Early-Grade Teachers (21st Century Education Curriculum Compels More)

From the perspective of an award winning elementary school principal, educational researcher- practitioner, trainer and consultant, currently developing differentiated instructional curricular content for professional development training in conjunction with internationally renowned Science Weekly Magazine (an award winning K-6 STEM supplement and teaching tool favored amongst new and veteran teachers), I find the REPORT: EARLY-GRADE TEACHERS REQUIRE DIFFERENT SKILL SET by Julie Rasicot, in Educational Leadership magazine published by ASCD, to be professionally timely and educationally in sync with what appears to be a national and global call for an earlier identification of students’ academic brilliance across the board, particularly in the areas of science, mathematics and literary arts. While most  of our teachers do an excellent job teaching our students, 21st Century Education Curriculum compels more.

Laura Bornfreund, a senior policy analyst for New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative, examines the issue of preparation for Teachers in Pre-kindergarten and Early Grades, she discusses the idea that disparate preparation results in many teachers lacking the complete training they need to successfully teach young students.  She states that early-grade teachers “need to be equipped with knowledge and skills that show a deep understanding of early childhood, including a focus on social-emotional growth and family engagement and instruction in the most effective ways to teach early science, early literacy, and the building blocks of mathematics.”  the report says.
This article reveals, re-enforces, highlights, and echoes Science Weekly’s established  belief that the “affective” as well as the cognitive and psychomotor domains  are important to the student’s teaching and learning process.  Yes, the social-emotional growth needs, an understanding of the student’s family life and environment, teacher-student relationship, and subject area instructional methods in the most effective ways to engage, motivate, and inspire students are all essential skills needed to develop early science, mathematics and literary arts excellence.
Science Weekly Magazine believes in its guiding principle of using a differentiated, teacher-student facilitation instructional model.  This delivery model is used in publishing all of it’s products and services. We believe, as the solution in the report suggests, that revising preparatory programs so that they adequately train early grade teachers and then make sure that those are the teachers hired to teach the youngest learners. That will ensure, as the article reports, that our pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade students will get the foundation they need to be successful in school, Bornfreund says.
Not only will these students find success in school, but greater will be the possibility that we will be able to identify an earlier developing group of young scientists, mathematicians and literary experts.
Bettye Stevens Coney- Science Weekly Magazine
May, 2012



By: Bettye Stevens Coney, MS, CPT, ED.L (Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning Trainer, Consultant, National Presenter, Published Author, Award Winning School Principal)
Bettye Stevens Coney Copyright 2012



Involved is a revolutionary, mind altering way of thinking about and experiencing education. Replacing the traditional model of schooling with this model makes today a wonderful time to be a practitioner in the field of education. This exhilarating model gives equal ownership to parents, support teams, mentors and all stakeholders in the student’s schooling.

Today, the goals of our 21st Century Education have acquired Grammy Acclaim status! Through the process of an integrated, interdisciplinary, project-based, research driven approach, some 21st Century Education Schools are utilizing the seven survival skills advocated by Tony Wagner from his book, The Global Achievement Gap:

• Critical Thinking and Problem Solving,
• Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
• Agility and Adaptability
• Initiative and Entrepreneurship
• Effective Oral and Written Communication
• Accessing and Analyzing Information and
• Curiosity and Imagination

Using these skills moves us from a traditional model of schooling to a real-life educational—whole child needs model of student skills acquisition. Our schools are in dire need of a fast forward teacher-student facilitation of Tony Wagner’s skills.

The nearly catastrophic elements present in our global world affect each of us on our local, state and national levels. This point is clearly illustrated through the down slope of the world’s economy, climate change, the environment, poverty, famine, health care, global population explosion, and social issues.

These challenges are persuasively propelling us to see the need for and to be convinced to provide the necessary teaching and learning experience for students to be able to communicate, to adequately function, and create personal, social, economic, and political change from the local to global levels.

Undoubtedly, our schools must provide a project-based curriculum for life, one which engages students to get involved in real-world problems that are germane to our survival.

You may be asking the question: How can a project-based curriculum, using real-world problems truly be accomplished in today’s schools? The answer is through an effective teaching “culture” in all educational facilities, settings, and environments. Effective teachers have a genuine, heartfelt belief proven in practice through knowledge and skills of how to do it and based on evidence that all students can learn. Methodology for instruction is vitally important. Effective teachers ensure that the knowledge they impart is not just memorization of facts and figures, especially in science and mathematics. Instead, knowledge is constructed through research and application.

Effective teachers understand that, through continued professional development training, they must change the way they teach in order to reach all students. They understand the value of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (C&LRT&L). Effective teaching is a humanistic principle which values the use of cultural knowledge, students’ prior experiences, frames of references and performance styles of ethnically diverse students to make learning more relevant to and effective for them (Geneva Gay 2000).


