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Laurel teachers in summer STEM institute

posted Aug 18, 2014, 8:00 AM by Jude Raffeinner   [ updated Aug 18, 2014, 8:04 AM ]

This summer, teachers from Laurel joined an innovative initiative designed to change how science is taught across Virginia.

Megan Harner, Jennifer Martin and Janet Smith began a year-long program with the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA), which kicked off with an intensive, four-week Elementary Science Institute at Virginia Tech.

Funded by a $34m grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the program applies the principles of hands-on science, student-centered inquiry, the nature of science, and problem-based learning. The goal is to shift science instruction from the traditional teacher-led classroom to examining “real world” problems and thinking like scientists to find solutions.

VISTA aims to improve student learning by offering teachers free professional learning opportunities, free personalized coaching and mentoring, a $5,000 stipend, $1,000 for classroom supplies, a trip to the Virginia Association of Science Teachers Professional Development Institute, and a diverse community of practice to support them throughout the school year.

For more information about VISTA, click here. The initiative also offers free professional development for new middle and high school science teachers, and district sciencecoordinators.