February 14, 2018
Dear Friends of Knowles,
Each year when I sit down to write this letter, I find myself in awe at what this organization has accomplished and how it has evolved. Even so, this past year ending May 31, 2017 (FY17) included some of the most exciting and meaningful changes I’ve seen in the 13 years since I was hired, and I am excited to share them with you in this annual report.
The most obvious change, of course, has been our name. In May 2017, our Board of Trustees, with input from a wide range of stakeholders, unanimously voted to change our “doing business as” name to the Knowles Teacher Initiative, and to formally adopt the tagline Transforming Mathematics & Science Education. What has not changed is our commitment to supporting teachers; we feel our new name puts teachers front and center and better reflects this commitment. Although it wasn’t obvious from our name when we referred to ourselves as the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, we have been supporting both mathematics and science teachers since 2005. Our new tagline helps to reinforce the message that we focus on both of these critical disciplines. But perhaps most importantly, we feel our new name and tagline captures our deep and unwavering trust in teachers to lead educational transformation.
The timing of this name change is also significant. After years of reflection, planning and dreaming, in FY17, we embarked on a new phase of our work in which we will serve a larger pool of teachers than we can through our Fellows Programs alone. In June of 2016, we piloted our first professional development course—Engaging Math and Science Students in Engineering Design—developed and led by Knowles Senior Fellows. This program consisted of a five-day, in-person workshop for seven teachers, followed by a full year of community interaction and virtual support for the participants. This professional development program was the inspiration for the newly-launched Knowles Academy, which will house a variety of professional development programs in the coming years. All of these programs will be aligned with what we know constitutes meaningful professional development for teachers: sustained, supported, contextually relevant, informed by teacher knowledge gained from practice and research, and facilitated by leaders with extensive teaching experience.