SPIE joins the National Education Association in celebrating National Teachers Day on Tuesday 6 May, as an extension of its support for education at all levels. In addition to advocacy in support of funding for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and graduate-level research projects, SPIE was a partner in developing the Hands-on Optics (HOO) program for middle-school students. SPIE sponsors training in the program for teachers such as Ruth Akers of Catonsville, Maryland, Middle School. Akers recently received a Teacher Excellence Award from the International Technology Education Association and incorporates the HOO program into her curriculum. The HOO program was among programs featured in Exemplary Science in Informal Education Settings: Standards-Based Success Stories, edited by Robert E. Yager and John Falk and published last fall by the National Science Teachers Association's NSTA Press.
Every day, teachers touch the lives of students, parents, and communities in significant ways. To show appreciation for their work and dedication, National PTA celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week. Since 1984, National PTA has designated the first week in May as a time for communities nationwide to honor teachers for being a guiding force in helping children develop into healthy, happy, and successful adults. "Great Teachers Make Great Public Schools," is the enduring theme for the week-long celebration highlighting the crucial role teachers play in making sure every child receives a quality public education.