While some educators were enjoying their summer break from work, one Fort Valley Middle School teacher was taking advantage of the two week National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Summer Institute Program for Middle School Science Teachers. Mrs. Bernessa Rawls-Baker was not just one of 22 teachers selected to participate in the 2014 summer hands-on workshop, but she was the only one selected from the state of Georgia.
NIST, known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is a measurement standards laboratory which is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. As a second year teacher at Fort Valley Middle School , Mrs. Rawls-Baker continually strives to find curriculum demonstration resources that will enable her to connect research with real world practices. Mrs. Rawls-Baker stated, “With the increased emphasis on standards-based classrooms it is becoming even more imperative to seek opportunities that will enhance my current knowledge while introducing me to new methodology. I feel that attending this workshop has exposed me to resources that will positively impact my direct instruction in the areas of rigor and relevance that I otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”
The NIST Summer Institute Program provided selected teachers hands-on activities, lectures, tours, and visits with NIST scientists and engineers at the NIST Campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Resources received at the workshop provided teachers with instructional materials and ideas that can be incorporated into their lesson plans and emphasize real-world applications.