Florida Distance Learning Consortium
Girls Get IT! Newsletter Volume II Issue VI
January 2008
In This Issue
:: Tallahassee STEM Takes Off with Math & Science
:: Florida Improves in the 2008 Quality Counts Report
:: The Return of Girl Power to Science!
:: Visit Girls Get IT!!
:: Do You Know an Alpha Girl?
:: Cool Career: Oceanographer
:: STEM Mini-Grants & Program Directory
:: Non-Profit Strives for Digital Media Education
:: Florida Trend's NEXT Magazine
:: NEW Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents
                                           Explore ~ Educate ~ Empower

Tallahassee Takes off with Math & Science!

Florida Quality Counts
 

Girls Get IT! and the Florida Girls Collaborative team will host another forum in Florida's capital city, Tallahassee, on Wednesday, February 6th at the Mary Brogan Museum for Arts and Science from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.  The forum, called Tallahassee Takes Off With Math and Science! is being hosted for all local child serving organizations.  Specifically, ANY interested organization or school that is involved with either in school or after school programs with a focus on gender equity and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for elementary, middle and high school students.  However, if you don't already have a program developed in STEM, don't be discouraged.  This is a perfect opportunity to get together with other organizations and brainstorm about how to start a new project with mini grant funds from the Florida Girls Collaborative and Girls Get IT!.

 

The goal of the Tallahassee Takes on Math and Science! forum is to showcase the offerings of organizations from across the Big Bend area and provide them the opportunity to collaborate.  All participants will learn how to: 1. list their program/organization in our online Program Directory 2. hear an overview of how to apply for a mini-grant, and 3. become a part of the Florida collaboration for gender equity in STEM education.

 

The Florida team would like everyone to walk away from this event with a sense of partnership in the Big Bend area between community based organizations; K-20 educational institutions, and private industry.

 

We hope to see as many people as possible at the forum.  We encourage everyone who can to participate and pass the word along to their networks! 

 

Note: Dinner is being sponsored by Crispers restaurant and all activities are free and open to the public. 

 

If you have any questions or concerns or are interested in participating, please contact Leah Cook at lcook@distancelearn.org or (850) 922-9025 direct!

 

Florida Improves in the 2008 Quality Counts Report

 

Florida Quality CountsFlorida has surpassed the national average in the 2008 Quality Counts education report. The nation received an overall C (75.2), with Florida surpassing that grade with a C+ (79.2), ranking the state 14th in the nation. Though not perfect, it is a definite improvement over last year. By comparison, Florida's grade is on the same level with most other states, considering none of the states received a perfect score and only three earned as high as a B (Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey).

 

The Quality Counts report is produced on a yearly basis by the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE).  EPE is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise public awareness regarding important issues in American education. The Quality Counts report can be found in the 12th annual edition of Education Week magazine. To view how Florida compares with the nation, Click Here!

 

In addition to scoring higher than many other states in the overall rankings, Florida also scored above average on its educational accountability system.  Out of 48 states, Florida was ranked in the top 10 for recent improvements in 4th and 8th grade reading and math achievement. Florida received a C, compared to the national average D+, on the state achievement indicator. The EPE determines the state achievement ranking by grading the students' current level of performance and their improvements over time.

 

The state also ranked above the national average with an A- on the policy indicators assessment, which measures academic standards and testing techniques; and ranked high (12th) in early childhood education and postsecondary education transitions.

 

However, our worst grade, a C -, was found in Florida's public education spending. Florida ranked 38th overall among the states in education funding and 42nd among states in the amount of taxable resources (3%) it allocates to education. In addition, Florida teacher salaries are among the lowest in the country. Per-pupil expenditures (PPE) are also low when compared to other states, ranking us 46th. These funding deficits are reflected in decreased graduation rates. Therefore, although Florida may continue to do well in assessments and standards, teacher quality and graduation rates may not improve if funding does not increase. 

 

Florida can be proud of its educational accountability system which rates the state among top rankings in the nation. Setting benchmarks for achievement and assessments for both students and schools challenge students and schools to constantly improve so that students can transition successfully to higher education and the workplace. With continued hard work and increased expectations, Florida should continue to score well next year. For more information on Quality Counts grading, Click Here!

The Return of Girl Power to Science!Netia McCray

 

My name is Netia McCray, and I am a senior at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, FL. I am also known for my role on the Leon County School Board as the Student School Board Representative. However, one of my passions is my after-school science program called "Science Days of Tallahassee". It is a program for minority middle school girls in the Big Bend area.

 

One of the reasons I am so dedicated to the project is my love for science. Before entering high school, I took science classes but was rarely allowed to explore topics in depth because of the bulk of material our teachers had to cover (which increased after the introduction of FCAT Science). I (like so many other girls) quickly lost interest in science. I perceived scientists as people who found joy only in printed words and not in experimentation or exploration.

 

That changed my freshman year of high school when I was introduced to chemistry and the wonders of scientific experimentation. I was fascinated with the possibility that something so tiny (that even our most powerful microscopes cannot see) could be the key to life on earth. I slowly started to regain my childhood curiosity about science. After taking several classes, I decided I wanted to become a Nuclear Physicist.

