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8/8/11 - Teachers seek to improve science class experiences

Nearly 50 science teachers from around the Magnolia State are graduates of the 2011 ATOMS2xp Summer Institute at Mississippi State University.

An acronym for Advancing Teachers of Middle School Science, the program places student achievement at the center of learning by helping instructors sharpen their classroom skills. It also provides educators an opportunity to discover new resources.

ATOMS2xp utilizes the expertise of Mississippi State faculty and resources of the university's Center for Education and Training Technology. (For more, visit

The two-week summer workshop was designed to bridge the gap between instruction and learning by helping teachers "connect with students in more effective and creative ways," said CETT director Betty Latimer.

This was the second year for NASA education staff members to lead the earth and space portion of the training, which is one of the content strands in the state's 2010 Mississippi Science Framework, said ATOMS2xp science field coordinator Sonya Smith.

Funded by the Mississippi Department of Education, the seven-year-old program has four primary goals:

--Increase student knowledge by helping teachers develop in-depth content understanding and instructional methods;

--Provide ongoing professional development for participants during the program year;

--Link classroom practices to National Science Education Standards, the 2010 Mississippi Science Framework and the principles of Understanding by Design, or UbD, model; and,

--Encourage and facilitate skill enhancement and growth opportunities for fourth-eighth grade science teachers, including recertification and continuing education.

The 49 institute graduates include [alphabetical, by hometown]:

BAY ST. LOUIS--Joan Estapa, Bay-Waveland Middle School, and Jacqueline Wintruba, West Elementary School in Gulfport.

BILOXI--Melissa Cuevas, Lyman Elementary School.

BRANDON--Suzanne Edwards and Bridget Walker, Northwest Rankin Middle School; and Meg Maulding and Stacy Mooney, Northshore Elementary School.

BYRAM--Adrine Williams, Baker Elementary School.

CARRIERE--Amy Yarbrough, Nicholson Elementary School.

DECATUR--Lisa Vaughn, Conehatta Elementary School.

DeKALB--Don Stokes, Kemper Academy.

FLOWOOD--Cheryl Navarra, Northwest Rankin Middle School.

GREENVILLE--Jane Skelton, Trigg Elementary School.

GUNTOWN--Amy LaVanway, East Union Attendance Center.

HICKORY--Sidney Cook, Newton County Middle School, and Stacey Cook, Newton County Elementary School.

HOUSTON--Shane Gann, Fifth Street Junior High School in West Point.

JACKSON--Jacqueline Ellis and Christi Wood, Raines Elementary School. [Both 39209 ZIP code.]

LAUDERDALE--Angela Hoover, Northwest Middle School.

LONG BEACH--Stephanie Baker, Lyman Elementary, and Natasha Guillot, West Elementary in Gulfport.

LOUISVILLE--Jennifer Ball, Louisville High School; Karen Pearson, Louisville Elementary School; and Renee Jones and Bill Wite, Nanih Waiya Attendance Center.

MATHISTON--Tonda Farrior, East Webster Elementary School, and Sharon Fulgham, Fifth Street Junior High School in West Point.

MENDENHALL--Clara Taylor, Puckett Attendance Center.

MERIDIAN--Amy Grady and Johanna Littleton, Magnolia Middle School.

OCEAN SPRINGS--Patti Brooks, D'Iberville Middle School, and Shawn Dunaway, Magnolia Park Elementary School.

OXFORD--Yolanda Underwood, Oxford Learning Center.

PELAHATCHIE--Donald Wall, Pelahatchie Attendance Center.

PHILADELPHIA--Robert Mikell, Neshoba Central Middle School; Michael Moorehead, Choctaw Central Middle School; and Gloria Seward, Neshoba Central Elementary School.

PITTSBORO--Cindy Hubbard and Niki Necaise, Bruce Upper Elementary School.

POPLARVILLE--Tammy Krutzfeldt and Stephanie Michele Lee, Poplarville Upper Elementary School.

QUITMAN--Scott Benson, Quitman Junior High School.

SEBASTOPOL--Burt Byram, Choctaw Central High School.

STARKVILLE--Emily Cappleman, Henderson Intermediate School.

TUPELO--Judy Harden, Tupelo Middle School and Tracy Leake, Shannon Middle School.

WIGGINS--Debbie Burton, Lyman Elementary School.

YAZOO CITY--Brooke Boggan, Yazoo County High School.

JIM LAIRD | University Relations and the Office of Research and Economic Development

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