In the quest for 21st Century Education Success in our nation and the world, all students are affected. 21st Century Education curriculum, Tony Wagner’s seven skills attainment, effective teaching and parental involvement are the pillars necessary for all students to be successful navigators into today’s new global classroom.

The curriculum of 21st Century Education addresses a hands-on, real-life-everyday issues approach to teaching and learning. Of interest is that this approach captures the learning proclivity of students who are presently falling between the cracks and are being labeled “at-risk” and “underachievers.” Fact is that research indicates that these same students are being “underserved” as opposed to being “underachievers”. “Underserved” because the necessary connectivity, hooks, or magnetic leads may not be being used or activated in their learning environment to put students’ intellectual brain power in action. Effective teachers of diverse students “get it.” Effective teachers learn knowledge and skills acquired through cultural education professional development training about ethnic students and the cause for some of their misunderstood behavior. They understand the “who is affected” syndrome that is characterized by students’ inattentive, trouble making, high verve, need for interpersonal communication and disconnect to the curriculum. The result is disinterest in school. Effective teachers are part of the core ingredients for students’ success. In order to have successful students, they recognize and make applicable learning relative to everyday-real life situations.

Amazingly, the 21st Century Education curriculum acknowledges and is inclusive of an instruction design that challenges all students and provides for “differentiation” instruction to not “underserve” any student. A driving force in 21st Century Education is curriculum relevance.

Curriculum relevance creates student learning with project-based real life (this means students’ everyday real-life, which is their home, culture, experiences, community, traditions, etc.) issues. Again, through an integrated, interdisciplinary approach, students learn basic skills. Project-based, real life, real world designation as written in the 21st Century Education curriculum clearly depicts Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning. A special reminder of paramount importance must be clarified here: A (C&LRT&L) instructional method does not mean “dumbing –down” or watering down the curriculum.

Rather, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning beautifully validates and legitimizes the students’ cultural heritage through the use of familiar cultural experiences and performance styles to teach new concepts and skills. Further, C&LRT&L enhances students’ self-concept, self-confidence, self-esteem and racial pride. Is not this awesome? Imagine, rather than being “turned off ” to school, “underserved” students can now be “tuned-in” to learning and become high performing achievers.

Students need not go to school, manage to impatiently sit there day after day, and return home feeling unfulfilled, ignored and invisible, or, a failure because of a lack of subject matter relevance. But through effective teaching, hands on, real-life issues in science, mathematics, social studies, literacy: visual, aural, Eco literacy, emotional, financial, media, multicultural, language arts, and multiple intelligences, marketing, gardening, nutrition and so much more, we can begin to develop “underserved” students into brilliantly able student learners and performers.

Students not only need a real-life, real-world school and school curriculum, effective teachers and culturally relevant pedagogy, but students benefit from passionately involved parental involvement and a support team to serve as their enablers. Students’ first teachers and role models are their parents. Parents are usually their children’s illumination of hope for the beginning and ending of each day. And, just as teachers receive continued education training, parents who desire to improve their parenting skills may find Mega Skills Training, by Dorothy Rich, an informed resource among many other available ones. A major component of Rich’s program is the weekly home activities. They teach parents of young children to take advantage of teachable moments such as folding laundry and setting the table. They illustrate how academics and character development are part of every day life. The goal is to set a pattern for parents of new educational strategies which they can continue to use to support their children’s education long after they complete the workshop (Dorothy Rich, 2008) program.


For the success of our existence as an intellectually productive humanity, 21st Century Education and Effective Teaching are crucial. Times have changed and we are trying to solve 21st century challenges with 18th and 19th century thinking processes and techniques.

Think about it? Why is it that the overwhelming majority of U.S. school districts and states are failing to make targeted investments to provide the core resources necessary to extend curriculum that works for Black male students? Why is it that Black male students are not given the same opportunities to participate in classes offering enriched educational offerings (According to The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males—2010)?

Remember, research indicates that Black males begin to drop out of school, psychologically, as early as about fourth grade.

21st Century Education and Effective Teaching are crucial because an analysis of the disproportionate number of minority students who are placed in special education suggests many factors are at play (Klingner, Artiles, et. al, 2005). These researchers recommend a culturally responsive education system dedicated and grounded in the belief that “all” culturally and linguistically diverse students can excel in school when their culture, language, heritage and experiences are valued and used to facilitate their learning.

Question? If we know what works, why is this research so slow to be embraced and employed in our schools?

Embracing 21st century education and its goals is a wonderful starting place to entrust our continued hope for equity for all students. Gone is the ticking clock that attempted to measure the loss of the known brilliance of past misunderstood, misplaced, “underserved”students who were viewed as invisible at the system’s glance.

