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February 11th, 2009
Texas State prof awarded for science safety

After 18 years of work to make America’s science classrooms more safe, Texas State professor Sandra West Moody recently won the National Science Education Leadership Association’s 2009 Outstanding Leader in Science Education award.

Moody began teaching at Texas State in 1990 and started research on science classroom safety in Texas a year later.  The study has yielded numerous findings with  lasting impacts on how science classrooms are constructed and utilized throughout the nation.

“I am humbled and honored to have received this honor that has been given out to educators for the last 30 years,” said Moody. “My findings on safety in science classrooms led to significant changes which are now enforced by the Texas Education Agency, The new requirements have resulted in safer and more effective science labs and classrooms.”

Moody said her work on overcrowding and safety in science classrooms and labs is the only work of its kind in the U.S.  The research has uncovered some problematic trends in schools.

For example, Moodty’s surveys have found that teachers report a 35 percent decrease in support from administrators when faced with misbehaved students in a science classroom or lab. Moody also discovered that only 50 percent of school districts provided science safety training to educators last year.

“My research plays a major role in my leadership activities and in my ability to impact state and national policy,” said Moody.  Her findings also have been incorporated into policies upheld by the National Science Teachers Association.

Moody will be honored at a banquet hosted by NSELA in New Orleans on March 18.  She will also receive $1,000 from Pearson Publishing as an appreciation for her work.

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