hispanic. Through generous support from the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, all CCSD students in grades 7-12 received the opportunity to participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

STEM initiatives are central to CCSD’s Enrichment Program, which seeks to provide students with opportunities for high-end real world learning with an emphasis on the scientific method. During the 2009-2010 school year, nearly two dozen CCSD teachers received training in the RIP® (Research Investigation Process) from ANOVA Science Education, a program designed to enhance systematic classroom instruction in the scientific method and the development of meaningful experiments. These teachers are now the core for SSEP participation.

CCSD works with its communities to promote student excellence while honoring local traditions and values.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Central Consolidated School District
New Mexico Space Grant Consortium

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Scott Nicolay
Enrichment Coordinator, Central Consolidated School District
nicos@centralschools.org

 

11. Ballston Spa, New York

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 1,500 grade 5-12 students in 6 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The Ballston Spa Central School District currently serves 4,400 students from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Our STEM initiatives connect the students’ classroom experience to real world experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Our schools are leaders in the region in innovative academic programming, provide a rigorous and challenging academic program, and are at the forefront of providing curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of emerging technologies and 21st century skills. The Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) provides students the opportunity to participate in authentic experimental research in a process very similar to that in which scientists participate throughout their careers. Our district goals and this initiative are also in line with our participation in the Empire State STEM Learning Network, an initiative under development throughout New York State to advance learning and teaching opportunities for all students and teachers in STEM.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Ballston Spa Central School District
GLOBALFOUNDRIES

The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology

AmeriCulture Inc. (link coming soon)

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Diane Irwin
K-12 Science Coordinator, Ballston Spa Central School District
dirwin@bscsd.org

 

12. Guilford County, North Carolina

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 3,700 grade 6-8 students in 5 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Guilford County Schools (GCS) is the third largest school district in North Carolina serving more than 71,000 students at 121 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, GCS is a national leader in providing specialized schools and instructional programs designed to meet the educational needs of a culturally diverse citizenship.

The district’s strategic plan calls for the development of inquiry-based science instruction. GCS is also committed to working with local colleges and universities to provide students with opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Five middle schools in the district’s Northern Region will submit experiment proposals to be considered for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP).  We are excited that the SSEP is giving our students the opportunity to step into the shoes of professional researchers, collaborate in teams, and develop experiments for spaceflight — one of which will fly on STS-134, the final flight of Endeavour. GCS is the only district in North Carolina currently participating in the SSEP, and we hope the program inspires our students to become interested in pursuing STEM-related careers.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Guilford County Schools
North Carolina Space Grant

Burroughs Wellcome Fund
SAMET Corporation
The John G.B. Jr. and Jane R. Ellison Family Foundation, Inc.

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Mrs. Shirley Stipe-Zendle
Student Service Administrator, Guilford County Schools – Northern Region

Dr. Darcy Kemp
Regional Executive Director
Organization: Guilford County Schools – Northern Region

 

13. Portland, Oregon

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 600 grade 6-8 students in 1 school

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Portland Public Schools, founded in 1851, is an urban school district in Portland, Oregon. With approximately 47,000 students in 85 schools, it is the largest school district in the Pacific Northwest. Jackson Middle School, a Leonard Bernstein School for Artful Learning, serves 600 students in grades 6-8 in SW Portland. Participation in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program has energized our community around science and technology supporting our district’s Science Vision Statement: “When science is learned through scientific inquiry, students are able to view science as an interdisciplinary study applicable to the changing world.” All students at Jackson had the opportunity to participate in SSEP by entering proposals in the experimental design competition. This real-life scientific application has given students the ability to move way beyond the classroom in their scientific endeavours.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Jackson Middle School, Portland Public Schools
Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium

Portland State University / Dr. Mark Weislogel

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Director
Jennifer Kelley
6th Grade Teacher, Jackson Middle School

 

14. El Paso, Texas

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 970 grade 10-11 students, and college freshman and sophomores, in 2 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The El Paso Community College (EPCC) and the Transmountain T-STEM Early College High School (TMECHS) collaboratively work toward expanding the number of graduates in the El Paso, Texas community with Associate’s degrees in STEM-related career fields. EPCC is a multi-campus, Hispanic Serving Institution, that serves 30,000 students. The Transmountain Campus provides educational programs for northeast El Paso and serves over 4,000 credit students each semester. TMECHS is adjacent to the Transmountain Campus.

