Teacher Networks and Professional Learning Communities

LOCAL:
Teachers Lead Philly is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Philadelphia Education Fund. Teachers met monthly to research and discuss dimensions of teacher leadership and their impact on effective education systems. Currently, TLP is facilitating research and discussion about effective professional collaboration. (Not STEM specific.) http://teachersleadphilly.org/about.html

Philadelphia Area Math Teachers’ Circle provides opportunities for professional mathematicians and middle-grades math teachers to engage in collaborative and creative mathematical problem-solving. The PAMTC is part of the Math Teachers’ Circle Network of the American Institutes of Mathematics (AIM). http://philamtc.blogspot.com/p/about.html

Reflective Teachers Network provides a context for educators to connect and improve their practice. Based at Temple University, the group uses a discussion protocol to identify a specific need in a participant’s classroom or school, then works to support that individual in developing a plan of success. (Not STEM specific.) http://www.reflectiveteachers.org/

Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association (PAESTA) is a chapter of the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA); a non-profit, educational organization committed to the advancement, extension, improvement and coordination of Earth Science education across all levels. 2013 conference (10/4-5) is at Penn State Brandywine in Media. http://www.paesta.psu.edu

PEF Math + Science Coalition hosts a forum each month exclusively for Philadelphia math and science teachers in grades K-12, including dinner, networking, discussions and professional development opportunities. The Coalition also shares information about mini-grants, field trips and other resources. http://www.philaedfund.org/programs/advancing-education/philadelphia-math-science-coalition/programs-educators

PhilaSoup is a monthly micro-grant dinner meant to bring innovative and dynamic Philadelphia-area educators together, highlight the great work they are doing and fund some terrific projects. Eat soup, learn about great local initiatives, and vote on which project to fund with the money raised from the meal. (Not STEM specific.) http://philasoup.com/

SE PA Chapter of American Association of Physics Teachers brings together high school and college physics teachers and other professionals working in science education. SEPA AAPT hosts many workshops and other programs, including an annual Spring Meeting (held at Drexel University in 2013). http://www.physics.upenn.edu/aapt/

ATMOPAV, the Association of Teachers of Mathematics of Philadelphia and Vicinity, was founded over 50 years ago. An affiliate of NCTM and PCTM, it is an organization of educators who are dedicated to the improvement of mathematics education at every level from kindergarten to college. http://atmopav.com/about-us/

ON-LINE COMMUNITIES:
The Math Forum@Drexel is a leading online resource for improving math learning, teaching, and communication. It is comprised of teachers, mathematicians, researchers, students, and parents using the power of the Web to learn math and improve math education. The Math Forum offers a wealth of problems and puzzles; online mentoring; research; team problem solving; collaborations; and professional development. http://mathforum.org/

eMSS: The New Teacher Center e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) is an innovative, nationwide content and exceptionality specific online mentoring program that advances high-quality math, science and special education instruction for all students by accelerating the effectiveness and increasing the retention of new teachers of these subject and specialist areas. Opportunities for mentorship are available for master teachers. http://www.newteachercenter.org/services/emss

Teaching Channel
We have discussed online options for new teacher support, and taking advantage of what’s already out there. “The Teaching Channel,” an online platform from a non-profit seems like a very good way for teachers to share and discuss videos of lesson plans and lesson ideas. There are options for communicating online via “Tch.” https://www.teachingchannel.org/about-us

ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES:
The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia:
The Teachers Institute of Philadelphia is a unique academic professional development project based on a collaborative partnership, and supportive relationship between the University of Pennsylvania and the School District of Philadelphia. The Teachers Institute is consciously built upon a successful model of partnership practiced by Yale University and the New Haven (CT) School District. The goal of the Teachers Institute is to improve the quality of classroom teaching in public schools in West and Southwest Philadelphia, through a sustained academic professional development effort.
The Institute will annually offer academic seminars lasting fourteen weeks to a diverse selection of urban schoolteachers. These seminars bring together university faculty and city teachers in a collaborative and collegial effort as professional educators. The seminar topics, suggested by the teachers themselves, are designed to improve their mastery of academic content made available by university scholars. Although this is created for teachers in the Southwest and West Philadelphia area, they accept STEM teachers throughout the city. They do not accept teachers in charter schools. Applications will be available in the fall on their website. Seminars start in the spring. http://www.tip.sas.upenn.edu/index.html

NSTA Professional Development Institutes
Professional Development Institutes (PDIs) are focused, content-based programs that explore key topics in significant depth. Each institute begins with a full-day preconference session, followed by two days of pathways sessions that offer further exploration of the topics covered. PDIs are presented by experts in science education, professional development, and materials development. Institutes are offered in conjunction with the NSTA National Conference on Science Education and require conference registration. Upcoming Professional Development Institute will be held in Boston, Massachusetts on April 2, 2014

See NSTA website for a variety of other types of professional development including on-line courses, web-based seminars, and academies. http://www.nsta.org/pd/pdi/

NCTM Professional Development Institutes
Like NSTA, NCTM offers a number of Pre-Conference PD Institutes as well as Interactive Institutes. Learn more about these offerings at http://www.nctm.org/profdev/default.aspx?id=398

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