June Newsletter


Recently, and for the first time in over a year, I found myself staring out across the expanse of the Flint Hills. I watched the cows dotting the landscape and tried to gauge their distance. I watched the soft cumulus clouds gliding across the sky. I drove in awe thinking about the way that the grass was truly the "grass green" we find in a box of Crayola crayons. I also thought about the trek to Wichita I would make every April with my Science Olympiad team and the pride I had and still hold for the students I was fortunate enough to know. I felt such a sense of peace. I felt hope. I spent a day with amazing teachers in Valley Center and on the drive home felt such a sense of inspiration for things to come. I feel hope.

As you enter summer break I hope you find time and space for something similar and I hope you also take a moment to wonder about our natural world, to enjoy it's beauty and marvel in it's science. You deserve it and I have so much hope for what is to come.


Upcoming Professional Development

Collaboration Meetings (Theme: Consider This!)

FREE Summer of Science Series- PD Credits Available! (Link)

Summer of Science Series Flier (3).pdf

Family Friendly Phenomena Fieldtrips

June 12th

9 am - Noon
Little Jerusalem State Park
(Guide Link)

June 26th

9 am - Noon
Cheyenne Bottoms
The Kansas Wetlands Ed Center
(Guide Link)

July 10th

9 am - ?
Friends of the Kaw
Little Apple Paddle Trip
(Guide Link)

July 24th

Kansas Energy Program
K-State Engineering Extension

(Guide Link: Coming Soon!)

Lesson plans and guide updates will be send to those who "click for more information" on the events.

Fall Conference

Click arrow for more information...

The 32nd Annual KSDE Annual Conference, which is now being called "Great Ideas in Education Conference" will be held virtually, November 15-18, 2021. The theme for this year’s conference is “Unfinished Learning.”

This year’s conference will focus on providing innovative ideas for addressing students’ unfinished learning created by the pandemic in addition to furthering the goals of the State Board of Education.

The conference will feature keynote speakers each day of the conference, including comments from Commissioner Watson. There will be over 40 breakout sessions. The conference strands for this year are:

  • Early Learning Opportunities

  • School Redesign: Creating a Culture of Learning

  • KESA: A System of Improvement

  • Navigating Standards and Competencies

  • Whole Community, Whole School, Whole Child

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • Fiscal Issues and ESSER Funds


Online registration is available at: http://events.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=771.


Conference program: Pat Bone, pbone@ksde.org, (785) 291-3097 or Ann Yates, ayates@ksde.org, (785) 296-5140

Logistics: Tierney Kirtdoll, tkirtdoll@ksde.org, (785) 296-3142 or Jan Williams, jwilliams@ksde.org, (785) 296-7931

Registration: Tierney Kirtdoll, tkirtdoll@ksde.org, (785) 296-3142

Decoding Science

How Does Science Know What it knows?

A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine seeks to help answer that question. Read the report here (Link) or watch the video on the right to learn more about how to explain science processes and limits to students and stakeholders.

Additional Opportunities

From Outside of KSDE

Astronomy Program for Educators

NITARP for 2022 is now available! It's available at our website:


NITARP, the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, gets teachers involved in authentic astronomical research. We partner small groups of educators with a mentor professional astronomer for an original research project. The educators incorporate the experience into their classrooms and share their experience with other teachers. The program runs January through January. Applications for the 2022 class of educators are available now and due on Monday, September 13, 2021. The program is funded completely via NASA ADAP, and is contingent on the availability of funding.

Some things that make our program different from many (if not most) other astronomy programs for educators: (1) Each team does original research using real astronomical data, not canned labs or reproductions of previously done research; (2) Each team writes up the results of their research and presents it in a science poster session at an American Astronomical Society meeting (the AAS is the professional organization for astronomers in the US). The posters are distributed throughout the meeting, in amongst other researchers' work; the participants are not "given a free pass" because they are educators and students. Each team also presents the educational results of their experience in the program. (3) The program runs over 13 months, not just a few days or weeks. (4) Teachers are encouraged to involve their students from the beginning of the program.