So, with valor, we march forward with a steady beat. We dare not look downward with gloom, pity, dismay and grief or we are sure to miss an eager beaconing for our wisdom, knowledge, leadership and caring to assist someone, somewhere at sometime.

Just as our yesteryears produced some of the world’s most learned scholars; likewise, we recognize a listing of today’s exemplary global achievers. As stake holders everywhere, we must join hands together with our brothers and sisters across cultures, ethnicities, and races to proclaim equity education for all students. This is the call of 21st Century Education.

We must be involved in meaningful Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) participation across the board—pre-kindergarten through the educational spectrum. Explicit focus must be centered on teacher-student facilitation to produce critical thinking, creativity, imagination, dreaming, experimental wondering and global connecting with others who teach and learn in similar ways.

Inspiring research termed as cultural brokering ( as reported in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, March 2012) defined as the activity of helping young people bridge values and cultural norms of non-dominant communities to those of a scientific discipline may be particularly critical at different points of childhood, adolescence, and young adults, too (Cooper, Denner, & Lopez, 1999).

The discipline of science education and research explicitly wants to further understanding of the conditions under which students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds “gain access to and have opportunities to contribute to disciplinary (science) practices.”

Answer… Through the school’s curriculum, the teaching and learning of science is provided. Further provided are opportunities to expose and to enlist diverse students’ interest in engaging science activities through multi-media resources, weekly science magazines, museums and a host of other avenues. This is all part of 21st Century Education

How Do More Students Reach The Promise Land?

More students reach the promise land through a manifestation of real-life needs, schools, and curriculum; effective teaching; employing culturally responsive pedagogy; parent, community and school alignment, continued professional development; and a broadening of communications networks.

First: More students can be enabled and empowered to reach this place of preparedness for a productive life through a much needed paradigm shift about What is education? We must realize that our mental processing about education, beginning in pre- school must be viewed through lens of a yet higher order of skills teaching and learning to solve real-life problems, through project-based, integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum.

Second: Parent, community and school alignment continue to be the bedrock for communication of common goals and support in the pursuit of excellence in education.

Third: While standardized testing is important, it is not the panacea for the 21st Century Education Schools. The curriculum of the school must fit the needs of its students by providing students experiences, which sharpen their skills as critical thinkers, learning of basic skills through practical projects which begin to prepare students for global readiness. Techniques of decision making and everyday living experiences are of vital importance. We must become intentional in the teaching and learning about stereotyping, prejudice reduction, anti-racism activism, and cultural education.

Fourth: We must be proactive and ever vigilant to advocate that all educational institutions engage (require) professional development training to equip teachers with effective teaching “know how” in facilitating the learning of the ethnically diverse population.

Fifth: We must be forthright in acquiring necessary knowledge and skills to produce the highest intellectual potential in all students and to include ethnically diverse students. Researchers boldly state that culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning jump starts, bridges, provides the hooks and connection between what students know and the vast amount of knowledge they must learn. Why not employ this method?

Sixth: We must encourage and empower each other to become information seekers and sharers, forward thinkers and activists for the 21st Century Education Curriculum.

Seventh: Above all, it is imperative that we formulate think tasks, avenues, and models for open communication production across cultural boundaries. In other words, we must address and find solutions for our urgent educational challenges.


By: Bettye Stevens Coney, MS, CPT, ED.L (Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning Trainer, Consultant, National Presenter, Published Author, Award Winning School Principal)
Bettye Stevens Coney Copyright 2012

Raising Leaders with Science, Technology, and Good Teachers

In the report, A Nation at Risk, published in 1983, it was stated that the US ranked 18th in Science and Mathematics among the top twenty industrialized nations, with whom we compare ourselves.  It was also announced in 1984 by Dr. Claude Mayberry, publisher of the award-winning publication Science Weekly, that on the average less than 17 minutes a week was being devoted to science instruction in our nation’s elementary schools.

These statistics are yet relatively unchanged.  Harold Wenglinsky and Samuel C. Silverstein reported that the reason relative poor science performance still exist among US students, is “too many science classes are being taught by teachers who have inadequate preparation in the subject.”  (The Science Training Teachers Need, January 2007)

Educational research documents that the most important change variable necessary to improve science achievement in our elementary schools (high schools not excluded) is the improvement of teacher training-both pre-service and in-service.

Allan Leshner, CEO at AAAS, claims that the failure of the United States government, and our society at large, to support science education at a sufficient level [teacher training at the top of the list] could undermine our every eminence, and thereby threatening our pre-eminence in science.  This means that the ability to remain a leader relies on how well we as a nation educate our students in science and technology.  It will not happen without adequate-word-class teacher training—both pre- and in-service.


