In The News

The award is presented at the NSELA breakfast, held during the annual NSTA Conference. The award is accompanied by a check for $1,000 and a plaque donated by Pearson.

The 2019 awardee, MaryMargaret Welch, demonstrates ongoing exemplary leadership in Seattle Public Schools for eight years. She is instrumental in the successful Seattle Schools implementation of the Washington adopted Next Generation Science Standards in collaboration with universities, research firms, and community-based organizations.  Her work is transforming the science program into one which provides equitable access to all students, raises the level of instructional capacity for educators, and prepares students for a 21st century economy. Ms. Welch’s clear explanations and advocacy to parents, Board members and the community is improving K-12 science education in all Seattle Schools.

One example of her outstanding work is at the middle school level where Ms. Welch provided a 3-year professional development program for all middle school science teachers on implementation of NGSS with a lens on model-based instruction, embedding discourse strategies for sense-making, and 3D formative assessments funded by a Math-Science Partnership Grant.  She is a highly effective facilitator who guided teachers to make the shift in their pedagogy that NGSS requires. In collaboration with university partners, she co-developed a robust evaluation system that tracked shifts in teacher attitudes and learning, plus the impact on students’ academic progress and improvement in attitudes toward science.

MaryMargaret also led groundbreaking work at the high school level. This included creating awareness of the new standards, aligning curriculum with the standards, developing new NGSS aligned storyline units, and shifting classroom pedagogy.

Ms. Welch’s leadership extends to our global world. She is making an important impact in Kenya with her work as the founder and director of SeaVuria. Her nonprofit connects teachers and students in the Taita Hills of rural Kenya with teachers and students in Seattle to promote global awareness. SeaVuria supports teachers with tools and strategies for quality STEM education.

MaryMargaret Welch is described in her support letters as a natural leader. She is a catalyst for change in every task she undertakes. Her passion is to provide equitable access to science experiences that empower ALL students to reach their full potential.


VESELS Reflection - Dylann Pinkman

Posted: March 5, 2019

I have been to many professional developments in my career. Often during these events you are wondering when is it time for lunch or why are these people speaking to me again. I can truly say NSELA is unlike any other professional learning I have ever been to. You really get a chance to interact and connect with all the speakers including the keynote speakers. It’s not very often you see speakers sit in on the different sessions and take notes just as any other attendee would. NSELA makes all teachers and professionals feel equal and a place where everyone is a learner.

One big takeaway for me from this experience was something Dr. Okhee Lee said. She told us to think about the phrase, “if not me, then who?” This is very true. Too often it is easy to say that someone else will take care of the problem our district or students may face. Thinking about this simple quote led me to work with my District Science team to help create a new curriculum for 3rd grade students focused on energy. I am very proud to say it was small team and myself who helped create this new unit and have already seen great affects from it in the pilot stages.

So far being a VESELS Scholar has given me the motivation I needed to move forward and be a better leader in my school and district as a whole. I am thankful for the opportunity and experiences given to me by VESELS and NSELA. Always remember to try new things and put yourself out there for the betterment of our children. If not you, then who?

Dylann Pinkman
K-5 science specialist
Lincoln Public Schools
Lincoln, NE


Overview of 7th Grade NGSS Curriculum Study (ASMS Study):

Posted: March 7, 2019

WestEd, in collaboration with RAND, SRI International and Lawrence Hall of Science, is seeking 2-3 school district partners to participate in a large-scale evaluation study of the NGSS-aligned middle school science curriculum, Amplify Science, during the 2019-2020 school year. Funded by the National Science Foundation (Grants # 1913317; 1720514), this study will examine the impact of the curriculum on student achievement, classroom implementation and instructional practice in 7th grade classrooms. Findings from this study will help the science education community better understand how well-designed curriculum materials can support NGSS instruction.

This 1-year study will be a randomized controlled trial that will compare 7th grade classrooms using the Amplify Science curriculum materials (treatment) to classrooms in a “business as usual” (control) condition. All teachers will receive stipends in recognition of their participation and their school districts will receive a full year of Amplify Science curriculum materials for 7th grade paid for by the grant. Note that the study will provide Amplify Science curriculum materials with accompanying PD at no cost to teachers who will use Amplify Science at the outset of the study (SY 2019-20). Teachers using their current curriculum materials during the study are eligible to receive Amplify Science curriculum materials with accompanying PD at no cost at the end of the study (Summer 2020 and SY 2020-21).

The broad research questions are:

1.  What is the impact of the ASMS curriculum on learning outcomes in culturally and linguistically diverse school settings?

2.  How does ASMS curriculum support teachers in implementing NGSS instruction?

The research team is currently inviting districts to participate in the study that will take place during the 2019 - 2020 school year ( The team will work with districts this year to prepare for the study. If your district is interested in participating, the research team will coordinate the research activities with schools and science teachers. Moreover, participating districts will receive a study report on what is learned about student achievement outcomes and effective teaching practices. All told, 48 middle schools will be part of the study.

For further information about the study, please contact the research team ([email protected]) or the study coordinators directly: Christopher Harris, Principal Investigator from WestEd ([email protected]), Jacquey Barber, Co-Principal Investigator from the Hall ([email protected]).

Click Here To Read More!


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

Posted: March 5, 2019

GFI Protection for Laboratories  NFPA 70, the National Electric Code, is the basis for almost every local electrical code I the United States. Section 210.8(B)(5) requires GFI protection for all power receptacles installed within 6 foot from the top inside edge of the bowl of the sink. (Code language needs to be specific to be considered enforceable, hence the rather clear identification of where to measure from.) Make sure your labs are protected from potential shock hazards! 

For current safety updates five days a week, follow Dr. Ken on Twitter @drroysafersci. Also follow Dr. Ken on Instagram at Drkensafetyjob1. 


National Youth Science Camp

Posted: February 28, 2019

Each year, the National Youth Science Camp hosts two (2) students from each state and the District of Columbia. The NYSC is a highly structured, residential STEM camp that seeks to provide experiential learning opportunities that inspire lifelong engagement, and ethical STEM leadership skills. Students are also exposed to, and highly encouraged to participate in leaning about the scientific and cultural aspects of the natural world through outdoor adventure.

The camp not only consists of lab experiences and plenary lectures, but also includes a visit to Washington DC to meet with members of the Senate or the scientific staff at AAAS.

There are no fees, and all costs are absorbed through the fund-raising efforts of the National Youth Science Foundation.

The camp is only for graduated seniors. The selection process is very competitive, and it's based on academic performance, leadership potential, and scientific accomplishment.

This year's camp will run from June 27 to July 20.

Please consider this once in a lifetime opportunity! The application deadline is February 28, 2019.

To apply, please visit:

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