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MSP LNC 2008

Letter from NSF Program Officers, January 2008

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Dear Members of the MSP community --

We want to thank everyone who participated in the just completed MSP Learning Network Conference. For the 300+ attendees, it was a powerful time to showcase new thinking in STEM education, to underscore the evidence that is necessary to demonstrate whether or not strategies being implemented in MSPs are effective, and to challenge ourselves even further as we seek to disseminate our knowledge nationally.

Through a Virtual Poster Hall now on MSPnet, the next few weeks offer a tremendous opportunity for the entire community to directly interact with presenters at the Learning Network Conference. Please encourage everyone in our community -- in the over 700 school districts, in the 158 institutions of higher education and among the other important partners who work with us -- to peruse the 48 presentations to learn what insights are being gleaned within MSP projects, but also to challenge as peer critical friends the theoretical contexts, the claims and the evidence that underlie stated outcomes.

At the Conference, leaders acknowledged how vital our efforts have been and urged us all to do more --
NSF's Director Arden Bement noted that "you are the agents of change and pilgrims of a new frontier."

The head of NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Assistant Director Cora Marrett, stated we must "move beyond hunches... overcome resistance to evidence... and address counter-claims."

And, in the keynote presentation, Chancellor William Kirwan of the University System of Maryland compelled us to work with a "sense of urgency."
As all MSP projects have been significantly involved in their work for many years, the time is now to greatly expand our contributions to STEM education by sharing and challenging our conjectures. Please take advantage of the Virtual Poster Hall as one means of studying our work, and then have an exemplary 2008 as you continue to bring your work to fruition.

The MSP Program Officers

Kathleen Bergin
Joyce Evans
Jim Hamos
Dan Maki
Joan Prival
Elizabeth VanderPutten