Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Place: Willow Tree Restaurant
6513 Regional St
Dublin, CA 94568
Speaker: Art Krakowsky
Retired, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Title: TOPS: A Program to Increase Elementary (K-8) Student Science Achievement with Retired Scientists and Engineers
About the meeting: TOPS (Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science) is an outreach program using volunteers (the “Partners”) for (1) assisting teachers in grades K-8 with preparation and delivery of science and engineering lessons in the classroom, (2) providing content knowledge to teachers when needed to teach quality science and engineering lessons, (3) motivating students with career and educational models and information, and (4) educating families through after school family science events. The outreach program began with Partners who were retired scientists and engineers. Currently, the source of volunteers includes scientists and engineers who are employed or on leave as well as retired. The program began in 1993 at the San Joaquin County (California) Office of Education with three Partners at three elementary schools. The program now has 33 Partners at 32 schools in a five county region in Central California.

Most Partners volunteer to serve a minimum of a half day per week during the school year; however, the schedule can be flexible to accommodate differing needs of the Partners. The Partners attend a TOPS Institute during the summer preceding each school year. The Institute serves as a training course for new Partners.

This talk covers the history of the TOPS program, the selection and training of Partners, the relationship between the Partners and classroom teachers, development of lessons, and some comments on the experience in participating in the TOPS Program from the speaker.

About the speaker: Arthur M. Krakowsky was an engineer at Bell Labs and then, for 26 years until 1993, an Engineering manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the field of electronics and telecommunications. He has a BS in Math, an MS in Electronic Engineering, and an MA in Psychology. He has worked to interface computers to analytical chemistry equipment, designed electronic circuits, written software, overseen large telecommunication projects, and managed groups of engineers, technicians, and service representatives. He has been in the Livermore TOPS program since 2000 and is now the Staff Developer there. In his spare time, he has had a private practice in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling.

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Comments from the Organizers: We are all aware that tests show that the performance of students in science and mathematics in elementary school in the United States fall behind students in many industrialized countries in the world and even some of the developing countries, such as China and Korea[1]. Furthermore, eighth grade students in California ranked 47th out of 52 (50 states plus DC and DoD) in mathematics achievement in 2009 according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Report[2].

We believe that IEEE Life Members can make a significant contribution in solving this problem. In this talk, you will hear about a very successful program that has been in place for over seventeen years in San Joaquin County and now in Livermore. We intend to make education in science and engineering in elementary schools one of our top priority topics in this Affinity Group. Please join us to hear our plans and to provide your input.

To learn more about the TOPS Program, please download the article "Starting Early: Increasing Elementary (K-8) Student Science Achievement With Retired Scientists and Engineers" that appeared in the February 2010 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Education[3].


[1] "What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science," Report, Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 Results, Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, Paris.

[2] "National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)," Report, National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 2009.

[3] Judith Wilson, Arthur M. Krakowsky, and Charles J. Herget, "Starting Early: Increasing Elementary (K-8) Student Science Achievement With Retired Scientists and Engineers," IEEE Transactions on Education, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 2010, pp 26-31.

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