ACS Science Coaches—How to Partner with a Teacher

You know the science, you’re a living example of what a chemist is like, and you enjoy science so much you chose to devote your career to it! Teachers know students, the curriculum, classroom management, and how to create opportunities for students to learn. Together, you would make a great team for the ACS Science Coaches program!

How Can a Chemist Find a Teacher?

Call the office of local school to schedule an in-person meeting with the principal. Their schedules are typically more flexible than a teacher’s so you may be able to schedule an appointment during the school day and get back to work afterwards.

During your meeting, use the talking points to help you explain your interst in helping a teacher with whatever it is that s/he needs in order to provide excellent science education experiences for students. If the principal is interested, ask the principal to recommend a teacher who would like to partner with you in the ACS Science Coaches program and then schedule a meeting at the school with the teacher identified.

A few science coaches reported that their offer to assist was, at first, turned down by the schools they approached. If the administration rejects your offer, try again at another school. You will have a productive and personally satisfying volunteer experience at a school where both the teacher and principal are excited about the opportunity to work with you.

Have a Teacher in Mind?

If you already have a teacher in mind, schedule a meeting with him or her at the school. This way the teacher can show you the textbook or kits, equipment, and space. The meeting could be before or after school or during the teacher’s planning period during school. Use the talking points to discuss ways you could provide support and assistance. Once the teacher understands the program and your offer, s/he can initiate any approval process with the principal or district if it is necessary.

How Can a Teacher Find a Chemist?

The ACS Science Coaches program does not match up teachers with science coaches. Successful partnerships have been initiated by an interested teacher who found a chemist.

One approach is to contact the ACS Local Section near you. Enter your zip code into this form to send an e-mail to the chair of the Local Section. Ask the chemist to include your request in the newsletter or other communication to local section members.

Another approach is to contact the chemistry department at a nearby university. Last year over half of all science coaches were either chemistry faculty or graduate students, so this is a good place to search.

Talking Points

The following list provides talking points for your first meeting with the teacher or principal:

  • Introduce yourself and share your motivation for offering to assist
  • Describe the ACS Science Coaches program and list the expectations
  • Provide examples of how you could assist
  • Ask what topics or concepts are covered in science at this grade level
  • Ask the teacher what s/he might like you to do
  • Explain that each of you will need to describe briefly how you plan to work together throughout the year in a proposal to the ACS Science Coaches program
  • If the proposal is accepted, ACS will donate $500 to the school
  • In your discussion with the principal or teacher, consider reasons they may choose to participate in the ACS Science Coaches program

Teachers are looking to you to:

  • Help them in their own professional development
  • Benefit their students
  • Provide additional equipment and supplies (the grant takes care of this)

Principals should:

  • Seek partnerships with the neighboring community
  • Help neighborhood teachers develop professionally
  • Provide quality learning opportunities for students


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