Regional Meetings Committee Report, Fall 2014

Frank J. Creegan: 2014 Chair,  (

1. On Awarding AACT Membership to DivCHED Awardees for Excellence in High School Teaching:

The Regional Meetings Committee has recommended to the 2014 Region Boards and 2014 Regions Awards Committees that they consider awarding a one-year membership in the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) to the recipient of the Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching as well as to the ranked finalists for these Awards. The hope of RMC is that these memberships in ACCT will lead to not only association of highly successful teachers with ACS but also to their involvement with DivCHED. We are happy to report that the Middle Atlantic Region Board and the Northwest Region Board have accepted the recommendation and have presented memberships in AACT at their recent Spring-Summer meetings. 

2. Regional Meetings in 2014-2015:

Five Regional Meetings have been planned for 2014 (see Table 1).  A DivCHED Representative, who serves as a member of the Meeting Awards Committee, presenter of the DivCHED poster, and a resource in planning and executing the Chemical Education programming has been chosen for each meeting.
Eight Regional Meetings have been planned for 2015 (see Table 2), with two events consisting of Joint Meetings of geographically adjacent regions.  For most of the 2015 meetings a DivCHED Representative has not been chosen. Traditionally the Representative is a member of RMC or a DivCHED member with experience in planning and/or executing Chemical Education Program at Regional Meetings.  For a number of reasons, including the mandatory rotation off of RMC of four members, the Committee is seeking volunteers to serve as Representatives.

3. Upcoming Openings on the Regional Meetings Committee:

As illustrated in Table 3, the 3-year terms for six of the nine members of RMC expire at the end of 2014.  More significant perhaps is that four members will rotate off of the Committee after having served the mandated-maximum of three terms (nine years).

One criterion for Committee membership is Region Affiliation.  The Committee is working to recruit new Committee members from the Southeast, Rocky Mountain, Midwest, Great Lakes, and Southwest regions and will happily welcome volunteers.

4. On Using Regional Meetings to Promote DivCHED:

The Division Poster: Throughout 2014, as was done in 2013, RMC continued to work with the New Member Committee (NMC) to introduce and promote the work of the Division, and the advantages of membership within, through presentation by DivCHED Representatives of the Division Poster at Regional Meetings. DivCHED Executive Assistant Heather Johnson, with the help of the chairs of RMC and NMC updated the poster.  Each DivCHED Representative submitted a poster abstract, presented the poster as part of the Chemical Education programming at the Regional Meeting, and distributed Postcards that contain a synopsis of the poster and FAQ about the Division. 

A Division PowerPoint Presentation: At the request of Paul Rillema, Heather Johnson prepared a PowerPoint Presentation about the Division that Paul presented at the 49th MWRM in November 2014.  Our hope is that other Representatives to future Regional Meetings may wish to do likewise.  An option to post the PowerPoint slides on the Division website is under consideration.

5. 2014 Awardees for Excellence in High School Teaching, Volume 1:

The Division of Chemical Education provides financial support to each Region through an unrestricted grant of $500.00 to support development of Chemical Education programming at each Regional Meeting and a grant of $1,000.00 to be awarded to a high school teacher as an ACS Division of Chemical Education Regional Award for Excellence in High School Teaching. Teaching awards were presented at the following Spring-Summer 2014 meetings:

ACS South Jersey Section Meeting, April 26, 2014, Glassboro, NJ
The winner of the 2014 Division of Chemical Education Middle Atlantic Region Award for Excellence in High School Teaching is Steven M. Borneman from Byram High School in Brewster, NY.

Steven M. Borneman received a B.S. in Chemistry, M.S. in Chemistry, and MAT in Chemistry from Binghamton University.  Steven began his career in 2001. He currently teaches AP Chemistry, Regents Chemistry, Co-taught Regents Chemistry (for students with special learning needs), and the Chemistry Lab and Teaching Assistant Program at Byram Hills High School in Armonk New York. Throughout his career he has focused on inspiring students of all levels to learn and love chemistry.  The Co-taught Regents Chemistry Program is one that Steven co-developed with a special education teacher to make Regents Chemistry more accessible to the students with special needs at Byram Hills High School, without sacrificing the integrity and challenging nature of the course.  Steven also created a “Chemistry Lab and Teaching Assistant” program, which allows selected students who have done very well in AP Chemistry to be a teaching assistant in a Regents chemistry class. This class was created to give high achieving students the opportunity to continue their studies in chemistry while also creating more support for struggling Regents Chemistry students. The act of teaching often stimulates and challenges students to achieve a deeper understanding of the chemistry concepts that are being taught, and results in students developing a better understanding of chemistry.

69th ACS Northwest Regional Meeting June 22-25, 2014, Missoula, MT
The winner of the 2014 Division of Chemical Education Glenn & Jane Crosby Northwest Region Award for Excellence in High School Chemistry Teaching is Jeff Charbonneau from Zillah High School in Zillah, WA.

Jeff Charbonneau is a chemistry, physics and engineering teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Washington. He’s been working in this position for his entire 13- year teaching career. Jeff has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and was a member of the William O. Douglas Honors College at Central Washington University, and holds a Masters of Education from Central Washington University. He is a National Board Certified teacher.

Jeff recognizes that many students see his course subjects as the “hard” science classes and welcomes the challenge to overturn that stigma. In addition to his role as a science instructor at ZHS, Jeff is a yearbook advisor, drama assistant director, science club advisor, and is the 9th grade class advisor. He also is an adjunct faculty member at three colleges and universities, allowing students who do take his classes to earn 24-college credits upon successful completion. Jeff admits his classes are “more rigorous” but says they are designed to be accessible. He’s created interactive learning experiences to help students develop confidence in their abilities. Jeff said, “I believe my greatest accomplishments are revealed each time a student realizes that he or she has an unlimited potential. The rest are simply vehicles to make it happen.”

Jeff was selected as 2013 National Teacher of the Year and was presented his award by President Barack Obama in the White House Rose Garden on April 23, 2013.  Images from that ceremony are posted below.

Jeff Charbonneau, flanked by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama, addresses the gathering in the White House Rose Garden

President Barack Obama presents Jeff Charbonneau, Zillah High School in Zillah, WA, with the 2013 National Teacher of the Year Award

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