Nation's Top K-8 Teachers Gather in Lowell to Improve Science Instruction

Three hundred elementary and middle school educators from across the country will meet at the 2nd Annual TEACH Conference in Lowell on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, to refine their vision of effective science instruction and explore how to teach the way that children learn.

The conference is hosted by KnowAtom, headquartered in Salem, Mass., and will focus this year on “Making Thinking Visible with a Growth Mindset.” This theme is particularly timely as schools are making the shift to the new science standards, which require that students demonstrate their thinking in order to achieve mastery. Attendees are classroom and district leaders who are at the forefront of next generation science instruction.

“Success under the Next Generation Science Standards goes well beyond test scores; it begins with engaging students in thinking on an everyday basis as scientists and engineers in the classroom,” said KnowAtom founder and CEO Francis Vigeant. “This is a significant shift from the more passive tradition of teaching "about" science. TEACH is a place where elementary and middle school teachers can learn from peers who produce the top science results on tests like MCAS in their states and districts. The people you'll meet at TEACH are teaching children to actively engage their thinking skills to figure out phenomena.”

With dozens of workshops offered during the event, attendees will have multiple opportunities to learn new techniques for teaching science and engineering in a way that develops students’ ability to create, analyze, and evaluate, skills necessary for mastery of the new elementary and middle school science standards. The following speakers will also be present:

·   Jeffrey C. Riley, commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education for Massachusetts, will give the welcoming address

·    Dr. Richard Elmore, professor of educational leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will give the keynote on “The Future of Learning and the Design of Schooling."

·   Cara Pekarcik, 2018 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, will give a workshop on how using real-world phenomena can help students create connections between science content and their everyday world. 



Thursday, Agency of Commerce & Community Development Secretary Michael Schirling announced the launch of the ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program during the second annual Innovation Spaces Conference at Vermont Technical College.

The ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program, proposed by the Scott Administration and passed in partnership with the Legislature, was created to respond to the growth needs of Vermont small businesses with 20 or fewer employees by funding innovative strategies that accelerate small business growth. The grant program will allow the State to invest in projects with grants that can be accessed more quickly and with fewer restrictions than traditional federal initiatives. The appropriation for this program is $150,000.

“Our goal with this program is to support innovative strategies that grow the economy and support vibrant communities, while facilitating ‘testbed’ approaches to create reproducible results,” said Schirling.

The ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program is designed to fund projects in areas crucial to the growth needs of Vermont’s small businesses, including those that:

Provide workforce training and recruitment (not eligible for state or federal funding);

Establish or enhance a facility (co-working, makerspace, innovations center, etc.);

Enable or support broadband telecommunication access;

Leverage federal funding (such as Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] grants);

Support growth in Aerospace, Aviation, or Aviation Technology; or

Provide technical assistance to growing Vermont businesses.

 Focusing on these areas will positively impact Vermont’s small businesses. A well trained and vibrant workforce, access to high-speed internet and knowledgeable technical assistance are all essential to supporting a healthy entrepreneurial environment. In today’s economy, people are changing how and where they work, making access to co-working, maker and innovation spaces essential for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The Small Business Administration administers the SBIR Grant Program, which supports the commercialization of new technologies based on federal research and development. Several successful Vermont companies have leveraged this program and the State must help more gain access to this important resource.

 “The State of Vermont is committed to looking for new and innovative programs that help support our small businesses, grow our economy and create more good jobs for Vermonters,” said Governor Scott. “Strengthening our economy is a top priority of my Administration, and this program is an important part of this work.”

Details on the ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program are available at Interested parties with questions can contact Nick Grimley, ACCD director of entrepreneurship & tech commercialization, at

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