March 19, 2014

Todd Marshall
Director of Communications,
Marketing and Development
903.794.3651 ext. 1013

Morriss Elementary Principal Named to Prestigious Committee for National Academy of Engineering

Texarkana, TX – Rick Sandlin, Principal of the Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics & Engineering Elementary School, has been named to serve on the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) committee for Guiding Implementation of K-12 Engineering in the United States. He is the only elementary school representative in the country to be named to the committee.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to be asked to serve on this committee for the NAE,” shared Rick Sandlin, Principal for Morriss Elementary. “I look forward to working with the many businesses, industries and foundations that will also be serving and am excited about being part of looking at engineering nationwide.”

The goal of the three-year project is to provide guidance to key stakeholders in U.S. K-12 education regarding effective engineering education. Stakeholders include organizations leading development and implementation of the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS); teachers and teacher educators; curriculum and assessment developers; administrative leaders at the school, district and state level; and educators and program developers working in after- and out-of-school settings.

Achieve, Inc., NSTA, the American Society for Engineering Education and the International Technology and Engineering Educators Associations are partnering with NAE on the project.

“Having Mr. Sandlin serve on this prestigious committee is phenomenal,” said Paul Norton, Superintendent of Schools. “Not only will he bring a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge to the process but TISD will reap great rewards, in the form of engineering education, for our STEM program at the elementary and secondary levels.”

Over the past 10 years, according to the NAE, there have been increasing efforts to introduce K-12 students to engineering concepts and practices. While attention paid to engineering in K-12 pales in comparison to that focused on mathematics and science education, two recent national-level initiatives—a 2014 assessment of technology and engineering literacy in a sample of 8th grade students and publication of the NGSS, which include concepts and practices in engineering—suggest engineering will constitute an increasing share of students’ experiences going forward. 

Education research and research in the cognitive sciences is revealing more useful information about the teaching approaches and educational contexts most suited to helping students make connections among the STEM subjects, including the important role engineering design activities can play in this process. And research on pre-service and in-service teacher education is providing insights into how adults can gain both knowledge and confidence needed to teach engineering successfully.

Unfortunately, nowhere have the growing wisdom of practice and the relevant findings from research been collected, organized, and shared in a way that might support more effective implementation of engineering education in K-12. Nor has there been an effective mechanism for building a community of practice among those interested in K-12 engineering—those with expertise as well as novices hoping to gain experience.

To address these needs, this project will conduct an assessment of the concerns of stakeholders regarding the implementation of engineering education at the K-12 level. Using data from the assessment, the project will develop resources and plan appropriate outreach that responds to the identified concerns and needs.

Sandlin began his career with TISD as an elementary teacher at Highland Park and Kennedy Elementary Schools. He became Assistant Principal of Wake Village Elementary in 1992, served as Principal of Highland Park Elementary from 1993-1996, Principal of Nash Elementary from 1996-2003 and Principal of Wake Village Elementary from 2003 – 2006. He was instrumental in the development of Morriss Elementary during the construction/planning phase and then assumed the position of Principal when it opened in 2007.

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