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Core Partners -- Current and New


Why Core Partner School Districts?

The NSF initiative under which the Penn STI is funded focuses on the development of science teachers as school- and district-based intellectual leaders and master teachers.  It requires that Partnerships be formed that include disciplinary faculty in science content departments of higher education institutions along with faculty from their schools of education and administrators and teachers in K-12 entities This partnership organization is in the “effort to effect deep, lasting improvement in K-20 science education..."(1)

(1) NSF 03-605, Pg. 5

Why Become a Core Partner?

  • Opportunity for experienced (more than two years) middle grades and secondary science teachers to participate in the Penn STI degree programs paid for through scholarships and stipends where they will:
    • become revitalized through interacting with the “community of learners” with whom they will work for 26 months
    • deepen and/or refresh their science content knowledge and laboratory expertise
    • become technologically literate and/or integrate technology into their own learning and into their classrooms in the service of teaching and learning
    • learn to conduct research in their own classrooms for the purpose of improving the learning environment for all students
    • become knowledgeable about current science education research and acknowledged best practices
    • create new units and/or lessons implementing their new knowledge
    • be required to become a ‘catalyst’ in science education within their school/district aided by their building administrator partner
    • become comfortable with making presentations to cohort peers – a skill which then builds their confidence in working with their own school/district peers
    • be able to add an area of certification (chemistry or middle school science) to an already existing teaching certificate
    • have continuing access to the resource centers and grants
    • be included in on-going professional development opportunities for graduates of the institutes (top)
  • Opportunity and requirement for the appropriate administrator(s) to participate in Administrators’ Science Education Academy on:
    • current science education research and acknowledged best practices
    • supervision and evaluation of science education
    • classroom models of inquiry-based teaching and learning
    • using teacher leaders to catalyze change within their building
    • administrative issues associated with educational change
    • building a “community of learners” with administrative colleagues
    • continuing access to electronic communications with these colleagues (top)
  • Opportunity for the school district to participate in nationally disseminated science education research as we analyze first-hand data gathered by our Penn STI internal and external evaluators on the impact of the Penn STI on:
    • student achievement within districts, schools and classrooms, among urban, rural and suburban districts using disaggregated student groups.  (“Does a teacher’s participation in the Penn STI have a different impact in these different environments vs. teachers who do not participate?” for example.)
    • teacher work force in the areas of teacher change, career trajectories and retention implications (“Does participation in the Penn STI have any effect on career choices to remain in education and/or improve student learning through teacher change vs. non-participating teachers?” for example)
    • both student achievement and teacher workforce within different school/district administrative and curricular environments ( for example comparing School District of Philadelphia (SDP) schools under UPenn supervision vs. SDP supervision; schools with very structured curricula vs. those allowing teacher input)
    • University science faculty teaching in the Penn STI and their teaching of undergraduate and other graduate courses. (top)

Core Partners' Responsibilities:

Each Partner district agrees to:

  • Designate a district representative to help the Penn STI recruit appropriate district participants
  • Provide a letter from the superintendent/CAO (district appropriate administrator) showing commitment to:
    • an alignment of the Penn STI teacher leadership effort with district ongoing educational improvements and reform in math and science,
    • increased responsibilities for the Penn STI participant in their home organization as a result of successful completion of the institute, and
    • administrative support, time resources and recognition/rewards commensurate with this increased responsibility and according to district culture
  • Identify for the teacher applying to the Penn STI program:
    • A (preferably building) administrator who agrees to actively participate in the six (6) day long Administrators’ Science Education Academy sessions (3 summer days, 3 Saturdays – 1 each in Fall, Winter and Spring) -- Act 48 Credit, continuing graduate education credit and/or Leadership Certificate in Science Education available.
    • The identified administrator completes the Administrator Information Sheets that accompany the teacher’s application (top)
  • For use by the Penn STI External Evaluation Team:
    • Allow the collection of data on institute participants and their students through surveys and content examinations supplied by the External Evalators
    • Allow the collection of data (video taping, interviews, focus groups, surveys, etc. with Penn STI providing Institutional Review Board approval and appropriate consent forms for student and parent signatures) for the formative and external evaluation, teacher action research projects for their course work, and Penn research aspects of the proposal
  • Grant sufficient non-classroom time and/or compensation (as per the district’s culture for such leadership roles) or other type of support to institute participants to carry out their responsibilities as district/school science teacher-leaders and provide written assurance of this commitment. (top)

Who are our Current Core Partner Districts/Schools?

Benefits to Partner Districts/Schools

Responsibilities of Partner Districts/Schools

For Use by External Evaluators

How Do We Become a Core Partner District/School?

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Funded through NSF EHR 0412404  

Penn Science Teacher Institute
Dr. Larry Gladney, Director
University of Pennsylvania, Department of Chemistry
231 South 34 Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6323