Greg Finn 2000-2001
The end of the school year is near. At the time of writing this message I am proctoring a second year optical mineralogy exam and in three days, I will be off to the Sudbury/Elliot Lake area to run a field course. So my summer is already underway, now if the weather would only cooperate and give us some decent spring weather, we will be set!
This past year has been one of many accomplishments for your organization - STAO. I would like to highlight just some of the projects/initiatives that contributed to STAO's reputation as the premier science organization in the province.
First, the publication of the Be Safe! booklet this year was greeted with great acceptance by elementary educators, not just in Ontario but elsewhere in Canada. We have not quite reached our goal of having copies of this resource in the hands of every elementary teacher in the province, but we are getting there. If you have not seen a copy of the Be Safe! document in your school, why not order it today? To ensure that this resource will be made available to our franco-ontarien teachers, the Ministry of Education has underwritten the costs of a French translation of Be Safe! Preliminary work is currently being undertaken to produce a version of this document suitable for secondary schools. Watch for it coming in the next year. Ian Mackellar and members of the Safety Committee are to be congratulated for all their hard work in producing and promoting this resource.
This past year also saw growth in the variety and number of ScienceWorks workshops available for you to enrich your program. This initiative is another indication of how your organization has addressed the professional development of its members, serving to enhance the teaching of science throughout the province. Malisa Mezenberg, Professional Development Coordinator, is to be thanked for her efforts in keeping this program moving forward. Thanks also to Elizabeth Dunning, Chair, and members of the Secondary Curriculum Committee for their efforts in identifying which strands/units of the grade 9 to 11 curriculum required workshops, and then taking on the task of writing, field testing and editing the workshops. The requests for ScienceWorks workshops have increased this spring and it looks like this will carry over into the remainder of the year.
One of the key areas which has seen a vast increase in members over the past several years is the elementary level. With science being a major component of the new curriculum, the Elementary Committee, chaired by Derek Totten, is addressing this need through their work. This committee has been very active over the past year, beginning well before their successful activities booth at STAO 2000. Watch for an expanded version of these activities covering all strands at each grade at the elementary level ? scheduled for release this fall at STAO 2001.
Due to the increase in activity undertaken by STAO over the past year
and because all the members of the Executive and Board of Directors are
volunteers with full-time jobs, the position of Executive Assistant was
created and Paul Weese was appointed to fill this spot. Paul has only
been in the position since the beginning of February, but the work he
has completed already shows that the creation of this position was well
All of the above, plus all the other initiatives undertaken by STAO, reflect the commitment and dedication of the volunteers which make up STAO. Without these individuals there would be no STAO. Do you feel that you can contribute to STAO? Why not consider putting your name forward to fill one of the open positions on the Executive or Board of Directors (see form on p. 35)? Or perhaps consider contacting one of the Committee Chairs (see list on page 4) and join their committee. You will not be disappointed or regret your decision. I know I have greatly benefited, both personally and professionally, from my association with STAO. I know this will continue even after my term on the Executive is over.
I would like to thank you, the members of STAO, for your support over the past year. It is for you that this organization has become the first voice for science educators across the province. I would like to thank the members of the Executive for their contribution and assistance over the past year and to the Board of Directors for their support, encouragement and dedication to STAO. These individuals have really made a difference and I was most grateful to them for making my year as President a learning experience for me.