STOCKTON — It takes a village, the saying goes.

And although teachers in science programs give their pupils a solid base, they could likely use help from experts in various scientific fields.

And so the Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science program is seeking volunteers to share their expertise — and their passion — for science at elementary schools in San Joaquin County.

Why students so young? It's never too early to awaken those passions and stoke those dreams.

Retired scientists, engineers, physicians, teachers, parents and part-time science professionals are sought to spend eight to 10 hours a month sharing their experiences and conducting hands-on science activities. They won't be alone; the regular K-8 teachers will still be in class with them.

And they won't have to face the students without receiving some training themselves. All volunteers will be trained and provided with materials and lesson plans.

The TOPS program is part of the San Joaquin County Office of Education STEM Department and is available to schools across the county.

For more information about how to become a volunteer or schools interested in joining the program should contact Nancy Stenzler at (209) 468-4881 or