Most of our educators are high school classroom educators, but 8th grade, community college, and informal educators have participated as well. The kinds of educators we are looking for are those who already know the basics of astronomy, and are interested in learning exactly how astronomy research is conducted. All educators must be US-based.

This program involves three trips — to an American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in January 2022, to Pasadena, CA in summer 2022, and to the AAS meeting in January 2023. The January 2021 meeting is in Salt Lake City, UT; the January 2022 meeting is in Seattle, WA.

While most of the work on these teams is done remotely using video conferencing and other online collaboration tools, the structure of the program heavily relies on three different face-to-face visits, necessarily requiring interstate travel and meeting in groups. If the January 2022 AAS meeting is held online because of the pandemic, we may not be able to have a NITARP class of 2022. We will monitor the situation closely and inform applicants of progress as decision points come up.

The application itself consists of short answers to a few questions. We release the questions in May so that you have time both to hear about the program and to get started writing; the website to which you need to upload your PDF answers will be available no later than early August. Please let us know if you wish to be explicitly notified via email when the site is open for submissions.

For more information, please see our website ( https://linkprotect.cudasvc.com/url?a=https%3a%2f%2furldefense.us%2fv3%2f__http%3a%2f%2fnitarp.ipac.caltech.edu__%3b%21%21PvBDto6Hs4WbVuu7%21eAU8HhoKXclsw4BXayX2D93ibEpJ6cFyFuRqtzBbwfHWiFZcnwv1OHWnuhp-ecieISJpFawA%24&c=E,1,rgEsbZvTrGeonOdjmwMQHQkyhrd-8M2IZQD2fxv9jBQWbQjQRiji32XVDOe3JExq2l64-IsUs7EUXwm_3KGju05Hxcpk6HfDnlifSTYKPg,,&typo=1 ), or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at our central email, nitarp@ipac.caltech.edu.



Direct link to the PDF application instructions is here:


This page:


has a generalized collection of resources for applicants, including FAQs and a pointer to the application.

GLOBE Citizen Science Community Challenge

Celebrate trees by joining the GLOBE citizen science community in the 2021 Community Trees Challenge, where Science is Better Together!

Who can participate: Everyone! (students and teachers at all grade levels, informal educators, and the public in GLOBE countries.) While getting out and taking observations might not be possible for everyone, this challenge provides multiple ways to participate and learn all about trees.

How to participate: During the 2021 Community Trees Challenge, the GLOBE Program is asking citizen scientists to observe, learn, engage, and create as they track their progress on the Trees Challenge Activity Tracker. You can choose the best journey for your interests, or try to complete all the activities. Work together as a family, as a group of friends, or independently.

By completing these activities, you will improve your science observation skills, enrich your understanding of trees as part of our landscape, learn why NASA studies trees, be a part of a NASA-sponsored citizen science project, as well as join a citizen science community. Your observations of tree height contribute to a global database that is free and open so that anyone – scientists, students, communities, and citizen scientists – can conduct research.

Kansas NSF EPSCoR - Ecosystems of Kansas Summer Institute

Kansas NSF EPSCoR is going to hold its annual Ecosystems of Kansas Summer Institute this summer for Kansas High School Biology and Environmental Science Teachers June 7-11, 2021 at the University of Kansas Field Station Station (https://biosurvey.ku.edu/field-station).

Teacher participants will earn a stipend of $750 for actively participating in the week’s activities and writing curriculum. In addition, a travel allowance will be provided for those living more than 1 hour away from the field station along with room and board.

While attending the institute, teachers will participate in a variety of activities from carrying out investigations and learning about current university-level research, to exploring diverse outdoor environments. Early in the week participants will be divided into groups based upon their areas of interest to work with University of Kansas researchers. These groups will spend time developing NGSS inquiry-based curriculum for their own high school classrooms. The Institute is directed by Dr. Peggy Schultz, Associate Specialist with the Kansas Biological Survey and the Environmental Studies Program (https://biosurvey.ku.edu/directory/peggy-schultz ). All KU COVID 19 protocols will be followed and masks are required.

