In The News

Are teachers treated as professionals? Possibility for an NSELA Survey

Posted: September 4, 2019

Updates from NSELA Board of Directors

Our Executive Team and Board of Directors are back in the swing of things having meetings and making decisions for a successful 2019-2020

August Board of Directors highlights:

  • We welcomed new names and faces to the board:

    • Betsy Barent Region E 

    • Mark Case Region C

    • Brian Kruse Nominations and Elections

    • Brian Carey Affiliates (second term!)

    • Kim Feltre (Membership)

    • Mary Loesing Region A

  • Discussion of connecting with our “state -SELA’s” - these are the affiliates of NSELA which have not have a formal connection with NSELA.  We would be able to provide a national voice, some coherence to the groups of leaders, and they would gain the “nuts and bolts” of what we already pay for from Civica that we could share with them (e.g. website, registration, connection to our network of speakers, etc.).  A win win! 

  • Our Summer Leadership Institute location was decided: Austin, Texas, from July 7-11 at the Omni Southpark.

    • Our Professional Development Committee - led by Elizabeth Mulkerrin, will be working on the agenda.

  • The 2020 OASA and OLISE Awards will be posted by the end of September once we confirm sponsors.

    • We recognize that most of us did not get here, as leaders, alone.  Please considering nominating someone transformational to your professional life for one of these prestigious awards. 

  • Please consider joining a committee or running for office of NSELA - we would love to have you more involved on our team.  If you have questions, contact me.  

Are teachers treated as professionals? Possibility for an Informal NSELA Survey

As I was planning to support teachers for summer professional learning and summer curriculum work in my school district last summer, I realized that within my colleagues (curriculum specialists from many content areas) we have personal differences on how we view teacher pay for additional work.  This leads to a bigger question, so I wanted to bring this up to you - NSELA membership - assuming if I had this question, you may have it too - to see where the “nation” lies on this issue.  

Possible issues with teacher professionalism:

  • Shortage of teachers (Out of field teachers)

  • Teacher Pay

  • Teacher Training, “Most full-time employees in the private sector receive training on company time at company expense. Teachers seeking to advance must earn higher degrees or certifications on their own time.” HERE

  • Performance of the U.S. education system compared to the rest of the top performing countries

  • Teacher perceptions of self - do they say, “I am JUST a teacher…” ?  

What has been done recently to address this?

  • President of the Southern Regional Education Board, Stephen Pruitt spoke at our recent NSELA Summer Leadership Institute on, “Science and the Big Picture” - where he advocated for teachers as professionals.  Stephen and Roger Bybee’s book, “Perspectives on Science Education: A Leadership Seminar” (2017) goes into much more depth on the topic.

  • Out of Field Teaching Conference Meeting Spring of 2019 - attended by our NSELA Treasurer Ann Hammersly 

  • What else?  Please email me… 

What could NSELA do? 

I am going to work with NSELA Executive Committee and Board of Directors to consider a brief survey to address to get a picture of how we currently treat teachers as professionals back home in our districts, regions, or states.  From what comes back, maybe our NSELA baseline could be used immediately or be a call to action to develop a position statement. I also envision uses ranging from:

  • refer to the NSELA data in local conversations about teacher professionalism 

  • as we prepare to provide programs for PK-12 teachers, things to consider for teacher compensation

  • as we ask teachers to do additional summer work, things to consider for teacher compensation

  • as we advocate for ourselves (teachers) to be better supported in our learning

Thank you for reading this update - and I hope to see you over Zoom (webinar, board committee work) or in person at one of our upcoming professional learning opportunities.   Please contact me anytime with questions.


James Blake, Ed.D.

2019-2020 NSELA President

James Blake, Ed.D. is the K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist at Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He held multiple science state leadership roles as State Director of Science Education for the Nebraska Department of Education and Nebraska Director of Science Olympiad.   Follow Dr. Blake on Twitter: @lpssci @drjblakesci @lnkse @nselascience or email: [email protected]

Members View Our Webinar Recordings!

Posted: September 5, 2019

Members, be sure to check out our archived webinars online! You must be logged into your profile to view these free recordings. Not a member? Join NSELA today! 


Check out upcoming webinars here!


"A Safety Minute" by Dr. Ken Roy - NSELA Safety Compliance Officer

Posted: September 4, 2019

NSELA Safety Minute by Dr. Ken Roy – NSELA Safety Compliance Officer - For current safety updates five days a week, follow Dr. Ken on [email protected].

“Safer Science Labs” – NSTA August Safety Blog commentary by Dr. Ken – Chief NSTA Blogger & NSELA Safety Compliance Officer – Know the steps to providing safer science lab activities via RAMPing up safety by ACS and AAA - Driving home lab safety by NSTA.  Need to see before planning lab work this coming school year for a safer teaching/learning experience.


"A Safety Minute" by Dr. Ken Roy - NSELA Safety Compliance Officer

Posted: August 30, 2019

NSELA Safety Minute by Dr. Ken Roy – NSELA Safety Compliance Officer - For current safety updates five days a week, follow Dr. Ken on [email protected].

"Developing a Culture of Safety through Departmental Planning!" How can school systems establish consistent policies and practices for addressing T&E education safety issues? This is applicable to Tech & Engineering, STEM, Physics labs and more.  Check  out  this article on ITEEA's Technology and Engineering Teacher Safety Spotlight article Volume 79, Issue 1 - September 2019




Thank You OpenSciEd Executive Director, Jim Ryan! 

Posted: August 30, 2019

NSELA would like to thank Jim Ryan for hosting a free members-only webinar on August 29th!
Miss the webinar? Don't Worry - the webinar playback will be available to the public soon!

Webinar Description:

  • OpenSciEd was launched to improve the supply of and demand for high-quality, open-source, science instructional materials, while supporting the implementation of the NGSS.
  • The goals of OpenSciEd are to ensure any science teacher, anywhere, can access and download freely available, high quality, locally adaptable full-course materials.
  • This month OpenSciEd released its initial units.  Jim Ryan will discuss these publicly available materials, the OpenSciEd project and development process, along with timeline to a full middle grades program.


James Ryan, OpenSciEd Executive Director

Mr. Ryan has worked in a variety of capacities to improve STEM education for all students. He was a high school mathematics teacher and site administrator for ten years. He worked as an analyst, programmer, and team lead for Apple Computers, and then served in several leadership roles at Key Curriculum Press, a leading publisher of mathematics and science tools and curricula. In his work at Key he was Vice President of Professional Development and Marketing teams and led the creation of a new division focused on supporting the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Prior to his current role, STEM Executive Director for San Francisco Unified School District where he oversaw the development and implementation of core curricula in math and science as well as the computer science for all initiative in SFUSD.

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