March 2023 - Science Educator Update

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Oregon Science Educator Update                                                                    March 2, 2023

Women in STEM

Women's History Month

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. This year, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will be featuring Indigenous women's voices and Youth in Action during March and April within their professional development series.

Here are some additional resources as you continue to engage diverse voices, contributions, and perspectives in science education this month and beyond: 

OSU Outdoor School

Outdoor School: High School Leaders

The OSU Extension Outdoor School Program is excited to invite outdoor school high school leaders to attend the 4-H Youth Voices in Action / Outreach Leadership Institute in Salem, OR from March 28-31. 

If you are a school district or outdoor school program that works with youth, please forward this opportunity along to your youth contacts and encourage them to register. Please share this bilingual leadership institute flier with your networks! To register, please visit OSU Extension Youth Voice.

To learn more about the benefits high school students will gain from the experience of leading and assisting at outdoor school, please visit High School Leaders in Oregon Outdoor Schools.

STEM Teaching Tool 90

New STEM Teaching Tools


2023 OSTA Fall Conference and Upcoming Webinars

The Oregon Science Teachers Association is planning a 2-day conference with workshops and field trips on Friday, October 13th, and a traditional conference format (50 minute sessions) for Saturday, October 14th. The NGSS turns 10 this year and Oregon recently re-adopted the NGSS as the state science standards (6/2022). This conference is a wonderful opportunity to share best practices and other resources that support the NGSS, particularly 3-Dimensional Learning.

In addition, Tuesday, March 13th from 4:30-5:50, educators from the Oregon Educators for Climate Education (OECE) will be presenting on their current initiative. If you are interested in attending or would like to request additional information, please refer to this form.

Vernier Logo

Vernier is Seeking HS Educators

Vernier Science Education is in the process of developing 3D instructional materials and is seeking high school educators to provide feedback on lessons that support physics, chemistry, and biology. This on-site engagement in Beaverton, OR would occur between April 24-28 and May 4-6. Educators will receive a Vernier gift card for participating. Please fill out this form to indicate your interest and availability. For additional questions, contact  

Science Olympiad Logo

Oregon Science Olympiad

Oregon Science Olympiad is pleased to announce the upcoming in-person state tournament on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at University of Portland. If you are interested in learning more or would like to sign up and volunteer, please contact Ashley deSilva, Oregon Science Olympiad Director.

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Welcoming ODE's New Science Assessment Specialist

Please join me in welcoming Mariela Salas Bao as ODE's new Science Assessment Specialist! 

 Mariela is a seismologist and an educator who was born and raised in Cabo Rojo, PR. After completing her B.S. in Geology from the University of Puerto Rico, she moved to the United States to pursue a M.S. in Seismology in Brown University. During her time at Brown, Mariela volunteered at a local elementary school to teach science classes once a week and was awarded a NSF fellowship to teach alongside science teachers in two high schools in Providence, RI. Mariela has taught geology, physics, earth science, astronomy, and environmental sciences at various community colleges. During her time as an educator she was also involved in assessment projects and participated in various nationwide geoscience committees. After seven years of teaching, she decided to pursue an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University. She completed her doctoral degree during the pandemic. Her dissertation focused on investigating geoscience educators' perception of critical thinking and how such perceptions played a role in the classroom.

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Engaging Equity Professional Learning Series for Educators

When the Student Success Act (SSA) passed in May 2019, it was designed to provide the resources districts need for support. Beyond the formula dollars for grants, over the last three years, ODE has also worked in collaboration with community and education leaders, to provide better tools and resources to meet the promise of SSA. The Engaging Equity: Equitable Mindsets, Practices, and Systems professional learning series is one of those tools. 

This new professional learning series is open, universal, and invitational. The series equips educators to create positive connections and strengthen community and learning conditions to improve student outcomes. This opportunity is for adults, with the aim to improve educational conditions for each and every student given the changing demographics in Oregon. It is not a curriculum for students.

To learn more about the Engaging Equity PL series, please visit the Student Success webpage or review the Frequently Asked Questions document.

Oregon Open Learning Hub Logo

Oregon Open Learning: Explore New Resources in the Oregon Collections

An OER Workshop for educators and school staff that will highlight two new Oregon collections (Sex Ed Open Learning and the Multilingual/English Learner Resource Bank) will take place on Thursday, March 9th from 4:00-5:15 pm. This virtual workshop will be an interactive professional learning event that will provide participants an opportunity to learn about open educational resources (OER) and the Oregon Open Learning Hub, Oregon’s K-12 repository for OER. Please register in advance for this learning opportunity. PDUs are available.

The session will be followed by OER office hours at 1 pm on the afternoon of Friday, March 10th. Whether you are new to the OER space or a seasoned advocate, your perspective is welcome and valued. Office hour sessions, facilitated by members of the Oregon Open Learning core team, will include space for questions, individualized support, and open discussion about OER and the Hub.

Have additional questions about Oregon Open Learning? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource or email

Students Hands Raised

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Deb Bailey or Kama Almasi, STEM Education Specialists, Mariela Salas Bao, Science Assessment Specialist, or Jamie Rumage, Science Education Specialist, if you have any questions or concerns.

The materials contained in the Department of Education’s Oregon Science Educator Update are drawn from both internal and external sources and inclusion of external materials does not necessarily indicate Oregon Department of Education endorsement.