The Rural Education Research and Implementation Center (RERIC) hosted 19 rural STEM educators from 18 school districts around Wisconsin for the third annual Teacher Speakout! on Friday, Nov. 15 at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research in Madison.
Beth Allcox, a high school science teacher in the New Holstein School District, attended the event as a panelist.
The goal of Teacher Speakout! is to bring the voices of rural teachers into a collaborative, public forum with researchers, legislators, and rural school advocates.
“The event will bring the knowledge of our teacher partners directly to campus so our research is better informed and can respond most effectively on behalf of students in rural school districts in Wisconsin,” said WCER Director Robert Mathieu, who delivered opening remarks. “We look forward to hearing from teachers about their successes and to learn more about how our researchers can help educators in small towns and rural schools.”
The main event was the Panel Conversation with Teachers on Friday. In collaboration with Discovery Outreach, the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers and PBS Wisconsin, rural STEM teachers from eight districts discussed their experiences and exchanged ideas about STEM education in rural Wisconsin with university faculty, researchers, policymakers, and graduate students in education.
On Saturday, teachers met at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery to embark on scientist-led field trips across campus, including stops at the School of Pharmacy to learn about nanotechnology and gene-mapping; and at the Gilroy Lab to discover the world of astrobotany.
Legislators representing the school districts in attendance were invited to meet informally with the teachers on Friday to discuss rural education over Babcock ice cream.