Tag Archives: initiative

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$20,000 APS grant funds TGen education initiative

A $20,000 grant from the APS Foundation will help the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) expand its TGen2School initiative by providing science kits and instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

The kits and accompanying instruction for teachers are part of the TGen2School initiative at TGen’s Pathogen Genomics Division – TGen North – in Flagstaff, where some of the world’s top experts in disease-causing microorganisms study everything from valley fever to MRSA and even anthrax and plague.

TGen North’s Bio-SEEK: Bio-Science Education Enrichments Kits Program provides five different types of bioscience education kits for teachers and their students. The goal is improved overall scientific literacy, and a better-prepared bioscience workforce.

The program includes instructional sessions to help educators use the kits to teach such concepts as infectious disease and genomic testing methods, biosafety procedures, bioinformatics, and how DNA is used in forensics, public health and other life sciences.

“These are ideal tools that teachers can use to convey complex concepts in ways students can easily absorb, and it lessens the burden on the pocketbooks of teachers,” said Zsuzsi Kovacs, TGen North’s STEM Education Coordinator. “These kits are built on next-generation science standards and bioscience basics that students need to succeed in the genome-age.”

TGen will provide instruction for teachers during professional development days at TGen North, 3051 W. Shamrell Blvd., southeast of Interstate 17 and the exit to the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.

“Commercial bioscience kits often contain limited directions, making teaching concepts challenging when teachers already have so much on their plate,” Kovacs said. “With professional development and teacher-friendly directions, educators will be able to adapt them in a way that is best for their students.”

Thanks to the APS Foundation’s grant, the newly developed kits will be provided at no charge through a checkout system available to teachers who have attended the professional training.

TGen2School initiative aligns with the goals of David Engelthaler, TGen North’s Director of Programs and Operations, one of the leaders in STEM education in Flagstaff, which in 2012 became the nation’s first STEM City.

“With initial funding from the Flagstaff Community Foundation (FCF) and others, we have placed a concerted effort into our TGen2School program,” said Engelthaler, a former State Epidemiologist for the State of Arizona. “We are so excited that the APS Foundation has decided to help us. Their grant will allow us to grow and expand our program in a direction that better meets the needs of our teachers.”

The grant to TGen North was one of 15, totaling more than $500,000, made by the Foundation to non-profit organizations throughout Arizona and New Mexico. Of the 30 fastest growing occupations projected through 2016, more than half will require mastery of STEM subjects, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We at the APS Foundation applaud the efforts of all the organizations who received the grants,” said Julie Coleman, Executive Director of the APS Foundation. “We are pleased to be able to help support and encourage non-profits who engage in promoting STEM education, and other educational efforts, to increase student achievement. Success in education will result in a healthy society, strong economy and robust Arizona.”

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Junior Achievement, Microsoft Prepare Valley Students

Junior Achievement of Arizona (JAAZ) and Microsoft announced a new collaboration as part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative to help local students explore careers in the technology hardware and software industries.

Through Microsoft YouthSpark, students from GateWay Early College High School, Girls Leadership Academy, Mesa High School and Skyline High School participated in the JA Job Shadow program, including teacher-led classroom instruction around key work-readiness skills such as leadership, teamwork and how to conduct a successful job search. The students visited a Microsoft Retail Store for a day-long mentoring experience giving them a first-hand glimpse into the world of work and the opportunity to apply their classroom learning.

“We are thrilled to partner with Microsoft to help students develop and enhance skills needed for future career pursuits,” said Joyce Richards, president of JAAZ.  “Through JA Job Shadow, students will learn resume writing, job interviewing and decision making, to help position them for success in the workforce.”

Students in the Phoenix-metro area join youth in 49 other communities across the United States to participate in the effort.

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A look at the 9 measures on Arizona ballot

Here are the nine voter initiative and legislative referendum measures on Arizona’s Nov. 6 general election ballot:

SALES TAX INCREASE — Proposition 204 would replace a penny-on-the-dollar temporary sales tax increase set to expire in mid-2013 with a permanent increase of the same size. Revenue would have to be used for education, construction projects and social services. Initiative.

PRIMARY ELECTION — Proposition 121 would revamp the state’s primary election system. The two top finishers in the primary election would advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. And voters, regardless of party affiliation, could vote for any candidate. Initiative.

STATE SOVEREIGNTY — Proposition 120 would have Arizona declare that the state has exclusive authority over all land within its borders. American Indian reservations and military bases would be exempt. Referendum.

PICKING JUDGES — Proposition 115 would give governors more say over judicial appointments. The governor would generally get at least eight nominations for each appointment, up from at least three now. Also, her appointments of attorney members of the nominating commission would not have to come off a list of lawyers recommended by the State Bar of Arizona. Referendum.

CRIME VICTIMS — Proposition 114 would provide a new legal shield to crime victims. A crime victim would not be liable for damages suffered by a person engaged in a felony or fleeing from a situation involving a felony. Referendum.

BUSINESS EQUIPMENT TAX— Proposition 116 would provide tax savings for smaller businesses. The exemption on value of equipment and machinery subject to property tax would increase from the current inflation-adjusted amount of $68,079 to $2.4 million for newly acquired equipment and machinery. Referendum.

PROPERTY TAX — Proposition 117 would impose a cap on property tax increases. Increases could not exceed 5 percent over the value for the previous year, beginning with the 2015 tax year. Referendum.

EDUCATION FUNDING — Proposition 118 would set a minimum amount for funding for schools and other designated beneficiaries of income from the state trust land fund for the next nine fiscal years. There is currently no minimum requirement on using the fund’s income. Referendum.

TRUST LAND SWAPS — Proposition 119 would allow swaps of state trust land under certain conditions. Trust land could be exchanged with other public land in Arizona to protect military installations from encroaching development or to convert trust land to public use. Referendum.