COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Update: Virginias Implementation of "Building a Presence for Science" - A Science Standards of Learning Leadership, Networking, and Training Program
Now that the 2002-2003 school year has begun, I wanted to provide you with an update on the "Building a Presence for Science" (BAPS) program and to reiterate the Department of Educations continued support for its implementation. The ExxonMobil Education Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) selected Virginia as one of the original 12 states to participate in this privately-funded initiative to create a comprehensive communications and professional development network.
Since the initial phase of the program in 1999, science key leaders working with principals and other division staff have identified 1,600 building-level science points of contact. Science key leaders and points of contact have had the opportunity for professional development training on the Science Standards of Learning.
The Department continues to support the BAPS program with the interaction of the science specialists and the division key leaders. These key leaders have assisted in the development and revision of the science standards and the teacher resource guide.
Billie Reid, the Virginia program coordinator, has been working closely with the Science Museum of Virginia and the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) to provide other important professional development opportunities for key science leaders. One program has been the introduction and use of the Virginia Science Resources Network, a resource providing Internet access to scientists and mentors for teachers and students statewide.
NSTA has introduced a BAPS Online Network. This site provides Virginia science key leaders, building points of contact, and state partners the opportunity to network and to share strategies and resources to assist in the implementation of the science standards. In addition to the BAPS Online Network program, NSTA and The ExxonMobil Education Foundation have provided funding to initiate a new professional development component, A ToolKit for Professional Development: Science as Inquiry. Regional academies introducing the toolkit will be provided to the Science Key Leaders in the spring of 2003. Key leaders will receive materials and a stipend for attending this training session.
The Building a Presence for Science program is a voluntary initiative, and I hope that your division will participate by naming and encouraging your key science leaders and points of contact to continue to take advantage of this professional network. Supporting the program can be an important component for implementing the Science Standards of Learning and professional development experiences.
Building a Presence science key leaders will have the opportunity to participate in a professional development activity in a meaningful watershed field experience at the Virginia Science Educational Leadership Association (VSELA) meeting on November 7, 2002, at the Science Museum of Virginia. A training session on the use of the NSTA BAPS online website will be given at the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) convention in Richmond, November 8-9,2002.
Additional details will be provided by the Virginia "Building a Presence for Science" coordinator. Please share this memorandum with your key instructional leader, and your division's science key leader. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the program coordinator, Billie Reid at (804) 786-5704, Eric Rhoades, elementary science specialist at (804) 225-2676, Jim Firebaugh, acting director middle school at (804) 225-2651 or Delores Dalton, secondary science specialist at (804) 371-0778.