Escambia Schools Selected For University of Florida Scientist In Every Florida School Initiative

August 1, 2019

Escambia County science teachers will now have the chance to bring scientists into their classrooms as part of a new initiative led by the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute called the “Scientist in Every Florida School” program.

In its first three years, the program aims to connect scientists with every K-12 public school in five target counties: Escambia, Alachua, Seminole, Lee and Palm Beach.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to be one of the first counties in Florida to be selected as a pilot county for the Scientist in Every Florida School program,” said Carol Myers, Escambia County’s K-12 science subject area specialist.

“This initiative is addressing a huge need for students in a classroom to explore science through the lens of a scientist where they will be able to examine the questions the scientist is investigating and create their own ideas for solving problems.”

The Scientist in Every Florida School program was one of eight projects selected for UF’s “moonshot” initiative, a $17-million effort to solve some of society’s most urgent problems. Participating scientists must have a research focus related to Earth systems—air, water, land and life — which is in line with TESI’s mission to advance public understanding of environmental issues.

Because Escambia is a coastal county, the program can be a great way to bring issues like sea level change, salt water intrusion, red tide and algae blooms into lesson plans. The idea is simple, says TESI K-12 education and outreach coordinator, Brian Abramowitz.

“Through scientist classroom visits, field trips and hands-on teacher professional development, we hope to better connect teachers to the latest science, improve student achievement and encourage students to explore STEM careers,” Abramowitz said. “We also hope to bridge the gap between the great research coming out of UF and K-12 classrooms.”

Last month, Myers and four Escambia County teachers attended the first Scientist in Every Florida School professional development program at UF. During the workshop, teachers spent four days in a scientist’s lab where they assisted with ongoing research projects and developed lesson plans related to that research to take back to their classrooms this fall. The participating scientists each agreed to at least one classroom visit next semester.

“By collaborating with scientists, our students will be able to see the connections of science in their daily lives. It will spark new passion for science in our teachers who will be the bridge to real world science,” Myers said.

On August 6, Abramowitz and other members of the TESI team will be presenting to 160 Escambia County middle and high school teachers during the district’s next in-service training.

“We are excited to get more Escambia County teachers on board so that they can help us guide the success of this program and be a model for other counties in the future,” Abramowitz said.

The Scientist in Every Florida School program is the vision of TESI director Bruce MacFadden, who believes that hope for Florida’s environment lies in the next generation of scientists and decision makers.

“About 2.6 million Florida schoolchildren could benefit from the world-class science and research at UF. This pilot program is a great step toward achieving this goal,” MacFadden said.


One Response to “Escambia Schools Selected For University of Florida Scientist In Every Florida School Initiative”

  1. My2Cents on August 2nd, 2019 1:37 pm

    This is so exciting for the students! Imagine having a scientist on hand to open their minds. This is wonderful!

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