Helping Outstanding Teachers

Helping outstanding teachers

Shell is teaming up with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to recognize outstanding teachers and provide science laboratory makeovers. Winners receive more than $93,000 in lab makeover prizes for their schools.

Shell sponsors the NSTA’s National Lab Challenge, which invites middle and high school science teachers in the United States and Canada to illustrate replicable approaches to science lab instruction using limited school and laboratory resources.

Now in its 23rd year, Shell also sponsors the Shell Science Teaching Award, which recognizes one outstanding classroom science teacher in grades K through 12 who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school and community through exemplary classroom science learning.

The grand prizewinner receives $10,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education, where the winner is honored at an awards banquet.  For the second straight year, the Shell Science Teaching Award winner received a bit of recognition on the track and at the track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and on the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion fielded by Team Penske

Long-Time Sponsor

Shell has been a long-time sponsor of NSTA, the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning. NSTA's current membership includes more than 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

For more information on the Shell Science Teaching Award and the NSTA Teacher Awards program, go to - opens in new window

Growing Our Own Einsteins

Students building a project in a classroom

A Shell-sponsored program for elementary through high school teachers in Texas is helping develop the scientists and engineers needed to ensure our nation’s future competitiveness.

Activities are designed to improve students’ scientific thinking, their mathematical and technological literacy, and interest to pursue science and engineering-related careers.

“The United States is lacking the engineers and scientists we need to remain competitive. The problem stems from the fact that teachers are struggling to do a good job at the elementary and middle-school level in helping our students become excited about STEM subjects and giving them the skills to pursue science-related careers,” explains Dr. Kamil Jbeily, Executive Director of the Texas Regional Collaboratives (TRC) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Jbeily suggests one of the reasons students are not learning science early on is because of an inadequate background in the subject matter by elementary and middle school teachers, who are expected to be experts in all subjects, not just one.

“Studies show that teacher quality, more than any other factor, is a key determinant of student success,” Dr. Jbeily says. The TRC’s answer to the problem? Equip kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers with skills to provide high-quality science and math instruction, effectively communicate a positive attitude about STEM subjects and help inspire students to pursue STEM-related careers.

Through TRC professional development and mentoring, 17,000 elementary and middle school teachers have received hands-on instruction from university-level science and math professors and then have taken their learnings back to public schools to share with other teachers. The multiplier effect means that 30,000 teachers have improved the learning experiences of more than two million students in the State of Texas.

Through the Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science & Mathematics Teaching, more than 17,000 science and math teachers are learning hands-on, engaging ways to teach young students and foster a love for learning of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

Test scores show the approach is working. The TRC says students of teachers who participate in their professional development and mentoring programs score higher than those who don’t on standardized tests.

“I’m learning strategies to better reach kids and to better deliver the material in a way they can understand,” says Toni Longino, a middle school teacher in the Clear Creak Independent School District near Houston.

“The Collaborative has definitely made me a better teacher,” agrees Sandra Wigginton, a fifth-grade teacher and science lab instructor in the Houston Independent School District.

“The program has helped me not only gain knowledge in different fields, such as physical science and natural science, but also I’m able to use classroom materials that otherwise would be too expensive for my school or me to purchase,” says Wigginton, “When students handle materials, touch them, it’s another way of learning and they can see the real-world application.”

For Shell, the investment in teachers is an investment in its future workforce. “It takes collaborative efforts and commitment of industry and academia to educate and train the workforce of the future. For that reason, Shell is pleased to support Texas Regional Collaboratives programs that enhance teacher skills and student understanding of math and science. These two disciplines are critical to addressing the energy and environmental challenges of the future,” says Marvin Odum, president, Shell Oil Company

For more information on the Texas Regional Collaboratives, go to - opens in new window

After school reading program

A woman reads to children

Can involving families in a weekly after school reading program make a difference in student academic achievement across all disciplines?

Yes, according to results of a 10-year longitudinal study which examined standardized test scores of students, aged 6 to 10, who participated in the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ (LEH) PRIME TIME Family Reading Time program.

The longest-running, outcomes driven, humanities-based family literacy program in the nation brings together parents and children for six or eight week family literacy programs in partner schools, libraries and community centers.

Besides providing families with meals, transportation and onsite childcare to make it convenient to participate in the program (and to ensure a high program retention rate), specially trained storytellers and scholars engage students and families in a high-quality learning experience that reinforces the importance of reading and critical thinking.

In tracking the progress of students who participated in the program from the 3rd grade through the graduation exit exams, the independent study found that not only did PRIME TIME students outperform their non-PRIME TIME peers on standardized tests in reading comprehension and language arts, they also did better in all of the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math).

That’s proof positive that the family learning experience, focusing on the basics of reading, combined with open-ended questioning and analysis, can have a significant impact and potential for changing the life trajectories of children – particularly those from at-risk families. In 2012, Shell supported the PRIME TIME program across Louisiana, as well as in several other Gulf South states, via the multi-year “Shell-LEH National Gulf States PRIME TIME Initiative.”

Additionally, Shell’s funded the development of the LEH’s new teacher professional development program, “PRIME TIME HomeRoom,” that translates the proven strategies for successful engagement and learning with families into custom-designed curriculum and training modules that K through 4th grade educators can implement in their classrooms.

Already endorsed by the Louisiana Department of Education, PRIME TIME HomeRoom will be piloted in a Louisiana school district this fall, with plans to initially expand statewide, and then eventually to other states supported by Shell in this path-breaking educational partnership.

For more information on the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, go to opens in new window

Making science interesting

Students working in a classroom

Shell Partners with Educators to Make Science More Interesting – One Race Car at a Time.

Shell invests in teacher professional development to deliver innovative and engaging lessons that improve student achievement and inspire more students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.

Shell partners with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project to improve energy education by engaging K-12 students and teachers in a deeper understanding of energy fundamentals.   One such innovative program is The Science of Racing.  Recently over 100 Houston-area middle and high school science teachers learned new ways to teach physics and chemistry.  The workshop provides teachers with hands-on experience with various aspects of racing including material science, fuels, engines and polymers. 

Here teachers are learning a new and fun way to illustrate physics in the classroom.

For more information on the NEED project, go to - opens in new window

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