Kelly O’Shea Creates Physics Camp
Science teacher designs teachers workshop
It’s no wonder Kelly O’Shea is an LREI physics teacher. She is a force of nature herself. In addition to her 9th and 10th grade physics classes and various 11th and 12th grade electives such as Relativity & Special Relativity and Great Experiments in Science, Kelly is an active member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), whose mission is to enhance the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.
While 7,000– 8,000 secondary and post-secondary teachers comprise AAPT’s membership, there are 30,000 public and private, independent high school physics teachers in the U.S. Yet, this group is customarily underrepresented at AAPT’s two national meetings (winter and summer) due to schools’ budgetary constraints.
Identifying her cohort’s low attendance, Kelly had an idea. To coincide with APPT’s 2015 national summer meeting in College Park, MD, she proposed and then founded the high school physics teacher camp, a one day, interactive professional development opportunity with a registration fee of $20. Here’s how Kelly pitched it to her high school peers: “How great would it be to have a day at AAPT that was designed to be totally collaborative and interactive? Where you could decide on that day what you were excited to share with other high school physics teachers? Where you had time and space to work together on a new idea? Pretty great, right? Yes. Amazingly great.”
It was! Kelly proudly reports that the camp attracted sixty teachers, most of whom might not otherwise have attended the summer conference. The feedback was so positive that planning is underway to offer the camp again next summer. Moreover, APPT took notice of Kelly’s leadership. She has recently been appointed to serve on two AAPT committees: the Committee on Physics in High Schools and Physics Teaching Resource Agents Oversight, the latter a committee focusing on teachers training teachers in rural areas of the country. Both are three-year appointments.