Home Environment APUS Hosts Meteorology Professional Development for Jefferson County, WV Teachers
APUS Hosts Meteorology Professional Development for Jefferson County, WV Teachers

APUS Hosts Meteorology Professional Development for Jefferson County, WV Teachers

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Danny Welsch WeatherSTEMGuest Post by Dr. Conrad Lotze, Dean of Academic Services and the School of Education, and Dr. Danny Welsch, Interim Dean, School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Weather is all around us, and impacts us in many ways. Its universality provides an ideal focus for teaching a variety of STEM topics. This is the goal of WeatherSTEM, a platform that provides weather-related instruments, data, and lesson plans to schools and universities nationwide. APUS acquired a WeatherSTEM system in 2015 for the Charles Town campus, and proudly donated three more to nearby Blue Ridge Elementary, Ranson Elementary, and Jefferson High School in Jefferson County, WV in 2017.

On December 15, over 40 teachers, administrators, and support staff from the three recipient schools gathered at our campus to meet with WeatherSTEM CEO Ed Mansouri, who introduced them to the system, along with all of the associated lesson plans and supporting educational resources. These resources are designed to enhance education along the K-12 spectrum and incorporate real-world data generated by each school’s system in each lesson.

The WeatherSTEM system measures temperature, humidity, rainfall, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and the amount of sunlight. Some WeatherSTEM systems, like the Blue Ridge station, are also equipped with soil monitoring sensors for such things as soil moisture content and temperature. All of this data is recorded each minute of the day and archived together with a digital image of the sky. These pictures are then combined each evening to form that day’s “Sky Movie,” a time-lapse montage of the cloud cover.

Conrad Lotze APUS WeatherSTEM
Dr. Conrad Lotze speaking to local teachers, administrators, and support staff.

The website associated with each of the stations makes all of this data available to teachers, students, and the general public, along with decision makers and emergency managers who require up-to-the-minute weather data. Users can even set up custom automated alerts to inform them of extreme weather or when any threshold of interest has been exceeded. For example, the system could email or text you when the temperature exceeds 100 degrees, or if lightning is detected near your home.

The local educators worked through lesson plans for students from kindergarten to high school, on basic topics such as pressure and density, and applied topics such as the relationship between weather and honeybees. Other areas of discussion included the relationship between climate and soil composition, and the scientific basis for some common weather lore.

The attendees were excited to learn how to incorporate weather data, instruments, trends, and lore into their classrooms, and how weather could be used to teach topics in disciplines as diverse as physics, math, science, and electronics. All of these systems and the data they generate can be viewed by visiting https://jefferson-wv.weatherstem.com/. There are also mobile apps available for iOS and Android at both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Search for WeatherSTEM, download the app, and then search for units near you, by proximity.

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In July 2016, he retired as APUS president and continued as CEO of APEI. In September 2017, he was reappointed APUS president after the resignation of Dr. Karan Powell. In September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his planned retirement in June 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. During his tenure, APUS grew to over 100,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 90,000 alumni. In addition to his service as a board member of APUS and APEI, Dr. Boston is a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, a board member of the Presidents’ Forum, and a board member of Hondros College of Nursing and Fidelis, Inc. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. Dr. Boston lives in Owings Mills, MD with his wife Sharon and their two daughters.

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