Because no textbook in any subject can be geared to the needs of all students, funds should be made available to support text development in “thin-market” areas, such as those for disadvantaged or underserved students, the learning disabled, and the gifted and talented.  New instructional materials should reflect the most current techniques and application in learning and teaching (Science & Literacy) – these instruction supports are incorporated in the instructional design of Science Weekly..Science Weekly engages students in the process of conceptual change—using differentiated and inquiry method as the primary approach to teaching and learning.

Science Weekly Goes International

Chinese Governor and American Businessman Solidify Historical Partnership on the Eve of the Chinese Moon Festival American company first to be awarded such an honor.

Silver Spring, MD – (September 23, 2010) Earlier this week, Dr. Claude Mayberry (President of CAM Publishing Group, Inc. and creator of Science Weekly Magazine), Mr. Yongshan Yang (Governor of Hebei Provence, P.R. China), and Mr. Zhanmin Cheng (President of Hebei Reading Media Co., Ltd) shook hands on a partnership that will bring Science Weekly Magazine to students in the Hebei Provence of China.

CAM Publishing Group is the first American company to be awarded a Chinese publishing code, making this partnership an historical event for both countries that will foster the development of global publishing, education, and economic growth. Both partners consider this union a launch pad for shared cultural enlightenment, communication and collaboration between U.S. and Chinese educational objectives and the students they wish to inspire toward careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (known in the U.S.A. as the STEM Education Initiative.)

While extending sentiments of respect, partnership, and long–lasting friendship, Governor Yang noted that this milestone occasion coincides with the annual Chinese Moon Festival (or Zhongqiu Festival) which is a harvest celebration. The symbolism of the work completed with the formalized agreement led him to quote, Chou En Lai’s Chinese saying, “When you are drinking the water, don’t forget the people who dug the well ” to remind those present at the event, that while we celebrate today, much work is yet to be done as we endeavor to strengthen the ties that link us toward our common civic and educational goals. Governor Yang, also extended a warm welcome for the Science Weekly team to be his guests in the Hebei Provence at any time as he looks forward to “digging the well” from which educational sustenance (water) will be drawn for years to come.

While, Dr. Mayberry will be returning to China in November to begin production planning, a prototype of the new publication was made available at the luncheon. Dr. Carolyn Reedom, National Sales Manager for Science Weekly Magazine and former Assistant Superintendent of the Clark County School District (NV), remarked, that the Chinese version of Science Weekly, “Is not just a translation of the U.S. version, but rather a thoughtfully developed, culturally aligned, attractively designed publication that will surely entice the students, enabling the publication to serve its purpose as a solid educational supplement.”

For additional information on Science Weekly Magazine in the United States and abroad, please contact CAM Publishing Offices at (301) 680-8804 or ScienceWeekly.com

Addressing the Issue: “Science Education Lacking in Maryland”

On March 9, the Baltimore Sun published an article regarding the challenges of science education in the state of Maryland.  Here are our respectful comments:


Dr. Laura Gehl (Science Weekly Magazine, Senior Editor)
March 11, 2001

Bowie contends that the problem with science education begins in elementary school, “where most teachers aren’t trained to teach science.” I couldn’t agree more. Teachers without a science background need help introducing science to their students, especially since – as Anne Spence says – “Elementary school teachers are scared by math and science.” More than twenty years ago, Claude Mayberry, publisher of the educational science periodical Science Weekly, recognized that elementary school teachers needed assistance bringing science into their classrooms. Mayberry started Science Weekly as a way to allow teachers to introduce science – with no science knowledge or expertise needed. The publication, written at 6 different levels for students in the elementary grades, allows teachers to conduct hands-on laboratory experiments with their classes, as well as to integrate each science topic with reading, writing, math, and problem-solving activities. Teachers receive background information on every topic, instructions and solutions for every activity, and suggestions for websites and books in case further information is desired.

Michelle Shearer states, “elementary school teachers have a tremendous burden” in having to teach science without sufficient expertise. Staying current on scientific topics is also very challenging for elementary teachers. Science Weekly gives teachers the chance to keep their classes on the forefront of technology – with topics like “Green Buildings” and “Nanotechnology” – without making it a burden.

And what about keeping students interested in science long-term? Susan Brown says that a cultural shift needs to take place so that scientist seems like a cool career choice; she notes that students do not often see scientists in the media. Science Weekly offers students a peek into the lives of real scientists, from venomous animal researcher Bryan Fry to infectious disease expert Margaret Bash. Students read about the fascinating research these scientists are conducting right now, as well as the childhood interests that led each scientist to his or her chosen career.

I urge superintendants and principals concerned about the state of science in their schools to consider using Science Weekly. Let’s keep science from being one more burden on teachers. Instead, let’s get teachers – and their students – excited about science.