Superintendent's Awards 2017

6th Annual Superintendent's Awards for Excellence in Museum Education

The Superintendent’s Awards for Excellence in Museum Education Competition recognizes the outstanding achievements in California museum programs that serve K-12 students and/or educators. The competition is the joint project of the sponsors, CAM and the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The following six museum education programs have been selected as the 2017 awardees:

STEM Workshop and Intensives

Bay Area Discovery Museum
Designed for Pre-K to third grade students, their teachers and caregivers, STEM Workshops and Intensives align to Preschool Learning Foundations, CCSS, and NGSS. The program provides playful, multisensory exploration of STEM content while encouraging creative thinking. Museum facilitators guide adults to help children make observations, express their thinking, and collaborate.

Hands On History Community Outreach
Mission Inn Foundation
The Hands On History Community Outreach program provides students the opportunity to engage with local history and the contemporary community pairing youth with local artists, historians, and community members to explore the history of their own community and neighborhoods through hands on research, oral history interviews, art and photography lessons, and student-directed walking tours.

Mobile Museum: An Ocean Experience 
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Mobile Museum: An Ocean Experience is a multi-dimensional education outreach program that brings marine science and paleontology to life for students in grades 6-8. The program is made possible by a grant from the Max H. Gluck Foundation and serves schools across the LAUSD.

Riverside Art Museum

RAM’s Art-to-Go program sends trained artist-instructors into school classrooms armed with standards-based curriculum plans, teaching materials and art supplies to present high-caliber, grade-specific art projects. Classroom teachers select a three-lesson Art-to-Go series based on their students’ needs, choosing Science Plus Art, History Plus Art, Math Plus Art or Fine Art.

Watershed Heroes
San Diego Zoo Global
The Watershed Heroes Program is a three-part educational experience: an all-school assembly, followed by a classroom session and Zoo trip for the fourth-grade level. Students participate in inquiry-based learning which challenges them to make observations and discover how human activities have dramatic impacts on watershed globally.

Sowing Creativity

San Jose Museum of Art
Sowing Creativity is a STEAM integrated visual arts residency program developed to promote creativity across disciplines. This series of lessons entitled “Investigating Perception” illustrates the interdisciplinary nature of certain art and science concepts such as observation, perception, perspective, optics, light, illusion, and color theory.

The winning programs will be presented with their awards by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (or his designee) at the 2017 CAM annual luncheon in Sacramento on Thursday, March 30, 2017, held in conjunction with CAM’s annual conference. Representatives will also give a short presentation at a session immediately following the luncheon. 
Over the past five years, the competition has received 106 entries, representing a diverse range of institutions, that demonstrate the vibrant contributions museums make to California’s K-12 educational system. 

2017 Selection Committee Members:

Jason Spencer

Mr. Spencer is the Principal Advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. He holds a Master’s of Public Administration from USC and Bachelor Degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Sonoma State University. Jason started his career in the Legislature as part of the Senate Fellows program in 2006. In addition to serving on then-Senator Torlakson’s legislative team, Jason was Senior Policy Advisor to the Superintendent during his first term as State Superintendent. Jason has also served as Executive Director of the 501c3 Vasconcellos Legacy Project and has worked for a private firm lobbying for informal science education institutions and other education sector non-profits.

Alissa Whiteley

Alissa Whiteley graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She gravitated towards the field of museum education in 2010, and is currently the Associate Director of Education, School Programs for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.  She manages the Air Force One Discovery Center (2013 Superintendent Award recipient) and the summer Ronald Reagan Student Leadership Program, and together these two programs impact the lives of 25,000 students each school year.

Aaron Marshall, PhD

Aaron holds a PhD in Education from the University of Edinburgh, MA in Philosophy from Biola University, and BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from George Fox University. He spent a dozen years in formal education as teacher, coach, and administrator. Passionate about student leadership development, he co-founded a service learning company called Impact edVentures (2009), sits on the Board for Kids Helping Kids National (2015), and is an advisor to the Conservation Education Committee at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (2016). Currently, he serves as the Director of Education at the Santa Barbara Zoo. There, he oversees a variety of projects and programs including CondorKids (2016 Superintendent Award recipient)