For more info: http://s.12ab.pw/l/08e-2

To apply: http://s.12ab.pw/l/c42-1

To help spark teachers’ interest, here is video from the 2018 institute for you to share with them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpgw3POGZpQ

The Ecosystems of Kansas Summer Institute is part of the education and outreach initiatives proposed in the Kansas NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1: Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems across Kansas award #1656006 (https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1656006).

Kansas Wetland Education Center

Spend your summer exploring at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, near Great Bend, KS. The center is open from 9-5 Monday through Saturday and 1-5 on Sunday afternoons. Each day visitors can enjoy our interactive exhibit hall, classroom of live animals, video about Cheyenne Bottoms, and get information about bird activity in the marsh. Special programming is offered throughout the summer. Check our website, https://wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu, for events and more information. A highlight will be the launch of a children's book: Ava, A Year of Adventure in the Life of an American Avocet. The 32 page, fully illustrated story, follows the migration of a shorebird as it travels to Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest marsh in the interior of the United States. The book is full of science information and terminology, supplemental lesson plans will also be available on the education page of our website. Each K-6 classroom in Barton County will receive a copy and each school and community library within 70 miles of the center will receive a copy.

For incoming 9th and 10th graders, KWEC is hosting one of the FHSU KAMS Camps, Echo Tech: Birds and Bytes, the week of June 21. Visit https://www.fhsu.edu/kams/summer-camps/index for more information. Day camps for 1st-6th grade will be held in July. A STEM Drop-in date will also be scheduled. Our annual end of summer party is a chance to learn about space and watch the Perseid Meteor Shower on August 13.

Teachers should also check out a professional development opportunity hosted by KWEC and the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education. Teaching and Learning Outdoors is a hybrid workshop with the in-person portion scheduled for June 8. Participants will receive four environmental education curriculum guides full of lessons and activities.

KU Pharmacy Camp

The KU School of Pharmacy just announced approval to host four one-day summer camp sessions this year.


The single-day summer camp sessions give high school students and incoming college freshmen a chance to see what the pharmacy profession is all about. Participants will spend the day on-campus, experiencing in-person, hands-on activities related to the current pharmacy curriculum.

Camp participants will be the given the opportunity to:

· Learn about various pharmacy practice settings including community pharmacy and institutional hospital practice sites

· Visit campus research laboratories and interact with basic science faculty

· Utilize the pharmacy school facilities including lecture classrooms and pharmacy practice skills laboratory spaces

· Participate in the hands-on, non-sterile compounding of medications

· Discuss current pharmacy practice methods with real life practitioners during a virtual tour of local pharmacies

Participants will be guided through the activities by current pharmacy students and school of pharmacy faculty.

Join us in exploring the pharmacy profession by clicking the link above and starting the registration process.

Quantum Information Science

Q: What do the following have in common: chemistry, physics, astronomy, computer science, engineering and math?

A: The common denominator is quantum information science (QIS)

As you make plans for this summer, you may want to consider a unique professional development for STEM High School teachers who want to stay on the cutting edge of content, technology, and engineering.

Due to a national focus on the lack of awareness and preparation for the future quantum workforce, NSF is supporting teachers who are seeking ways to embed quantum content into their curriculum by providing a unique PD opportunity for teachers and camps for students. Quantum mechanics has been around since the 1920’s, however it is still avoided in the K-12 environment, mostly due to the lack of knowledge and confidence to teach it effectively. QIS is not just quantum physics. but it includes basic math and touches on topics of computer science, chemistry, engineering, and many other core STEM areas. Quantum ideas are behind everyday technologies like lasers, medical equipment, and cell phones, which is why there is a national effort to provide training and tools to address these topics.

The 2021 workshops will be virtual and 2022 will be face to face. Teachers attending the workshops will be given an opportunity to host a student camp in their home district in the summer of 2022 or 2023. The expectation is that teachers will commit to attending the virtual sessions this summer, F2F next summer, and then help teach the student camps. There will be 4 workshop sites, two of which are in Texas, with one in Utah and one in Pennsylvania. Please note due to the stipends and equipment provided to participants, spaces are limited. The applications can be found at https://quantumforall.org/quantum-opportunities/

Fort Hays State University Summer Opportunities

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Link to Printable Fliers: (Link)