Professional Development

VISTA » Professional Development » Elementary Teachers

Elementary Teachers

×Note: Applications for the 2014-15 cohort are now closed.

VISTA is aiming to improve student learning by offering teachers free professional learning opportunities, free personalized coaching and mentoring, hundreds of dollars of resources and materials for the classroom, and a diverse community of practice to support them throughout the school year. Elementary teachers will work in teams in a summer camp environment for children as they learn about problem-based learning and receive feedback as they try inquiry-based science teaching. Follow-up professional development will help them implement these science-based approaches in traditional classroom settings.

Exciting Learning Opportunities for Elementary Science
Teachers (Grades 4-6)

The one-year VISTA program for elementary teachers focuses on both the teaching of science and student achievement. Teams of 4th-6th grade teachers attend an initial four-week summer institute and fall follow-up sessions to receive professional development on:

  • Enhancing science content knowledge
  • Improving science teaching by applying the principles of hands-on science, student-centered inquiry, the nature of science, and problem-based learning

Teachers practice the new techniques with students during two-week science camps embedded in the institute. They then return to their classrooms to implement the new teaching methods during the subsequent school year. Coaches trained in the VISTA method support teachers throughout the year.

The VISTA evaluation team explores how the instructional practices of VISTA elementary teachers impact student achievement as measured by students’ Standards of Learning assessments.

Treatment Group Support

Teams of teachers randomly assigned to the treatment group will receive:

  • Four-week summer institute plus follow-up sessions with meals, travel, and lodging paid if out-of-town
  • $5,000 stipend per teacher
  • Up to $1,000 in teaching resources, science materials, and web content for their classroom
  • A master teacher as coach who will assist with teaching in the classroom throughout the year
  • A trip to the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) Professional Development Institute in the fall

Implementation sites include George Mason University, the College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Tech.

Control Group Support

Control teachers receive a $500 honorarium in their first year to participate in data collection. The next year, they are placed into the treatment group and receive all forms of support outlined above.

Requirements:

  • Completion of all data collection instruments including surveys, videotaping, etc. (see consent form when you apply).
  • Attendance in all summer and academic year instruction and support.
  • Active, eager participation.
  • School division science coordinator (or instructional specialist if there is no science coordinator) should attend the summer institute for two days.
  • The school principal should attend the summer institute for one day.
 
2014-2015 PARTICIPATION DATES (for teams randomized to the treatment group)
George Mason University Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Tech The College of William
and Mary
June 26 – July 3,
July 7 – July 24,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 27, 9am – 4pm
June 24 – June 27,
June 30 – July 1,
July 7 – July 24,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 27, 9am – 4pm
June 25 – July 2,
July 7 – July 24,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 27, 9am – 4pm
June 23 – June 26,
June 30 – July 1,
July 7 – July 24,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 27, 9am – 4pm
November 22 – 23, 2014 (after VAST conference)
(times TBD)
Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) Professional Development Institute
November 20 – 22, 2014
Roanoke, VA

 

ANTICIPATED 2015 PARTICIPANT DATES (for teams randomized to the control group)
George Mason University Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Tech The College of William
and Mary
June 24 – July 1,
July 6 – July 23,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 26, 9am – 4pm
June 23 – June 30,
July 6 – July 23,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 26, 9am – 4pm
June 24 – July 1,
July 6 – July 23,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 26, 9am – 4pm
June 23 – June 30,
July 6 – July 23,
8am – 4pm
and
Saturday, September 26, 9am – 4pm
 

*NOTE: Each team will be assigned to a site based on distance and space availability. If there is an issue with the placement, please contact us.