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KNOXVILLE — As Tennessee competes to improve the quality of science and math education across the state, a new two-year program for high school teachers will help them capitalize on the state’s scientific resources.

The program was funded by a math partnership grant from the Tennessee Department of Education to Middle Tennessee State University, which formed a partnership with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the University of Memphis; and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The program is open to teachers statewide.

Starting with a four-day workshop in Oak Ridge this summer, the program is designed to expose teachers to the most current discoveries in the field of science, and give them the tools to use that knowledge as they educate their students.

“Teachers will be able to make the latest scientific discoveries be a relevant part of their classrooms,” said Sheila Webster, director of the Technology Research and Development program in UT’s Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment.

During the initial workshop, teachers will meet with top scientists and educators from UT, ORNL and ORISE. They will tour some of the world’s most advanced laboratory facilities and learn about interesting applications of technology not reflected in current textbooks.

“We’re fortunate in Tennessee to have access to these amazing scientific resources,” said Webster. “They are a great tool as we look for our state to be more competitive in science and math education.”

Teachers who take part in the program will be prepared to teach top-level science classes in their schools, and bring innovative approaches to their classrooms. Webster said this will expose students to the possibilities of careers in science and math, and help boost test scores.

During the summer of 2008, teachers in the program will assemble again to share information on effective teaching techniques while enhancing their own scientific knowledge in areas such as advanced mathematics and biology.

Recruiting for the program is now under way. Interested East Tennessee teachers can contact Webster at (865) 207-2125 or by e-mail at In Middle Tennessee, teachers can contact Dovie Kimmins at, and in West Tennessee they can contact John Haddock at


Sheila Webster (865-207-2125,
Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409,