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Aug. 8, 2002     

Ann Hutchison                                                                                                         

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-3039 or 650/604-9000

E-mail: ahutchison@mail.arc.nasa.gov ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ        


                                                      

RELEASE: 02-89AR

NASA REACHES OUT TO TEACHERS OF MIGRANT FARM-WORKER CHILDREN

California teachers in schools with a higher-than-average percentage of students from migrant farm-worker families soon will take part in a unique workshop featuring the exciting educational resources available from NASA.

In collaboration with the National Hispanic University (NHU), San Jose, Calif. and Integrated Space Technologies (IST), Huntsville, Ala., NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley will sponsor the workshop from Aug. 11-16, 2002. Sixteen teachers of grades 4 through 6 from disadvantaged rural school districts with significant numbers of students from Spanish-speaking migrant farm-worker families are scheduled to attend. This will be a first-of-its-kind, one-week-long professional development opportunity offered by NASA.

                                                                                                                                   

“We are very pleased to offer this opportunity for teachers to potentially impact migrant farm worker children’s futures by inspiring them to choose careers in math and science,” said Adriana Cardenas, chief of the NASA Ames Equal Opportunity Programs Office. Cardenas’ office is providing funding for the workshop through a grant to National Hispanic University. IST is providing technical support services.

“NHU and IST share mutual interests in supporting the outreach of math and science opportunities to underserved teachers and students,” said Dr. Josephine Hawkins, NHU vice provost for academic affairs. ”NHU prides itself on being a model for other universities to follow in the areas of outreach and service to the Hispanic community.”

The workshop will expose teachers to NASA’s educational products and services, and offer suggested ways for them to incorporate these resources into their state-mandated math/science curriculum in an effort to enrich their local classes. Managers and researchers from NASA Ames also will present information about current research that may be incorporated into the curriculum and may inspire students to pursue ‘science fair’ or school-wide projects.

"It’s easy to forget that the children of the people who harvest our food have dreams, too. But they don't have the resources to ‘surf the Web’ after school and dream of being astronauts and scientists,” said Annette Rodrigues, IST president. “We are pleased to be part of a program that will give these teachers the ideas and tools to foster such dreams.” Rodrigues hopes to expand the workshop to other parts of the country “where the children of migrant workers are at risk of being forgotten in today's high-tech world.”

Workshop participants will receive college or continuing education units (CEUs). Participating teachers will be provided lodging, transportation costs to and from NASA Ames, CEU registration fees and a small stipend during their stay at NASA Ames.

Mornings to mid-afternoons will be spent on-site at NASA Ames, where participants will become familiar with a variety of NASA educational resources, including the Aeronautics Education Lab, the Ames Aerospace Encounter, the Ames Educator Resource Center (with bilingual curriculum supplements), educational technology tools, and ‘NASA Quest’ distance-learning opportunities. Special attention will be given to how Web-based products and services can be adapted for use in schools that lack computer resources.

Selected researchers and managers will participate in briefings and demonstrations of leading-edge research. An educational consultant will facilitate late afternoon and evening workshops, with participation by NASA staff. During these times teachers will brainstorm applications of the resources to their own classroom situations. This workshop time will be used to develop strategies for inspiring interest in math and science among the targeted student population.

NASA increasingly has recognized the importance of providing educational outreach programs to younger students. The sense of wonder and excitement inspired in students at a young age stimulates an interest and motivation to pursue the necessary education in mathematics and science that can lead to successful post-secondary education in mathematics, science, engineering and technology. NASA recognizes that efforts to reach these students will contribute to a diverse workforce that can meet the technical challenges of the future.

“Unfortunately, teachers from rural schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students often are unaware of the educational resources available or have special challenges in adapting these resources to the specific needs of migrant farm worker children,” Cardenas said.

This workshop will leverage the available NASA resources by providing teachers with the opportunity to learn how to incorporate the resources into their curriculum. Through the interactive residential program, teachers also will develop and share strategies for using the resources to inspire students from this severely disadvantaged and underrepresented population.

More information about the workshop is available on the Internet at:

www.ist-hsv.com/workshop

For information about NHU, visit:

www.nhu.edu

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