NASA has recently stressed its commitment to stronger support for the education community, especially in the kindergarten through twelfth grade sector. Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has shown its support of this commitment through the recent appointment of a full-time education officer, Dr. Robert Gabrys. Dr. Gabrys comes to GSFC from the Maryland State Department of Education where he has been the assistant state superintendent and an architect of many of the current reforms being implemented in Maryland schools.
On April 10, 1996, a joint meeting of the Space Science Data Operations Office (NSSDC's parent organization) and the Hughes STX (NSSDC's support contractor) Education Committees was held. Dr. Gabrys was invited to speak to the group about his new position and the plans for Goddard's educational support. Dr. Gabrys explained some of the areas of focus of the Education Programs Office. These areas include examination of various education programs instituted to date, careful assessment of their impact on teachers and students to determine the "yield of investment," and more effective use of this measurement in determining the allocation of present resources as new opportunities for education outreach arise. This examination includes asking the questions, For the time, energy, and collaboration put into developing this program, what is the desired outcome? What is expected from this effort? What is the desired impact on teachers and students? Dr. Gabrys also outlined some of the resources available through NASA for education programs and listed partnerships that are proving helpful.
In return, the group informed Dr. Gabrys of some of the education and outreach programs ongoing within the division and the Hughes STX company. Many high school and college level students as well as teachers will be joining the division during the summer to learn new skills while assisting in the work of the division, including several education and outreach projects. There are partnerships with institutions like the Howard B. Owens Science Center and the Greenbelt Elementary School to assist in educational endeavors that will benefit the students. The NSSDC is helping to provide avenues of distribution for educational materials for teachers, such as the floppy disks containing life science lesson plans developed by the NASA Life Sciences group at the Ames Research Center.
Author:Miranda Beall (firstname.lastname@example.org)