TIU 11, surrounding districts lead the way to improve science education
Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 was selected to participate in the Pennsylvania Science Education Leaders (PennSEL) Network, a cohort of leadership teams across Pennsylvania with the goal of improving science teaching and learning for all students. The multi-year effort was launched by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and NextGenScience in June 2021 and is expanding in March 2022.
The PennSEL Network builds upon a larger strategy to strengthen STEM education by investing in and increasing access to STEM learning experiences for educators and students. In September 2019, the PA State Board of Education charged PDE with beginning the process of updating Pennsylvania’s science, environment, ecology, technology, and engineering standards for the first time in approximately 20 years. In January 2022, the Board voted on the final form of the standards, which are proposed for full implementation in school year 2025–26. The PennSEL Network will support science network teams to lead the transition of these new standards in their communities.
Peney Wright, STEM/STEAM Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for TIU 11, shares, “We are excited for this opportunity to serve alongside so many educators passionate about science education in Pennsylvania. Participation in the PennSEL Network will support the work of science leaders in Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata and Fulton counties as we collaborate to strengthen and enhance science learning equitably for all students, while facilitating the three-year roll out integrating the forthcoming new Pennsylvania Integrated Science Standards.”
Representatives from TIU 11 and its member districts, along with supporters from various community organizations, will work with a network of over 90 Intermediate Unit-, community-, and school-based leaders of science education from across the Commonwealth to build a common strategy for improving local systems of science teaching and learning. The program will provide new opportunities for participants to reflect on practices, share their best ideas, and collectively solve problems between organizations and across regions. Regional demonstration sites will be used to generate tools, resources, and processes that can be shared with school leaders and educators across the state to spotlight innovations that are improving science teaching and learning.
“When educators from the school, district, regional, and state level work together toward a common vision for science education, it makes a huge difference in creating meaningful and inclusive science experiences for students,” said Vanessa Wolbrink, associate director of NextGenScience. “Given recent events, it’s more important than ever that all students are empowered to think of science as something that helps them address issues that affect their lives and communities.”
Funders of the PennSEL Network include Arconic Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Grable Foundation.