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NWPE Grant Advances Odessa Science Program
posted by: Cindy Omlin | November 16, 2016, 04:54 PM   

jeff wehr brenda miller grant 2016Mr. Wehr reports that the Odessa High School science department is evolving toward more research-based laboratories, projects, and independent research.  The NWPE grant, along with assistance from the Odessa High School Science Department, plans to integrate Vernier computer based interfaces which can sample, record, graph, and create statistical analysis on a just about any kind of scientific quantifiable measurement.  Mr. Wehr notes, “The beauty of these devices is the interface is capable of being ANY type of quantifiable measurement device, one simply plugs the proper probe into it and the interface automatically becomes that device.  Also, it has multiple inputs so up to 6 different probes can be placed into one interface at a time (while recording data from each of the probes simultaneously).  The goal is to sequester the LabQuest 2 interfaces and accompanying probes, continue training the students on how easy they are to manipulate and incorporate into the classroom, and have the students taking careful measurement of future laboratory measurement as well as the honors students utilizing them for their independent science research.”  Other teachers can use the technology for preparing stock solutions, checking temperatures, or using it as a quick and easy digital scale.

The NWPE award will assist Mr. Wehr and other teachers to fulfill subject/grade level standards and promote effective student learning.  Congruent with the U.S. Department of Education, he notes that when technology is used by students as a tool or a support for communicating with others, “they are in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of information transmitted by a teacher, textbook, or broadcast. . . when technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, the students are in the position of defining their goals, making design decisions, and evaluating their progress.”

Vernier LabQuest 2 interfaces and probe ware place easy-to-use data loggers, sensors, experiments and graphing/analysis software into the hands of Odessa High School’s science students.  These resources will “promote effective student learning in every mainstream science class including 5th grade science, 6th grade Physical Science, 7th grade Life Science, 8th grade Earth and Space Science, 9th grade Integrated Science, 10th grade Biology, 11th grade Chemistry, 12th grade Physics, 9-12 Advanced STEM Research Laboratory, and 5-12 grade honors research projects.”  In other words, the whole district!

A highly awarded teacher, Mr. Wehr is dedicated to professionalism.  One of the ways he is advancing professionalism is through his involvement with a Washington State Teachers of the Year committee, namely, the Washington Teacher Advisory Council (WATAC).  Its mission is to be the voice of accomplished teachers advocating for student success. “We inform education decisions and influence policy, promoting equity and excellence for all.”  The council has generated a lot of respect for educators though writing, speaking, and advising decision makers on education.  The WATAC’s top three policy priorities focus on Higher Education Integration, Professional Learning, and Teacher Recruitment, Preparation, and Retention.  Mr. Wehr believes that educators need to be the voice for education and the WATAC is a great opportunity to ensure that voice is heard.

Choice is an important part of Mr. Wehr’s professional philosophy as well as why he joined Northwest Professional Educators. “In life, everything is a choice . . .  In Montana, we had a teachers association that negotiated our contracts, but it was never unionized nor did we have to pay any dues. When I moved to Washington State over a decade ago, I was told I was supposed to join the union.  I asked if it was mandatory simply because my family of four was struggling financially from the move and the extra money would really help out. My secretary was so nice, she said . . . well you will want some sort of insurance . . . and she told me about the NWPE being another option.  After a little investigation, I found that the NWPE was only a fraction of the cost and with nearly all the same benefits which has really helped my family.  Now, over ten years later, I continue to enjoy the support of the NWPE/AAE family and am very happy with the choice I made . . . and glad that our school district provides the freedom of professional choice!”

An accomplished educator, Mr. Wehr has received a number of awards including the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching, the National Siemens Founders Award for STEM Research, WA State Regional Teacher of the Year , and U.S. Department of Education’s American Star of Teaching Award.

NWPE is proud to support distinguished educators like Mr. Wehr and we look forward to the scientific advancements his developing scientists produce!  Stay tuned!

jeff wehr and class grant 2016

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