ASTA purpose is to promote within the teaching group the highest professional practices, to encourage science teachers to exercise the right and privilege to accept leadership in scientific affairs, and to encourage effective cooperation among existing science teaching organization, educational institutions and agencies which similarly seek to advance science education.
 

I am honored to serve as ASTA President for 2013, and I am humbled at the prospect of filling the shoes of our previous Presidents.  We all know the challenges of teaching and each year we make the choice to embrace those challenges.  We recognize the important role we play in developing globally viable citizens as we guide the academic, civic and social growth of our students.  This calendar year proves to be no exception.  In fact, along with the new Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) for all teachers, science teachers anticipate the release of new science standards. 
TESS, the new evaluation system, will manifest as a yearly portfolio of artifacts compiled by each teacher as he or she documents the practice and growth of his or her craft.  As described on the Arkansas Department of Education website, TESS is intended, in part, to provide an evaluation system that promotes professional learning (3.01.1) and encourages teachers to improve their knowledge and instructional skills (3.01.2).  Possible artifacts that will be accepted as evidence of achieving the above goals include lesson plans or pacing guides aligned with state standards (4.01.2.1), participation in professional development (4.01.2.3), and contributions to parent, community, or professional meetings (4.01.2.4). There seems to be no better time to become a member of ASTA or to encourage others to join.   
In keeping lessons aligned with state standards, science teachers will continue to use the science frameworks revised in 2005.  Educators and stakeholders anxiously await the final release of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in March.  After the likely adoption of NGSS, Arkansas science teachers will begin the process of transitioning from the current frameworks to the new standards.  Aligning instruction to the new standards may mean refreshing our knowledge on certain content components long-addressed in other grades or by other science disciplines.  ASTA and its listserve will prove an invaluable resource for ideas and announcements of workshops and conferences.
Your support of our state level professional organization is crucial in helping to meet the needs of Arkansas educators.  Dues of just $15.00 per year and the convenience of payment through Paypal make it easy to join Arkansas Science Teachers Association.  Join us as the preparation and planning of the annual Arkansas Curriculum Conference begins.  We will be working hard to produce/choose proposals that will best address the needs of Arkansas educators.

Alayna Duren

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