Professional Development

VISTA » Professional Development » Elementary Teachers

Elementary Teachers

×Note: All sites are currently full but accepting waiting-list teams.

VISTA is aiming to improve student learning by offering teachers free professional learning opportunities, 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 a four-week summer institute 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. 


Teachers will receive:

  • The four-week summer institute plus follow-up sessions with meals, travel, and lodging paid if out-of-town
  • $3,000 stipend per teacher
  • Up to $1,000 in teaching resources, science materials, and web content for their classroom

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


  • Completion of any data collection instruments including surveys, videotaping, etc. (see consent form when you apply).
  • Attendance in the summer institute 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.


George Mason University Virginia Commonwealth University Virginia Tech The College of William
and Mary
June 24 – July 1,
July 6 – July 23,
8am – 4pm
June 23 – June 30,
July 6 – July 23,
8am – 4pm
June 19 – July 2,
July 6 – July 16,
8am – 4pm
June 24 – July 1,
July 6 – July 23,
8am – 4pm

*NOTE: Each team will be assigned to a site based on distance and space availability on a first-come, first-served basis. Team applications and all team member applications must be completed for the overall application to be considered. If there is an issue with the placement, please contact us.