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Greg Lopatka's model of GLOBE sustainability in Illinois

Greg Lopatka became a GLOBE trainer in March 1995. Since then, he has trained at 12 different workshops in places ranging from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA to University of Colorado in Boulder, CO.

When he was teaching at Randolph School in Chicago, his students sent in over 8,000 GLOBE observations and measurements. He retired from teaching in September of 2001 and 2 years later formed a GLOBE partnership with Naperville School District # 203 in Naperville, Illinois. The initial Partner Coordinator Mickey Fisher was very instrumental in getting the teacher training workshops started, providing the funds and facilities. Greg's first teacher training workshop was held in September 2003 where he trained 7 teachers from 6 different Naperville schools, most of them are still active in GLOBE.

His training model includes 2 full days of training on mostly Atmosphere and Hydrology investigations, followed by at least 2 school visits after the instrument shelter is mounted. During these visits, Greg introduces the students to GLOBE activities. He helps the teacher and the students in defining their sites and coaches them with data entry.

Greg's training module now includes providing teachers with assignments, which he places on his web site. His assignments for the July 2005 workshop at Highland Park High school, can be found at

At this workshop, he trained 10 teachers from 3 different schools in Illinois. His teachers now have the benefit of the on-line pre and post workshop activities. These activities allow them to get to know each other, as well as learn about the GLOBE Program, before attending his workshop. His first assignment involves the attendees introducing themselves, followed by an assignment using the GLOBE web site. After the school ID's are issued, the next assignment involves going to the Training site and practice defining sites. The final assignment provides some practice data to enter allowing them to experience the data entry web page.

These activities allow good use of the workshop time to develop questions, learn how to trouble shoot areas of concern and how to navigate the GLOBE web site. At his workshops, Greg remembers to take good pictures of the activities as well as the fun times they have while conducting the investigations. He places these on this web site so that the teachers can share them with their administrators as well as have a visual of the instruments or the activity.

Teamwork is very important to Greg's training style. He typically trains more that one teacher from each school and selects a lead teacher who is responsible for obtaining the instruments before the workshop. This allows the attendees to have some hands-on experience with the instruments and Greg is able to demonstrate the proper use of it. There are several follow-up visits that are scheduled ahead of time and during these visits, Greg assists the teachers and their students in implementing the GLOBE activities in the classroom as well as installs the instruments if needed. Some of the follow-up activities turn into field trips where some of the best pictures of students in action are taken. These activities are shared on Greg's web page, so that other teachers and students can see how different protocols are implemented.

"My web site comes in handy after the workshop when I want to share the pictures of the activity," comments Greg. Teachers use these pictures to re-visit the steps in defining sites and conducting the activity. They are also able to share their training with their students and visualize the protocols that were taught during their training.

"The beauty of the Naperville partnership is that it allows me to offer my help to teachers that need help, when they need help. It warms my heart to work with such dedicated and innovative teachers", Greg explains.

Greg's continuous experience in being a GLOBE trainer since 1995, combined with his 39 years of experience as a teacher, have been very instrumental in the GLOBE training techniques he has developed.

"When we conducted workshops in the late 1990s, we spent 20 to 30% of the workshop time helping teachers learn to use the computers and the Internet. Those workshops were instrumental in teaching me to use computers in my Science Lab then and in my GLOBE teacher training now," Greg explains.

Currently, Greg is working with Maureen Nolan, a GLOBE teacher at Steeple Run School in Naperville, whose class donated a digital max./min. thermometer to the Morton Arboretum and in exchange, the students will receive free admission to the Arboretum. Greg and a group of parent volunteers as well as students at Steeple Run School have started making GLOBE observations at the Morton Arboretum. Greg hopes that this will also spark interest in the community and students from other schools. Katie Farrell, Instructional Coordinator for Naperville School District, comments on Greg's innovative ways of bringing GLOBE activities into the community, "Greg's dedication and passion is incredible. What a neat way to get parents involved and have students use their GLOBE obtained skills in a real-life situation." 

14 December 2005