Professional Development

4 California School Districts Create Professional Development Program for Science Teachers

Four school districts in the San Jose area are implementing a professional development program designed to help middle school science teachers gain confidence with hands-on learning experiences in science classrooms. The program, called the "Middle School Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Leadership Alliance" also aims to improve the leadership skills of 25 "Teacher Leaders" so they can mentor other science teachers in their districts.

Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Mount Pleasant and Oak Grove school districts, which are all part of San Jose's East Side Alliance, will participate in the program developed by Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) and New Teacher Center (NTC). RAFT is an educational organization with experience in hands-on learning, and NTC focuses on improving the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders.

RAFT and NTC will work with and train four leads from the program "to develop and maintain lab classrooms, which will be model centers of hands-on science teaching, ultimately impacting every middle-school science teacher and student in the four districts," according to a news release from RAFT, and the 25 Teacher Leaders selected to participate in this program "will receive ongoing leadership training and practical hands-on experience in implementing the NGSS."

Texas Instruments is supporting the Middle School NGSS Leadership Alliance with multi-year funding, and Technology Credit Union has contributed funding for the first year of the program. Texas Instruments chose to support this program as part of its philanthropic efforts in part because of its potential to reach "under-represented students, especially girls, African Americans and Hispanics," said Andy Smith, Director of corporate philanthropy for Texas Instruments, in a prepared statement.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].