To give teachers the materials, support, and power to get kids excited and curious about the world around them and confident in their ability to figure it out through questioning, investigating, and solving problems.
Our Core Values
We believe that:
- All students can excel in science
- Historical practices and entrenched cultural perceptions of science education need to be challenged
- The science education community, together, can solve problems in science classrooms
- High-quality science materials should be freely available and customizable
- Science teachers feel empowered when allowed to use their expertise and creativity in the implementation of the materials
- Professional learning is key in unlocking the power of great materials
- Teachers and students need equitable and exciting learning experiences
We provide teachers the materials and support to get ALL students excited and curious about the world around them and confident in their ability to shape it through questioning, investigating, and solving problems.
Too many teachers know the reality of the opportunity gap, and too many students live that reality. In addition to existing and systemic educational inequities, COVID-19 has exacerbated the crisis disproportionately affecting Black and Brown students as well as traditionally marginalized populations. OpenSciEd exists to change the status quo and remove the predictability about who succeeds and shows affection for the STEM fields.
The high cost of quality science materials often prevents districts from adopting the best curricula, and those who invest in good programs do it at the expense of adequate professional learning that helps teachers make necessary instructional shifts. Being freely available, OpenSciEd creates an environment where districts don’t need to make this compromise.
We believe that the best materials are rooted in the standards; created, reviewed, and approved by the science educator community; and field-tested to ensure their equity, efficacy, and usability. Our materials carry a creative commons license, which helps foster equal access to excellent, flexible materials that teachers can customize and adapt to meet the needs of their students. Our work is guided by the vision for science literacy described in the Next Generation Science Standards and supported by 10 partner states in the development of the materials.
Jim oversees the leadership of the project, hires and manages a small staff, and supervises the work of the curriculum developers consortium. The Executive Director is responsible for facilitating the Advisory Board meetings. He will be responsible for building partnerships with outside organizations to build revenue streams and/or networks that can support the spread of the materials. Jim has worked in a variety of capacities to improve STEM education for all students. He was a high school mathematics teacher and site administrator for ten years. He worked as an analyst, programmer, and team lead for Apple Computers, and then served in several leadership roles at Key Curriculum Press, a leading publisher of mathematics and science tools and curricula. In his work at Key he was Vice President of Professional Development and Marketing teams and led the creation of a new division focused on supporting the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Prior to his current role, STEM Executive Director for San Francisco Unified School District where he oversaw the development and implementation of core curricula in math and science as well as the computer science for all initiative in SFUSD.
Matt began his career in science education as a high school science teacher in Kansas, where he taught a wide range of high school science courses over ten years. In 2010, Matt joined the Kansas State Department of Education as the state science supervisor where he led Kansas’ participation as a lead state in developing the Next Generation Science Standards, coordinated the standards adoption process that led KS to be the 3rd state to adopt the NGSS, and coordinated the state-wide effort to use the implementation of these standards as an opportunity to advance science education for all students. For his efforts to advance science education in Kansas, Matt was awarded the Kansas Association for Teachers of Science Outstanding Contributions to Science Education Award in 2013 and was selected by Bethel College for their Young Alumnus Award in 2015. Matt was elected President of the Council of State Science Supervisors in 2014 and transitioned to a new position at Achieve, where he became their Director for Science and coordinated efforts to develop the supply of and demand for high quality instructional materials designed for the NGSS. Matt also served on the Board on Science Education at the National Academies for Science, Engineering, & Medicine from 2013 through 2019.
Sarah coordinates communications with core partner states and facilitates communication between states and consortium. The Director will manage the interactions between the Developers Consortium and Learning Tapestry as well as oversee the public deployment of the completed units. Sarah comes to OpenSciEd from San Francisco Unified School District where she led the development and implementation of their Science Core Curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards across grades K-12. Sarah’s experience includes six years as a middle school science teacher, four years as a professional development provider and instructional coach, and an exciting summer spent teaching science to three and four-year-olds. She has been involved in work at the state level, having been a part of California’s development of an Environmental Literacy Blueprint and has led teacher professional development for teachers across all grade bands on a variety of science education topics.
Our Commitment to Antiracist Action
We remain committed to acknowledging and taking on systemic racism in education. We recognize that the education system has often been a tool of oppression against people of color, specifically Black people, recreating power hierarchies and inequities. As science educators, we endeavor to develop science instructional materials and professional learning resources that provide equitable learning opportunities for historically disenfranchised students, with the goal to support their long-term self-determination. Our development process seeks to surface and address inequities in the engagement and participation of Black and Brown students in science learning, as well as other students who have been seen through a deficit lens rather than as knowledge builders in classrooms. Part of our work towards equity and justice involves recognizing the insidious ways racism has operated in science and rooting it out of science education. We strive to implement approaches that de-settle inequitable systems, routines, and assumptions that are in place in too many science learning environments and educational institutions.
We call on all curriculum developers to provide materials that bring forward and value all students’ voices and surface the critical conversations that will empower students to own their education and their futures.
Our work as educators is central to the elimination of racism, Anti-Blackness, and white supremacy in science education and we dedicate our organization to advocate for and work toward a more just society.