Answers to Your Questions About NSTA’s District Professional Learning Packages

Professional development at the district level is now available for science educators from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Based on new research about the ways students best learn science and how science is best taught, we have a cutting-edge toolkit of innovative professional learning offerings that we can bring to your school or district. Our authors and experts can guide your team to new levels by introducing them to the frameworks and providing them with the hands-on experiences they need to succeed through our District Professional Learning Packages.

The following list is a sample of the teaching strategies NSTA offers:

  • Connect science and literacy in the early years with the Picture-Perfect Science
  • Capture the vision behind the Uncovering Student Ideas books and learn everything you need to know about using formative assessment probes.
  • Take a deep-dive into three-dimensional instruction and the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Introduce your colleagues to the concepts behind Outdoor Science.
  • Harness The Power of Questioning.
  • Or line up another topic of your choice—including Using Gadgets and Gizmos, Solar Science, Once Upon a Science Book, and many others.

You probably have questions about how all of this could work for your district. Let’s see if we can answer them for you.

Q: How do we partner with NSTA to develop a professional learning package that is right for our school district?
A: We discuss your needs and go into detail about the content that we can provide in a series of communications involving e-mail, phone, and face-to-face contact, so that we can better understand what your goals are and how we can help.

Q: How is pricing determined?
A:  Pricing is determined based on the set of events you choose. For example, is it a one- or a two-day program? Is it all face–to-face, or is there an online component as well? For pricing information, contact Kim Stilwell at kstilwell@nsta.org or 703-312-9247.

Q: How can districts transform their elementary science programs using the Picture-Perfect Science books and workshop series?
A: Literacy experts and former science teachers Karen Ansberry and Emily Miller have spent years developing the Picture-Perfect Science series, which is designed to help elementary school teachers save precious teaching time by combining reading and science. These teaching techniques and books have been classroom-tested and reviewed by our experts. Individual teachers tell us that they love the books and that seeing the teaching methods modeled in a workshop takes them to a new level. We now offer a way to share this with many teachers at once.

Q: In addition to onsite professional learning, do you also offer online courses?
A: Yes! Our online courses offer additional opportunities to explore Picture-Perfect Science or the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) professional learning packages and how they can be customized for your particular district’s needs.

Q: What materials do we walk away with after the train-the-trainer sessions?
A:  After attending these sessions, participants come away with the complete presentations to take the concepts back to their school districts along with knowledge of how to present them.

Q: When you come to our district, how is the training conducted?
A:  We send trainers based on how many participants you have, sending one trainer for every 50 participants, so we can address individual questions and concerns thoroughly. The pricing matrix is based on the number of participants as well.

Q: What are formative assessment probes and who uses them?
A:  Learn how to transform your district’s middle school curriculum using Page Keeley’s Uncovering Student Ideas formative assessment probes. These probes—which cover physical, life, Earth, and space sciences, as well as nature of science and unifying themes—are invaluable formative assessment tools you can use either at the beginning of each topic or unit or as you progress through specific lessons.

Q: How can districts transform their high school curriculum using the Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) book and workshop series?
A:  Victor Sampson and his co-authors developed the ADI model to meet the need for all students to become proficient in science by the time they finish high school. The ADI instruction model was designed as a way to make lab activities more authentic and educative for students and thus help teachers promote and support the development of science proficiency. The stages of the model range from question identification, data analysis, and argument development to double-blind peer review and report revision.

Q: Do you come to me, or do I bring my teachers to you?
A:  Our authors and expert trainers can come to you to offer training tailored to your needs, but other face-to-face workshops, as well as online courses and webinars, are available as well.

Q:  Which of your professional learning programs have a Train-the-Trainer component?
A:  Our Picture-Perfect Science, Argument-Driven Inquiry, and NGSS programs all offer a Train-the-Trainer component.

Q: What grade levels are these appropriate for?
A:  We have professional learning packages available for all grade levels.

Q: Who developed them?
A: These professional learning packages were developed by NSTA Press authors, NGSS experts, and NSTA training staff to provide high-quality learning experiences for you and the teachers in your district.

Q: How do these packages work with the Standards?
A: We offer extensive professional learning opportunities around NGSS specifically and three-dimensional instruction more broadly. Engage in a three-dimensional lesson yourself, see a three-dimensional approach in a real classroom, and dig into each of the science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. In addition, our Picture-Perfect STEM package aligns with the Common Core Math Standards.

Learn more about NSTA’s District Professional Learning Packages at www.nsta.org/district or 703-312-9247.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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