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Selly builds bridges and new partnerships for University

Patty Born Selly, executive director of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education.
Patty Born Selly, executive director of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education.
Photo by Julie Michener.

National Center for STEM Elementary Education (NCSEE) Executive Director Patty Born Selly was piling up the airline miles and connections in service of the Center, based at St. Catherine University.

Selly joined NCSEE in August 2013 from a successful consultancy and science teaching career. She is the author of the book, “Connecting Animals and Children in Early Childhood,” a guide for teachers and parents to better understand the role of animals in child development that was released this spring. She also wrote the 2011 book, “Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth.”

In April, business leaders from across the state of Pennsylvania invited Selly to Harrisburg to address their annual Early Learning Investment Commission summit. Focusing on outcomes and challenges around high-quality early childhood education, the summit this year explored science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in early learning.

Selly discussed the importance of well-prepared and confident teachers in developing children’s scientific thinking skills. She provided the context to show that the skills and practices inherent in STEM – such as critical thinking, asking productive questions, testing and refining ideas – are skills that lead to academic and social success in elementary school and beyond.

While on the east coast, she attended the National Science Teachers Association annual conference in Boston to begin her service on the association’s Elementary Science Advisory Committee, charged with reviewing policies around teaching science at the elementary level.

Selly then shared her extensive experience in shaping learning activities in the natural world with students, faculty and community members at Naropa University's Issues in Education: The Mary Culkin Lecture Series in Boulder, Colorado.

Her spring travels closed in May with a meeting in San Francisco of 100Kin10’s Partner Advisory Council.

Based in New York City, 100Kin10 was formed in 2011 to foster creative and strategic partnerships between corporations, foundations and educational institutions to “train 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers by 2021.”

Selly was invited to the advisory council to represent elementary education in the council’s strategic planning to measure the impact of 100Kin10 partnerships.

“100Kin10 is well on their way with more than 44,000 teachers projected to be trained by the end of 2015,” said Selly. “The meeting produced great ideas for scaling up our teaching model and community outreach.”

Busy summer on and off campus

The National Center for STEM Elementary Education is expanding its partnership with schools in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The University welcomes two cohorts of teachers from the Frassati Catholic Academy, White Bear Lake, and St. Joseph Catholic School, Waconia, who will be earning STEM Education certificates. Both schools have plans to integrate STEM with religion and arts as well. 

In addition, Selly has been asked to co-present with leaders from the Frassati Catholic Academy at the National Catholic Educational Association’s “New Directions STREAM Symposium” at the University of Dayton, Ohio, June 22-24. They will discuss the Academy’s “Journey into STREAM.”

Also on St. Kate’s St. Paul campus, the highly popular Katie CoderDojo sessions continue Tuesday evenings, June 17, July 22 and August 12.

More about STEM at St. Kate’s

“Cracking the Code” 

 "Selly in the news"

May 28, 2014 by Julie Michener

See also: Catholic Identity, Education, Leadership, STEM