Boeing Frontiers
September 2003
Volume 02, Issue 05
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Integrated Defense Systems

IDS's Space Camp re-energizes teachers about math, science


Successful rocket launchFor a select number of teachers, "summer camp" this year meant building rockets, sitting at the controls of the space shuttle Endeavor and conducting scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station.

These 29 teachers from around the globe were chosen to participate in the Boeing Educators to Space Camp program in July at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

This was the 11th year of the Boeing Educators to Space Camp program, in which Boeing has sponsored teachers who work in areas where the company has people. This year, teachers from 13 states and five countries-Australia, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom-attended the camp as Boeing educators.

"It was my first time in the USA, and I did not really know what to expect," said Space Camp participant Jeff Brock, a high school teacher from Australia. "But I had a fantastic week at camp. I've gained a wealth of resources and contacts to share with the other teachers in my school, and I've already given them an outline of my experience and the materials I have brought home. I am sure that they will be put to good use."

"Space Camp provides a learning environment where science, math and technology are explored and practiced through the mysteries and wonders of space," said Larry Capps, chief executive officer of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and graduate of the Space Academy for Educators. "For educators, Space Camp provides a place to become a learner again and to join with other educators who share the same passion for teaching and learning."

Local Community and Education Relations focals from Boeing sites around the company work with local school district administrators to choose candidates. For the international teachers, in-country Public Relations focals work with their local contacts.

"Space Camp is a great way to get teachers re-energized about teaching science and math," said Michelle Bandoian, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems director of Executive and Internal Communications and Community Relations. "But we can't send every teacher in every school to camp. The next best thing is sending teachers from a number of schools who can take back what they learn and share it with their students and other teachers in their schools and their districts."

Gene Salvadalena, Boeing Community and Education Relations director at World Headquarters, said support of Space Camp aligns with the company's kindergarten through 12 grade strategy of providing professional development for teachers in math and science.

"The Boeing Educators to Space Camp program enhances a teacher's hands-on skills in the areas of math and science while giving teachers new ideas to take back to the classroom, which ultimately helps students achieve their academic performance to standards in those particular subjects," he said.

As the week at Space Camp came to a close, the teachers celebrated their accomplishments, all the while planning for the new school year. The underlying theme at their graduation ceremony was that the week had given the teachers an opportunity to dream, an idea recognized by Space Camp participant Gayle Stiller.

"I grew up watching the space program on TV and had always thought it would be great to be an astronaut, but life happens and I became a teacher," said Stiller, a middle school algebra and leadership teacher from Simi Valley, Calif. "I may not be an astronaut, but coming to Space Camp is pretty close, so when this opportunity came along I turned it into a life lesson for my students. It's important to hold on to your dreams. You need to be ready, because you never know when those opportunities are going to come along."

—Amy Reagan


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