 

While I was attending a summer program (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science) at MIT, I began to realize that many girls (like me) lose interest in STEM fields because the classroom curriculum does not allow them to explore topics long enough for complete comprehension. Anyone can memorize pages from a book, regurgitate them on a test and never understand the material. I believe that girls do not deviate to STEM fields because they believe that they are not smart enough, or incapable of achieving a career in STEM since they are unable to comprehend these topics.

 

I stumbled across an article in the Wall Street Journal about the concern that American businesses are expressing towards the underperformance by students in the STEM fields. Further down the page I discovered an advertisement by Honda promoting an after-school STEM initiative program grant in order to invest in the future.  I began to realize that I was correct about what was going on in American schools and started writing down ideas for an after-school enrichment program for girls ages 11-15 in my area. After several months of working with my family and a few community partners, Science Days of Tallahassee was born.

 Florida Quality Counts

Science Days of Tallahassee incorporates the latest in communication and technology (e.g. iTunes podcast, iPods, PSP, YouTube, online homework submission, online grading system, etc.) with hands on activities, allowing girls to explore various scientific topics. Through special guest speakers, field trips, and a Science Fair, I hope to also introduce girls to opportunities available for them in STEM fields. With the help of our various partnerships (Florida Girls Get IT, Girl Scouts of the Big Bend, NAACP, etc.) we hope to make this program a success and testament to true girl power! For more information on Science Days, Click Here!

To visit GGIT! please click here

If you would like to forward this newsletter to a friend, Click Here!

Do You Know an Alpha Girl?

 

Girl Power!

American girls today are different from their mothers. They have more opportunities available in education, career opportunities, and in life. Today, young women and girls take equal rights for granted. They have never had to fight for their rights like the women of past generations. The shift in social norms and equal rights over the past several decades has allowed girls to make a psychological shift and begin an inner transformation.

 

In 2006, Dan Kindlon, a clinical psychologist at Harvard, studied more than 900 girls and boys to better understand this new girl psychology. What he discovered was a new girl power! The confidence girls now have in their equal opportunities is raising self-esteem, reducing depression, and altering gender roles. Kindlon dubbed this new generation of women as Alpha Girls.

 

The Alpha Girl mentality is created when society provides women with considerable equal opportunities. The Alpha psychology allows girls to become more confident in their education, their careers, and themselves. Studies on older generations have shown girls to have twice the risk of men to develop depression and anxiety disorders. However, Kindlon's research showed the alpha difference. The girls he studied were at no more risk for depression than men, showed no drop in self-esteem, and no lack of confidence.

 

Alpha girls are also gaining confidence in education. Studies have shown that girls have been ahead of boys in pre-college education for over 100 years, but the trend stemming from the mid-80s where women began to outnumber men in college and move into leadership roles. Currently, 58% of BA recipients are female nationwide.

 

Though the Alpha Girl is fighting her way through the education system, there is still a wage gap to be considered.  Even today, a year after college, women only make about 80% of what their male counterparts make. However, the Alphas are slowly starting to reverse this trend. In large cities like New York and Chicago, women 21-30 who work full time have an average income 17% higher than their male peers because 53% of the women have college degrees compared to 38% of the men.

 

As time goes on the alpha girl will continue to exert her girl power, close the wage gap and reach her full potential. To read the full article about Dan Kindlon's studies, Click Here!

Cool Career: Oceanographer

Florida Quality Counts

Did you know that the deepest part of the ocean is 7,126 feet deeper than Mt. Everest is tall? Or that if the ocean's salt was dried it would cover the continents to a depth of 5 feet? I'm sure you're aware that 71% of the Earth is water, but did you know that 97% of that water comes from the oceans alone? With more of our Earth covered by ocean than land, the study of these waters is essential to our daily lives.

 

So why study the ocean? For starters, the ocean affects the world's climate and weather. The study of the ocean floor also helps us better understand how the Earth was formed and how life develops. If that wasn't enough reason to want to take a look under the sea, the bacteria found in the deep sea could one day be used to help make medicines and clean the environment.

 

A better understanding of the Earth and its Oceans doesn't come from sitting in an office. Oceanographers spend the majority of their days either at sea in floating laboratories, on the coast collecting data, and even in submarines up to a mile and a half below the water's surface.

 

If studying the world below the water seems interesting to you, maybe a degree in Marine Studies is right for you. There are over 65 colleges and universities that offer undergraduate degrees in marine studies, 8 of those schools are located right here in Florida. For a complete list of schools that offer degrees in oceanography or other fields of marine studies, Click Here!

Florida STEM Mini-Grants and Program Directory

Do you have a collaborative idea within STEM education and need some additional funds to assist you? If so, join our team and receive up to $1,000 for your support. All you have to do is sign up to become part of our statewide Program Directory, and collaborate with another organization that is also in the Program Directory. It's that easy! To sign up, follow the short instructions below and be on your way to making connections you never thought you would!
 
For a more in depth overview of our mini-grants, Click Here!
 
SIGN UP FOR THE FLORIDA STEM PROGRAM DIRECTORY NOW!
 
