The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Foundation is teaming with the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to create an Excellence in Bioscience Teacher Initiative.
Scheduled to take place in July 2015 at TGen, the new pilot program will benefit teachers and students within the Scottsdale Unified School District.
The Excellence in Bioscience Teacher Initiative will provide teachers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with a strong fluency in cutting-edge biomedical research. An intensive, thee-day agenda will immerse them in a series of presentations, interactive discussions and practical experiences led by TGen bio-medical experts.
“Following our induction of TGen president — and Arcadia High School graduate — Dr. Jeffrey Trent into the SUSD Foundation’s Hall of Excellence in 2013, we have been working to expand our relationship with TGen to benefit the District,” said Price Nosky, chair of the SUSD Foundation. “With SUSD Superintendent Dr. David Peterson’s encouragement, and through the work of SUSD staff members, we are pleased to announce the formation of this new partnership and initiative.”
The SUSD Foundation will fund the $26,500 initiative as part of the annual contributions it makes to support SUSD, reflective of its goal, and that of its sponsors, to support educational opportunities that directly impact students and teachers in the classroom.
TGen is a leading biomedical research institute dedicated to translating laboratory breakthroughs into new clinical diagnostics and therapeutic treatments for patients with cancer, neurological conditions and other serious maladies.
“We are pleased to work with the SUSD Foundation to create this educational opportunity for the SUSD,” said Dr. Trent. “TGen recognizes that to fully achieve its mission we must invest in local schools to help build the pipeline of translationally-minded future scientists and physicians that will elevate Arizona in terms of health care and economic competitiveness.”
“We believe that increasing the content-knowledge, depth of understanding and insight of just one educator can benefit an exponential number of students over time,” said Brandy Wells, TGen Director of Education and Public Affairs. “We hope this initiative can be used as a model for industry-education partnerships in the future.”
According to Dr. Peterson, a select number of teachers from Saguaro High School’s Math & Science Academy will be chosen to participate in the initiative.
“We will identify select teachers to participate in this initiative who will also work to share the information gained with fellow educators and students in the District,” said Dr. Peterson. “This initiative of the SUSD Foundation will further showcase SUSD as a respected educational leader in developing collaborative, innovative programs that provide development opportunities for our teachers, and in turn, enables them to develop rigorous academic experiences for our students.”
Wells said that retaining and developing effective teachers is an ongoing need also recognized by TGen and one solution supported by the Institute is a visible and celebrated elevation of, and investment in, individual teachers.
“TGen’s interest in education and outreach is to help train and inspire Arizona’s next generation of researchers and physicians,” said Wells, a former junior high school teacher. “Positively impacting teachers has been an ongoing interest area for me personally. This program represents an opportunity I would have benefited from and sincerely enjoyed as a teacher.”
The pilot program was praised by Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane, who has overseen an expansion of bioscience efforts through the city’s Cure Corridor, a stretch of Shea Boulevard that includes hospitals, clinics and other innovative businesses dedicated to bioscience and medicine.
“This new partnership is exciting and potentially powerful,” said Mayor Lane. “Combining cutting-edge research, innovation and technology with education can benefit everyone, particularly the students within the Scottsdale Unified School District. As a Mayor active within Arizona’s Bioscience industry, I see this as the perfect collaboration.”