NASA awards $1.4 million to Alameda County and CSU East Bay

  • April 9, 2009
  • MEDIA CONTACT: Rachelle DiStefano, ACOE, Director, Professional Development Program, (510) 670-4147

Hayward, April 8, 2009 — The Alameda County Office of Education has been awarded $1.4 million to implement NASA LIFTOFF*, designed to transform science teaching and learning at pilot high school sites in both northern and southern California. In collaboration between NASA, California State University East Bay, San Jose State University, CalPoly Pomona, and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, it was one of nine proposals selected nationwide for two-year grants ranging from $300K to $1.4 million.

“Emerging jobs are in the areas of biotechnology, environmental science and green technology,” says Sheila Jordan, County Superintendent of Schools. “NASA LIFTOFF targets high school teachers serving a majority of under represented minority students. We want to motivate these students to stay on track for college by helping them envision a future in which they will be prepared to participate in careers in science, technology and engineering,”

“This innovative project is at the very frontiers of science and technology,” stated President Mo Qayoumi of CSU East Bay. “It builds upon our successful partnerships with NASA and the Alameda County Office of Education to advance teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in our secondary schools. It provides an exceptional opportunity to engage teachers and students in the most current, cutting edge NASA research. We are especially pleased that future science teachers throughout the 23 campus CSU system will also benefit from the best practices in science and technology education LIFTOFF will showcase.”

LIFTOFF will help teachers create classrooms in which teachers and students are actively engaged in NASA mission research with real scientists and science faculty on a continuous basis.  It focuses on content derived from NASA missions related to lunar exploration, Earth science and space sciences and directly aligns with California Science Content Standards in Physics, Chemistry, Life Science, Earth Science and Mathematics. It will also equip teachers to meet the new state Environmental Education Initiative requirements that mandate that all K-12 science courses contain Environmental science content.  LIFTOFF is unique in that it brings high school students and teachers throughout California together into a scientific professional learning community --usually the bastion of scientists and science faculty only.  Advances in technology will enable teachers and students to collaborate with other demonstration sites as they conduct their research and engage and be mentored by science faculty and scientists at NASA Ames, JPL and Dryden.

For more information, contact Bill Conrad, LIFTOFF Science Investigator, or Rachelle DiStefano, Director, Professional Development Program, at pdp@acoe.org or (510) 670-4147.

*NASA LIFTOFF: Learning Inspires Fundamental Transformation by Opening Future Frontiers for High School Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Science.

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