About 100 teachers were in attendance at the 7th annual ISEC Teachers’ Institute. Teachers new to Inquiry Science Education Consortium schools or those changing grades attend a four-day summer professional development that offers a deep dive into the investigative teaching and learning process and individual lessons specific to their grade. Data collection, notebooking, model drawing, and small group and class-wide discussions, or meaning making, are also key components of the program that receive emphasis throughout the training.
David Call, ISEC Program Manager, welcomed the teachers and thanked them for their service to students. “This program is rooted in equity,” he said. “It’s about access to solid inquiry instruction. You are part of something larger looking through that equity lens.”
The 14 trainers who lead the professional development, two per K–6 classroom, are from a select group of ISEC teachers who make up the Teacher Leadership Cadre. Teachers and trainers receive a stipend for their time. The LANL Foundation’s ISEC professional development team is made up of former teachers who understand the needs and challenges of educators in New Mexico.
Danielle Gothie, ISEC Professional Development Coordinator, says that Northern New Mexico has a lot to be proud of with the Teacher Leader Cadre and the highly engaged classroom teachers who attend the summer institute.
“The most exciting part of hosting ISEC Teachers’ Institute is seeing teachers teaching teachers. This is an approach to professional development that I feel needs to be tapped into, and the ISEC team is thrilled to have local trainers with such a high level of expertise. The teachers are motivated to get back into the classroom with a new set of tools to teach inquiry science.”
In the 2017–2018 school year, ISEC will serve 11,000 students and nearly 600 teachers in 43 elementary schools across eight districts in Northern New Mexico. In addition to providing the supportive teacher training component, the program and its nine-person staff manage and deliver inquiry STEM learning materials and curriculum directly to classrooms free of charge. The content of the curriculum modules is aligned with current state education standards and the more rigorous Next Generation Science Standards.
ISEC offers customized training for teacher groups or schools upon request, focusing on accountable talk, meaningful writing, formative assessment, conceptual models, and other strategies that support the inquiry teaching framework. For more information, contact Danielle Gothie at firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-753-8890,or visit lanlfoundation.org/ISEC.