Exploration of a Chemistry Teachers Association Joint Task Force

Division of Chemical Education (DivCHED)/Society Committee on Education (SOCED)
Susan Nurrenbern [nurrenbe@purdue.edu]

Sources of information identifying the needs of middle and high school chemistry teachers and the challenges facing classroom teachers are plentiful.  Information about how to effectively address and meet these professional needs and challenges is not clear. 

Groups within the American Chemical Society are concerned about the issues of chemistry education at the middle and high school levels and a task force to pursue possible solutions has been formed.  Quoting from the May 27, 2011 letter of invitation to serve on an ACS task force to address the issues of teachers of chemistry at the middle and high school levels:

“At their spring 2011 executive board meetings, both DivCHED and SOCED voted to form a joint task force to explore avenues for creating a chemistry teachers association or affiliation under the ACS umbrella that would meet the needs of middle and high school teachers.  This joint task force is designed to provide feedback and direction regarding the different forms that such an organization might take.”                

The May 27, 2011 letter included the following background information.

“In 2009, the ACS constituted a Board-Presidential Task Force on Education, which included four subcommittees.  The Subcommittee on Secondary Education recommended that ACS staff collect data to determine whether or not a national association of teachers of chemistry would be of value to the K-12 community and, if so, what would entice them to become involved.  In 2010, ACS staff surveyed thousands of high school chemistry teachers and conducted a small number of informal feedback groups.  When asked if they would join an association for high school chemistry teachers, nearly two-thirds of respondents (59.3%) said yes.  Another 36.1% said they didn’t know, while only 4.5% said no, they would not join.  The informal feedback groups validated the key survey results and provided input on possible incentives and disincentives for creating and joining a high school chemistry teachers association.”

Arlene Russell (Chair, DivCHED) and Mary Carroll (Chair, SOCED) appointed a small group of people representing a wide range of experience and expertise to serve on the task force.  Members of the task force and their professional connection to the focus of the task force are listed below.

The task force will prepare a preliminary report that focuses on how a successful, sustainable, and accessible professional organization(s) for teachers of chemistry in middle and high schools could be structured.  This preliminary report will be presented to DivCHED and SOCED at the National ACS meeting in San Diego, March 2012.   Recommendation for action is anticipated to take place at the Philadelphia National Meeting in August 2012.

Any insights, thoughts, ideas, feedback you might want to share with the task force about a potential high school chemistry organization are always welcome.  Any and all information about how the American Chemical Society and the Division of Chemical Education can help meet these very crucial needs is necessary.                                                                                            

Exploration of a Chemistry Teachers Association
Task Force Members

High School Teachers
Shelly Belleau, Colorado: active high school teacher
César Garza, Texas: active high school teacher [teaching is César’s 2nd career]
Jeff Hepburn, Iowa: active high school teacher
Diane Krone, New York: retired high school teacher
Laura Slocum, Indiana: active high school teacher

Teacher Preparation Faculty
Mike McGinnis, Georgia: North Georgia College
Don Wink, Illinois: University of Illinois–Chicago

ACS Committee Representatives
Lee Latimer: Local Section Activities (LSAC)
Jason Ritchie: Membership Affairs Committee (MAC)

ACS Support Staff
Terri Taylor: ACS Education Division, Assistant Director K-12 Science

Susan Nurrenbern: CHED 2010 Chair

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