A partnership was established between the two entities in 2008 that provides hands-on STEM research experiences that address community needs and potential solutions. The direct focus and alignment to community needs creates awareness for the benefits of producing additional STEM graduates in a predominantly Hispanic community.

The SSEP experience will allow our students to collaboratively conduct experiments that enhance and extend their local STEM research experiences provided by the EPCC/TMECHS partnership. By participating in the upcoming mission, the student researchers are given the chance to think outside the box; connect their learning to a cutting edge and high profile scientific and educational opportunity; and make use of resources beyond the El Paso area that would otherwise be unavailable.

The EPCC/TMECHS STEM partnership is the only one of its kind within the state of Texas to be afforded the opportunity to participate in the STS-134 mission in February 2011. The opportunity is truly an “out of this world” experience for the El Paso community.

Partner Institutions
Lead: El Paso Community College Transmountain Campus
Transmountain T-STEM Early College High School
Foundation for El Paso Community College
Texas Space Grant Consortium

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Dr. Maria Alvarez
Professor of Biology, El Paso Community College
Director, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program
Director, Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program

Dianne Jones
Principal, Transmountain Early College High School

 

15. Canyons School District, Utah

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 110 grade 9-12 students in 12 schools

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
Canyons School District is Utah’s first new school district to be created in nearly 100 years. A STEM initiative was launched at the formation of the school district to encourage an increase in rigor and relevance in math and science education. Canyons School District students participate in Mini STEM Centers and STEM Academies. Teachers work closely with students on STEM problems in lab settings, encouraging preparedness for more rigorous college level coursework. Support is available through partnerships including local universities and businesses. It is one intent of the STEM Academies and Centers to provide support for student competition at the district, state, and national levels inclusive of the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Canyons School District
University of Utah, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Utah State University, Department of Physics
University of Idaho, Dr. Ed Galindo

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Michelle Amiot
Evidence-Based Learning Specialist, Canyons School District
michelle.amiot@canyonsdistrict.org

Rachel Hill
Evidence-Based Learning Specialist
Canyons School District
rachel.hill@canyonsdistrict.org

 

16. Seattle, Washington

Program Scope
Opportunity provided to 150 grade 11-12 students in 1 school

Community Statement on SSEP and Strategic Alignment to Local STEM Education Need
The mission of the Science Program in Seattle Public Schools is to ensure that all students are able to investigate scientifically in order to acquire conceptual understanding of their world, develop positive scientific attitudes, and become scientifically literate. This is accomplished through a collaborative, interactive, rigorous science program responsive to the needs of diverse learners. Through multiple programs and opportunities, a major goal is to motivate and inspire students to pursue careers in STEM related fields in order for Puget Sound and the nation to keep a competitive edge in scientific discovery and innovation.

Seattle Public Schools benefits from multiple partnerships within the large scientific community in the region. There have been intensive and effective reform efforts to strengthen student achievement as well as to offer rich learning opportunities for students in STEM education. The SSEP is a unique program that provides a rare opportunity for our high school students to work with their teachers and scientists from the Institute for Systems Biology and to collaborate on developing real-world experiments. These students will be engaged with the historic flight of STS-134 in February 2011, and Seattle Public Schools has secured an experiment slot on STS-134. The learning from the SSEP will be shared with citizens in the city of Seattle and inspire many more students to participate in such projects and in STEM fields in the future.

Partner Institutions
Lead: Seattle Public Schools
Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium
Institute for Systems Biology
Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences

SSEP Mission Participation
STS-134

SSEP Community Program Co-Directors
Elaine Woo
Science Program Manager, Seattle Public Schools
ewoo@seattleschools.org

Eric Muhs
Teacher, Ballard High School

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The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.