Bay Schools administrator wins award for science education leadership
Char Shryock, curriculum director for the Bay Village Schools, is known to dive deeply into just about any project or initiative in which she’s involved. Her passion for educating children has her regularly meeting with teachers to select the best learning materials to meet educational standards, to study best practices for teaching and learning, and to formulate measures that quantify what students have learned, as well as where they need to keep trying.
If that sounds like a scientific approach to a field that many consider an art, it is one that comes naturally to this daughter of a science teacher who then grew up to be a science teacher herself. It seems inevitable that she would be recognized as a leading advocate for science education, as she was last month by the Science Education Council of Ohio (SECO) who presented her with their Administrator Award for Leadership in Science Education.
“My summer vacations were spent camping and exploring state and national parks throughout the country,” she said. “I have always been a scientist.”
In Bay Village, Shryock has developed partnerships with the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center (LENSC), and she obtained grant funding through Ohio SeaGrant, Holden Arboretum, Ohio EPA, the Gund Foundation and the Bay Village Education Foundation to develop science education programs for both students and teachers. One exhibit now at LENSC on Climate Literacy makes local connections to climate change. Shryock also developed a two-year course focusing on Climate Literacy across all content areas.
Her grown-up summers are still spent exploring and getting her hands dirty. “This will be my fifteenth summer as a field archaeologist for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History,” she said. “It is a time for me each year to feed my ‘science soul’ and work with other archeologists on answering questions about Ohio’s prehistoric past.” Shryock says she has worked on sites dating back to 2000 B.C. and helped identify housing structures, ceremonial sites, cultural artifacts and evidence of past hunter gathering experiences.
She has used these field experiences to develop authentic math and science activities for the classroom. Her exploration experiences, in addition to her formal education and professional experience, have been a foundation for her work with the Ohio Department of Education. Shryock has served in a wide variety of state-level leadership roles that helped shape Ohio Learning Standards for Science, Ohio model science curriculums and state test measures.
Bay Village Schools Superintendent Jodie Hausmann attended the SECO awards ceremony in January. “I cannot think of a more deserving person than Char for this recognition,” she said. “I am so happy that her many talents in this area have been honored and recognized.”
Even as the district’s curriculum director, Shryock teaches an integrated science/literacy/math lesson once a week to kindergartners, sparking that flame of curiosity in the natural world around us.
“I believe all children deserve the opportunity to experience high quality science education and have opportunities to participate in authentic science activities,” she said, adding, “All kindergartners are scientists!”
Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District