Science

NSTA Launches Professional Programs for K–12 School Districts

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The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) today launched a series of programs for K–12 school districts to meet the increasing demand for high-quality professional learning for science teachers. NSTA is now offering District Professional Learning Packages, a variety of tailored programs that support the implementation of new science standards, help elementary teachers infuse science literacy and STEM learning in the classroom and encourage secondary science educators to engage students in scientific practices through argument-driven activities.

“For many years, NSTA has developed and delivered outstanding professional learning opportunities and resources for individual science educators,” said NSTA Executive Director David Evans in a statement. “In an effort to transform the entire science teaching profession, NSTA is now offering these programs to interested districts and schools.”

The release of the document “A Framework for K–12 Science Education” — and new science standards based on them — requires teachers, schools and districts to make significant changes in all aspects of science education. Providing high-quality professional learning for science educators is a crucial part of implementing those changes, NSTA said in a news release.

For the past year, NSTA has delivered a number of standards-based professional learning programs to districts in Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey and Nevada. They included institutes for classroom teachers to build their capacity to implement new standards, workshops for trainers who can serve as instructional coaches for their colleagues, and institutes for administrators to understand the instructional shifts taking place and how to support teachers.

NSTA is now offering these programs to interested districts and schools nationwide and adding additional training options in the coming months that will focus on topics such as selecting standards-based curricular materials and assessing student learning based on standards.

NSTA’s most popular book series for elementary teachers, “Picture-Perfect Science Lessons,” will be the centerpiece of NSTA’s district-based professional learning program for elementary teachers. Focused on supporting science literacy and infusing STEM learning for the youngest students, the books feature ready-to-teach elementary science lessons designed to help K-5 teachers integrate science and reading in an engaging, kid-friendly way.

The authors of “Picture-Perfect Science Lessons” currently offer introductory workshops, train-the-trainer institutes and online courses. NSTA will expand the program to reach many more districts around the country.  

NSTA’s other District Professional Learning Package focuses on argument-driven inquiry, an instructional model that promotes science proficiency by transforming lab activities. The approach helps teachers transform the way they teach labs, giving students more opportunities to learn science content by engaging in the practices and crosscutting concepts.

The program is developed around the NSTA series for teachers, “Argument-Driven Inquiry.” The books include specific editions on biology and chemistry (grades 9 to 12) and life science and physical science (grades 6 to 8). They feature instructional materials, including lab handouts, peer review guides and teacher scoring rubrics, investigations proposals and checkout questions.

For more information on NSTA’s District Professional Learning Packages, visit NSTA’s website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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