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Washington state LASER takes the gold

Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) Honored by KCTS 9 with 2013 Golden Apple Award
Issued by Pacific Science Center

December 10, 2013 Share This!

  • Jeff Estes

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SEATTLE – Washington State LASER is being recognized for its longstanding leadership in education in our state with the esteemed 2013 Golden Apple Award presented by KCTS 9.

The 2013 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education celebrates educators, programs and schools that make a positive impact in Washington state education from early childhood through high school. KCTS 9 honors Washington State LASER for enhancing K-12 science education by mobilizing and supporting a network of committed individuals and organizations to provide leadership and support to teachers, schools and districts.

Washington State LASER is a public-private partnership devoted to improving science education statewide and is co-led by Pacific Science Center and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy). Established in 1999, LASER has taken the lead to share, inspire and sustain powerful practices in science education reaching more than 106,000 educators to date in more than 200 school districts, serving more than 91% of the students in the state. From notebooks that combine science, literacy, math and art, to strategic planning institutes geared to create a shared vision from classroom to school board, LASER's rare partnership between an informal science education institution, a business and the formal education system has put effective science curricula and teaching methods in classrooms statewide. By focusing on providing powerful learning experiences, LASER paves the way for engaging curiosity and creative thinking in students, educators and community members alike.

This award recognizes LASER's achievements in the pedagogy of science education across Washington, and the leadership of Pacific Science Center, Battelle, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) that continue to help the state build a national reputation for leadership in science education. Recently, LASER was instrumental in gathering feedback statewide to help frame the Next Generation Science Standards that were adopted by our state in October.

"Technology, science and engineering are some of the mainstays of Washington's prosperity. Washington State LASER brings training, infrastructure and educational materials to teachers, administrators and communities so that our kids will have the high quality instruction and resources needed to lead the charge in these arenas in the future," said Dr. Ellen Lettvin, vice president of science and education at Pacific Science Center and co-director of Washington State LASER.

"PNNL is an organization that performs nationally important research and development. As a result, we've embraced LASER because it is designed to cultivate an educational environment focused on growing tomorrow's scientists, engineers, and innovators; developing a STEM-capable workforce; and improving the science literacy of our citizenry," said Jeff Estes, director of the Office of STEM Education at PNNL and co-director of Washington State LASER.

LASER's Science Material Resource Centers create and provide educators with inquiry-based materials and lesson plans that comprise core scientific concepts and foster interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Topics include: electric circuitry, butterflies, land and water, levers and pulleys, forces, motion and energy. The program has also helped enrich curricula to ensure relevance across cultures. LASER is committed to fostering scientific literacy for all students in our state by training and providing resources and assistance to teachers in underserved, small and remote districts.

Key members of the Washington State LASER partnership are the OSPI, Washington's Educational Service Districts and lead school districts from around the state. Current funding for Washington State LASER is provided through OSPI and the Washington State Legislature, Battelle and The Boeing Company.

Tags: Awards and Honors

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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