PTRA Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

For more information, please contact:
Marilyn Gardner, American Association of Physics Teachers
office: 301-209-3306

College Park, Maryland, United States, July 15, 2010—The American Association of Physics Teachers has announced the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Physics Teacher Resource Agents (PTRA) on Wednesday, July 21 at 11:15 am during their 2010 Summer Meeting in Portland, Oregon.
The speakers will discuss the origin of the idea, its implementation, its development over 25 years, and its present and future plans. Speakers include George A. Amann, James Nelson, Jan Mader, John Roeder, John Layman, Karen Jo Matsler, Lawrence Bader, Lila Adair, and Robert Beck Clark.

PTRA is one of the more innovative programs to be developed by a science professional organization. The idea that physics teachers could be engaged to meet together for common learning experiences and then, individually, go out into the community, to assume leadership roles, to network with other physics teachers, and be a resource and an educational assistant was a unique idea in the beginning.
The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) initiated the Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRA) Program in 1985—with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Physical Society (APS)—with the mission of improving the teaching and learning of physics and physical science for all teachers and students in the United States. Twenty-five years later it is the leading in-service physics professional development program. Serving middle school and high school teachers, it provides professional development on physics content, teaching techniques based on research in physics education, and integration of technology into curriculum.
The program maintains a nationwide cadre of more than 150 accomplished high school teacher-leaders who are trained and continually involved in professional development. These teacher-leaders are certified as PTRAs by AAPT to lead workshops throughout the country. They have participated in national leadership institutes where they have developed their skills on a wide range of topics—to assist their fellow teachers. The program has involved more than 30 universities and college physics departments partnering to provide the summer institutes and follow-up sessions.
Potential national PTRAs are selected based on physics content mastery, creativity, successful teaching experience, familiarity with physics education research, and the capacity for professional leadership. The opportunity for continuity and expansion of training is offered each year at an intense summer institute at which AAPT/PTRA commissioned workshops are developed. What emerges, then, are teachers from within urban districts or rural schools who go out to meet the specific needs of teachers in their local area.
Learn more about PTRA at

About AAPT
AAPT is an international organization for physics educators, physicists, and industrial scientists—with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching, AAPT provides awards, publications, and programs that encourage teaching practical application of physics principles, support continuing professional development, and reward excellence in physics education. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.