By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Science teachers for North Texas middle and high schools have descended on the North Central Texas College (NCTC) campus for two weeks to become students again under the tutelage of NCTC science instructors Sara Flusche and Dr. Lisa Bellows.
Flusche and Bellows are part of the Teacher Quality Professional Development program and travel all around the state to share ideas and teaching concepts with public school teachers.
From July 8-16, the NCTC campus has opened its doors for area science teachers to attend several classes on the NCTC Gainesville campus.
Science experiments, lectures, lab work and location studies have reminded the teachers what it is like to be students again.
“As a teacher, when I learn new concepts it always motivates me to be more flexible and creative when trying to reach my students. These workshop programs are so helpful,” said Debbie Murphy from Gunter Middle School.
Forestberg teacher, Denise Keith agreed, “It is our job to not only teach facts to our students but to find ways to get them excited about learning. There are so many interesting directions science can take you.”
One of the recent projects during the program involved testing of pond water near the NCTC campus. The class learned what differences can be found in two ponds that are found within a hundred yards of each other.
Bellows explained, “One pond is aerated and the other pond is not. The aerated pond will be cooler and the plankton and life found in it may react differently.”
The teacher students collected specimens from both ponds and studied the differences under the NCTC laboratory microscopes. More experiments and lab hours will enable them to further develop teaching strategies.
Under the leadership of Bellows and Flusche, the college received $275,600 from the Texas Regional Collaborative for Excellence in Teaching to begin math and science professional development programs for area teachers.
During the 2012-2013 year, 199 teachers received over 5,190 hours of math training and 179 teachers received 6,635 hours of science training. Area teachers also received hands-on materials and supplies for use to teach math and science concepts to their own students.
Through the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board teacher quality program, NCTC was also awarded $104,999 to assist area teachers in developing and utilizing science laboratory materials. Under this program last year, 15 teachers each received 100 hours of training.
Teachers participating at this workshop included: Cristy Dillard of Gainesville Middle School, Alexis Gaona of Gainesville Middle School, Lindsey Adams of Gainesville High School, Rae Ann Gerken of St. Mary’s, Tiffany Schmitz of Yes Prep Gulfton near Houston, Ellyn Hulsey of Aubrey, Debbie Murphy of Gunter, Steve Fletcher of Gunter, Britni Mcdonld of Gunter, Patty McDonnell of Collinsville, Jamie Long of Village Tech School, Thomas Long of Grand Prairie, Sharon Sanders of Sanger, Benda Durrill of Sanger, Lori Bradley of Sanger, Denise Keith of Forestburg, Krissty West of Forestburg and Nancy Pirkey of Nocona.
Learning is not just for students as these teachers are proof of that. They are working hard during their off time to become better equipped to educate their students who depend on them not only for knowledge and facts but for inspiration.
By CATHY MOUNCE
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