How to Start an ESTA in Your State

To explore one possible model on how to establish or maintain a state ESTA please examine the Blueprint for starting an ESTA document.

In addition to the blueprint below, the NESTA Constitution and Bylaws might be useful in establishing or revising internal documents for your state ESTA.

BLUEPRINT FOR STARTING AN EARTH SCIENCE TEACHER ASSOCIATION (ESTA)

1. HOW TO ORGANIZE:

1.1 Identify teachers: Ways to do this are:

1.1.1 Obtain a list of Earth Science teachers from NSTA (they are available by state); State Department of Education files and State Science Teacher Associations are other sources.

1.1.2 Have a sign up sheet at State Science Teacher Conferences.

1.1.3 Obtain a listing of schools teaching Earth Science from the State Department of Education and write directly to the Earth Science teacher(s).

1.1.4 Conduct an email survey of Earth Science teaching in the state by sending a questionnaire to schools /school districts. Sponsorship might be from State Departments of Education, Science Teacher Associations, University Education Colleges, etc.

1.1.5 Place inserts in the Earth Scientist or your State Science Teachers Newsletter highlighting the goals, affairs and personalities of your state organization.

1.1.6 Plan an organizational meeting during the state (science) teachers meeting having first solicited some interested teachers. Have an Earth Science professional indicate their support.

2. WHY ORGANIZE

2.1 Services: Provide services that are appropriate on a regular schedule. They should be on a cost plus (a little bit to allow for expansion) basis. Initial funding might be obtained from a State Education Department or State Science Teacher Association, a State or National professional (Earth science) organization, State Science Academy, Coalition, etc. Valuable services include:

2.1.1 Arrange an annual conference in the early fall (or coincident with the State Science Teachers Association conference so that your organization can take advantage of that conference with advertising, sessions, etc.) The conference should include a main (content) speaker, workshops, take home ideas, give aways, etc. An example might be to set a theme of “Rocks and Minerals” and invite the local lapidary society to provide material for show and give away. Professional geologists might also be involved. The location should be moved around the State different universities (preferred) or schools. Other sources of give aways might include discarded maps, etc. from State or Federal geological surveys, and extra copies of textbooks and teaching aids obtained from members. (See Rock Raffle 3.)

2.1.2 Prepare and sell teaching aids about the geology (and Earth science) features of your State. Field trip guides, classroom activities, pamphlets on interesting Earth science features, computer simulations, etc. Major Earth science concepts, State and National Parks, current important topics such as plate tectonics, energy futures, groundwater contamination, waste disposal, etc. are additional focuses for teaching aids (and conference themes).

2.1.3 Develop a speaker’s bureau from amongst professional geologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, soil scientists, astronomers, and/or informed lay persons for talks in schools.

2.1.4 Provide lists of Earth science organizations and their meeting times and topics—include professional societies, interest groups, etc.

2.1.5 Arrange Field trips. These are best when informal and should have the dual purpose of providing interest and instruction for teachers about the local earth as well as demonstrating how they might offer a similar field activity to their students. Perhaps you could contact a large school system and offer a field trip on their professional development day. Publicize field trips by other organizations.

2.2 Support Teachers. Organize to be sensitive to public school teachers. Personnel in higher education can provide support, contacts with other professionals, and other unique assistance for pre college teachers. Pre college teachers know what their needs are,
appreciate their time and financial limitations, and know what will help them operate better in the real world of their classroom with their students.

2.3 As many interested, dynamic and innovative teachers as possible should be involved in meaningful ways to promote the organization and it’s activities, to provide articles and columns for your newsletter, to give advice about dates, schedules, costs, suitability of materials, etc. and to edit written material.

2.4 Personnel in higher education should be involved as facilitators, arrangers, leaders (of field trips, etc), keynote speakers, technical advisors, etc. They should be in a position to call on their colleagues for articles, talks, field trips, etc. It helps that they can provide secretarial assistance.

3. PUBLIC RELATIONS. Use any and all opportunities to promote the purpose and conduct the service activities in such a way that they will result in a positive image. The effectiveness of public relations depends on the amount of time that can be spent developing it. Use your time effectively, where it will affect the most number of people—mailings, e-mailings, conferences, and meetings. Involve as many people as possible so that each spends less individual time. Write specific job descriptions for each office/committee and make sure that the individual jobs get done.

4. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS. Affiliate with any other organizations that will provide you with assistance or exposure to those you seek to serve, but that will not restrict your operations. Solicit financial and/or personnel help from organizations that will give it to you. Most professional organizations are on record as willing to help educational endeavors. Remember they are the parents of pre college children and are interested in better teaching, particularly in their own career interest area. Try State surveys, water resource, geological etc. State offices of the USGS, NWS, Soil Conservation Service, NOAA, and NASA or state/national professional societies such as AAPG, NAGT and AGU. Other sources of assistance include local/state/national teacher associations/organizations, education departments in state/university/college, local school districts, especially science coordinators; also amateur societies; education/industry coalitions and colleagues/friends/professionals in Earth science subject matter areas.


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