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PSP Summit - 2011 Summary

The First Annual PSP Summit: May 13-14, 2011

The first annual Maine Physical Sciences Partnership Summit was held, fittingly, on the top of a Maine mountain with inspiring views in all directions. Point Lookout Resort & Conference Center in Northport provided an ideal location for two days of reflection, thought-provoking talks, sharing of ideas and experiences, and brainstorming about the future of the PSP. 67 people attended this special gathering, a diverse mix of middle school teachers, high school teachers, University of Maine faculty, school and University administrators, graduate students, PSP advisory board members, and external evaluators.

The Summit program included speakers, break-out sessions, and panel discussions. PSP leaders spoke about the substantial progress to date as well as future challenges faced. Participants also heard perspectives from a legislative member, an industry leader, several science education leaders from middle school, high school, and university levels, and representatives from the Institute for Broadening Participation, Inverness Research, and the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. The full program, including links to presentations, can be viewed here.

One of the most important outcomes of the Summit was the feeling of camaraderie that was built by the end. Many people reported that they appreciated being able to talk with stakeholders who they don’t normally mix with, allowing them to understand the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives, and also to express their own viewpoints to people who might not otherwise hear them. Several people commented that the conference allowed them to see “the big picture” and “the full scope” of the PSP for the first time. The Summit allowed many participants to get a better sense of how their own work fits into the overall large project.

Everyone agreed that the Summit should be repeated annually, because of its importance in bringing people together and building energy that will be directly applied to the PSP. We look forward to planning the next one, with the hopes of drawing an even larger and more diverse group of stakeholders.

 


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