PRNP hosts and sponsors a variety of professional development events for STEM teachers. Learn More
Noyce Scholar Network
Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much. Helen Keller Get connected to other NOYCE scholars. Learn More
PRNP locates and provides an extensive array of informational, instructional and professional resources for STEM educators. Learn More
Ask a Mentor Blog
Decision-Making and Data in Teaching Teaching involves a lot of decision making. When creating and teaching a lesson, decisions have to be made constantly, including during the initial planning phase. Learn more.
Support Network Portal
In October 2016, PRNP will lanuch a portal to allow STEM educators to make connections to other STEM educators who seek or offer teaching help or resources. Learn More
New Teacher Support
PRNP provides individualized mentoring, a monthly cohort networking experience and opportunities for new teachers to take on leadership roles with their peers. Learn more
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PRNP News & Events
Education for Sustainability-Philly
For three days in August, 14 School District of Philadelphia STEM and non-STEM teachers and 3 Community College of Philadelphia Faculty joined together to kick off the newest PRNP NSF funded project – Education for Sustainability-Philly (EfS-Philly)! In an effort to support the School District’s GreenFutures Sustainability Plan, these educators will be working all year long on finding connections in their discipline’s scope and sequence where they can integrate topics of sustainability as well as Education for Sustainability standards and performance indicators. Working in teams, facilitated by project PI Victor Donnay and Co-PIs Margaret Stephens (CCP, and Paul Morgan (West Chester University), the teachers will also develop a project-based Unit connecting their students to their community in an action that models what their students are learning about sustainability and education for sustainability.
The three day kick off included a one day orientation in which Dr. Morgan shared the Pachamama Awakening the Dreamer philosophy in order to encourage teachers to focus more on the affective side of teaching while they continue to focus on their content area. This effort in team-building was a great foundation for the second day of learning in which Jaimie Cloud from the Cloud Institute facilitated a session in which teachers had to decide whether to have a sustainability mindset or not! Playing the Fish Game Challenged all our notions of why we do things and helped us think specifically about two of the Education for Sustainability core standards: Healthy Commons and Sustainable Economics. The educators were joined by Sustainability Stakeholders from 20 different community organizations and businesses including Green Allies, Energy Coordinating Agency, the Mayor’s Office, GreenTreks, Green Philly Blog, CUSP, etc. Sustainability organizations discussed the resources that are available to teachers and all shared ideas on how teachers could tap into these resources for more community-based learning, a hallmark of Education for Sustainability.
On the third day of the orientation, educators took a field trip to places many have never been to in the City of Philadelphia. Starting off at the Fairmount Water Works Mussel Hatchery, the group explored the restorative work that mussels are doing in the Schuylkill River. Water Department Scientist, Lance Butler, explained to the group how the mussels clean the water and in the process make the river a place where they and many other species can live and flourish. Using this “natural” filtration system makes for a smaller carbon footprint for the City of Philadelphia in addition to helping to maintain a healthy watershed. Participants walked on the Schuylkill River Trail to our next destination, Schuylkill Banks, the tidal portion of the Schuylkill River where people can enjoy the outdoors, boating, walking, biking, exercising, and learning! Josh Nim, manager of Schuylkill Banks and Operations Manager for the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, led us on a tour of the Banks, explaining the history and plans for the future of this trail that hopefully one day run all the way to the Philadelphia Airport! The River Trail provides opportunities for people to get around by alternative means (feet) and conserves green spaces in the city…sustainable practices leading to a healthier city. The River Trail lead us to our next stop, the Schuylkill River Park Community Garden, a resident maintained urban garden. Al Kelman, one of the residents in the area who has a plot in the Garden, regaled us with stories about the history of the park, their plans for the future, and their efforts to collaborate with schools in the area, foodbanks and programs like Roots to Re-Entry, a project of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
The final destination for the day brought educators full circle, to a school that was awash in sustainable initiatives, Greenfield School. The principal, Mr. Lazar, of this award winning school, shared the many examples of “greening” that have been going on at this school for a number of years now such as solar installations, rain gardens, pervious schoolyard paving and green roof. Not lost on teachers was the effort by students and teachers to make all these things happen and the productive way these efforts are used as a living laboratory for student learning. As Principal Lazar explained, these accomplishments were a collaborative effort with many area organizations, parents and community members.
The educators involved in this program returned to their classrooms the next week inspired and on fire to move the needle on sustainability at their schools and in their classrooms. These teachers will meet one Saturday a month for the whole school year to work on integrating sustainability topics and education for sustainability core standards into their teaching. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 21, 2018 for the PRNP Education for Sustainability Conference when these educators will present workshops on a variety of place-based, community centered, sustainability focused workshops!
Visit our Resources /Lesson Links section to find a link to our Goggle Docs Resource Folder where we have uploaded lessons and resources for the various workshops that were presented at the PRNP Project-based Learning in the STEM Classroom professional development day as well as from past professional development events!
STEM Teachers Attending Events in 2016-17
Mentoring Hours Provided New Teachers in 2015-16
Events Hosted or Sponsored in past 5 years
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School District of Philadelphia Launches a New Effort to Hire 800 New Teachers! Many will be Math and Science Teachers!
Spotlight on Scholars
Featured Scholar – Joji Thompson
Joji Thompson attended Drexel University and graduated with a BS in Computer Engineering. During his undergraduate study, he was recruited into the school of education, and after graduating, with the financial support of the Noyce scholarship, was able to get his MS in Mathematics Learning and Teaching.
Feeling undereducated by the schools he attended as a child, Joji went to college feeling very behind his peers. He felt that he had not been prepared for college or the real world. He wanted to go into high needs education and provide for students the things he felt were not available to him as a student. He wanted his students to go into college with skills and concepts that would be required of them.
At his current school, Camden Promise Charter, Joji teaches physics and mathematics. In addition to this, he runs a robotics and computer engineering club after school. At this club, he teaches students real life skills that would prepare them to be successful at either a job or in college. His students learn how to be a basic electronic’s technician and how to build basic electronic devices. For instance, one of the projects he has his students do is repair headphones. Each year, he purchases a large amount of broken headphones and gives these to his students, teaches them the circuitry involved in headphones and then has them repair them (and they get to keep them!). His students also design their own flash lights (or light up gear), their own phone chargers, police sirens, and many other things.
One of Joji’s passions as a teacher is updating the math and engineering curriculum to reflect the kinds of skills students need in a digital world. He believes the current information that students learn is not preparing them for the issues or jobs they will deal with in our more technical society. His teaching goal is to be able to incorporate his engineering curriculum into a high school such that his students would have a course that would be hands-on, inquiry based, provide real world skills and solutions, and better prepare students for college. He dreams of working in a school environment that allows and supports this.