The online Florida STEM Program Directory lists organizations and programs that focus on motivating girls to pursue education and careers in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the directory is to help organizations and individuals network, share resources and collaborate on STEM-related projects for girls. 
 
Organizations that serve young women and are interested in bringing more STEM resources to them are also encouraged to sign up!
 
The Directory contains program descriptions, resources available within each organization, program and/or organization needs, and contact information.  What better way to promote your program, resources and find other organizations in your area to collaborate with?
 

Having Your Program Listed in the Directory Has Several Advantages:

  1. Anyone with Internet access can find out about your program.
  2. You can view other programs in your area and across the state.
  3. Your organization can do a search and compare needs and resources in your area and across the state.
  4. Your organization is eligible for a mini-grant for innovative projects.

Don't wait - Sign up today! 

Here's How:

 Use the following instructions to create a new user account and then enter a program's information into the NGCP program directory.

  • Click Here!!
  • Click "Register New User" which is located on the far left.
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"
  • On the next page, click "New Program"
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"

That's It!  Your program will be listed and can be searched by anyone with access to the Internet.  It's that easy!

 

Once a new program's information has been submitted and approved,  it will appear in the public Directory for anyone to search. 

 

What better way to highlight the great work in STEM that you are doing in your community!

 

Note:

In order to be eligible for mini grant funding, your program MUST be listed in the Program Directory.  Once listed, you are encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration of funding.  For mini grant submission guidelines, Click Here!

Non-Profit Strives For Digital Media Education

FDMEC

Florida Digital Media Education Consortium (FDMEC) is an organization committed to the cooperation, collaboration, information sharing and joint planning and action for digital media education and awareness.  This non-profit organization advocates the importance of the ever changing role of technology and the needs of it being incorporated in classrooms today.

 

FDMEC defines Digital Media as "A creative convergence of digital arts, science, technology and business for human expression, communication, social interaction and education." This expresses the idea that Digital Media is never limited; therefore it is important to stay technologically educated in order to remain a well rounded, knowledgeable society.

 

The organization strives to receive support from all parts of Florida's industries, government programs, and education fields. FDMEC is a great way to network and integrate all careers. One way to do this is to attend the2008 FDMEC Digital Media Evening for Educators and Administrators on January 22nd. Spaces are limited, so register now on the FDMEC website and start your involvement in this organization today. To register to attend the 2008 FDMEC Digital Media Evening for Educators and Administrators, Click Here!

Florida Trend's NEXT Magazine

 
Florida Quality Counts

For the seventh year in a row, Florida Trend's NEXT magazine has been put in the hands of students, teachers and guidance counselors throughout the Florida public school system. The magazine looks to aid high school students in their decision making after graduation, providing useful information not only about colleges and technical schools but career opportunities, managing money, high school life and even staying fit.

 

In addition to the Department of Education's "FACTS.org college and career planner" students can find the "Get Smart Guide," a directory of colleges, universities, and career schools located in Florida. There is even a directory of thirty-one scholarships available to students from all different backgrounds and fields of study.

 

The Florida Trend's NEXT Magazine website also provides useful links for educators in their "Teacher's Lounge". Here you can access activity guides to accompany the magazine, sign up to receive the exclusive eNEXTletter and provide useful feedback via the teacher/counselor survey.

 

As always, the magazine is provided free of charge, and should be available at every public high school in the state. To order additional copies, or just browse the website for some helpful information, check out the Florida Trend's NEXT Magazine Website. Click Here!

What is Girls Get IT?
 
ggit
Florida Girls Get IT is a partnership between Florida Distance Learning Consortium, Cisco Systems, Inc.,  Florida's Community College and University system to create gender equity in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) & Information Technology (IT).
 
Why Does Florida Need This Initiative?
 
To remain competitive, Florida must offer a highly trained workforce. Nearly 75% of future jobs in the United States will require the use of technology, yet fewer than 33% of students in computer courses are female and women comprise only 20% of IT professionals and 13% of engineers.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Contact: Leah Cook, Project Director
Phone: 850.922.3359
Fax: 850.922.3109
 
Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents

Teachers:
 
Teacher Vision

 

Teacher vision provides a one stop website to help teachers' with parent collaboration, homework, themes and much more! Great for all grades K-12. Click Here!

 

 

Mead4Teachers.com

 

This is a great site for teachers to network, create game quizzes and shop for all their Mead school supplies. Click Here!

 
Students:
 
 

Send a Secret Message

 

This site is part of the NOVA special aired on PBS on July 24, 2007 about encrypted messages. It allows you watch the segment, create secret messages and learn all about Cryptography. Click Here!

 

How Stuff Works

 

Ever wonder what causes you to blush? Or what the definition of sarcasm is? This site provides answers to these questions and so many more. Click Here!

 

 
Parents:
 
Help Your Child Succeed in School 
 

This site offers information and tips for parents to do all they can to help their children succees in school. Click Here!

 
DisneyFamily.com
 

A great resource for parents. Includes parenting tips, recipes and meal ideas, travel tips, coupons, and fun activities. Click Here!

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Florida Distance Learning Consortium | Girls Get IT! | Tallahassee | FL | 32310