APS Excellence in Physics Education Award

Paula Heron

The AAPT Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRA) program has been recognized by the 2011 APS Excellence in Physics Education Award “for providing peer-led professional development for 25 years to more than 5000 physics and physical science teachers nationwide through a network of more than 500 master teachers.”  The PTRA program has a long history. In 1985, in response to concerns about the quality and quantity of physical science and physics teachers, the AAPT, with support from the NSF, established a model teacher professional development program.

Aimed at middle and high school teachers, the program provides professional development on physics content, teaching techniques based on research in physics education, and integration of technology into curriculum.  The program currently maintains a nationwide cadre of more than 150 accomplished high school teacher-leaders who are trained and continually involved in professional development.  The program has partnered with more than 30 college and university physics departments.

The program has passed through several stages in its history, responding to emerging including workshops aimed at the specific needs of teachers in urban districts and rural schools.  The central goal of providing peer-led mentoring and support has remained a hallmark of the program and has played a major role in its sustained and enthusiastic embrace by the physics teaching community.

Though the program has involved hundreds of individuals in many roles, the following individuals were identified as deserving of special recognition:

George Amman
Robert Clark
Karen Jo Matsler
James Nelson
Lawrence Badar
Jan Mader

Disclaimer—The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.