Maritime Aquarium Joins NASA, Smithsonian, and Others in National Effort to Train STEM Teachers

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is joining the nation’s top academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations and government agencies as Connecticut’s only representative in a partnership to provide urgently needed STEM training and support to teachers.

100Kin10, a national organization dedicated to solving the STEM teacher shortage by 2021, announced on Sept. 5 that The Maritime Aquarium will join 40 other new programmatic partners in its ranks.

The Maritime Aquarium is the only Connecticut representative among the now-321 partners, and the only U.S. aquarium. The only zoo in the partnership is the San Diego Zoo.

Other member partners include the American Museum of Natural History, the Bank Street College of Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dell, Google, Intel, JP Morgan Chase & Co., the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, NOAA, Sesame Workshop, the Smithsonian Science Education Center and more than 50 universities.

“We are honored to join such an outstanding group of partners,” said Tom Naiman, the Aquarium’s director of Education. “The invitation to join 100Kin10 is a powerful validation of our current work in STEM education and a strong motivation to do even more in the future. From the STEM training we are providing to early-childhood educators through the expertise developed at the Maritime Odyssey Preschool up to the NGSS workshops for midde- and high-school teachers, we are really making a difference. It’s exciting to see that impact recognized on a national scale.”

100kin10 launched in 2011 in response to President Obama’s call during his 2011 State of the Union address to train 100,000 new STEM teachers in a decade. 100Kin10 is on track to exceed its goal, with more than 68,000 teachers currently trained.

“Whether it's climate change, food shortages or economic inequality, almost all the world's most pressing problems require STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math)-based solutions,” says the 100kin10 website. “To solve them, we need all of tomorrow’s problem-solvers to be equipped with STEM skills and inspiration. And tomorrow’s problem-solvers need excellent STEM teachers today to guide them.”

Naiman said hundreds of area educators already have learned in Maritime Aquarium workshops in the last three years. The Aquarium’s periodic professional-development workshops teach teachers how to fulfill Next Generation Science Standards and how to incorporate innovative STEM lessons into their classrooms. (The next such offering, “Climate Change in the Classroom,” is Sat., Oct. 26. It’s free to teachers of grades 6-12 in all subject disciplines. Teachers in 11 districts receive a $100 stipend for participation.) 

100kin10 said that existing partners and an expert panel vetted and selected the 41 new partners. All partners register their commitments to ending the STEM teacher shortage through 100Kin10 and to supporting one another to achieve those commitments by exchanging expertise, learning and resources.

This is the seventh and final cohort of partners for 100Kin10 during its first 10 years.

“This final group, including The Maritime Aquarium, is a welcome addition as we enter our final push in achieving our goal and look toward the future in solving systemic issues around the teacher shortage in America,” said Talia Milgrom-Elcott, 100Kin10’s executive director. “Each organization is doing incredible, inspiring work to build the movement for better, bolder and more accessible STEM education. We’re thrilled to have them as our newest partners in collaboration, learning and continuous improvement to creatively solve the STEM teacher crisis.”

Learn more about the national partnership at www.100kin10.org.

Learn more about the educational programs at The Maritime Aquarium – including professional development – at www.maritimeaquarium.org.


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