University of Pennsylvania
The Access Science program works to reinforce and make effective the core structure of the existing math and science curricula in the K-12 classrooms in Philadelphia, particularly by emphasizing professional development, classroom support, and the mindful adaptation of hands-on activities and inquiry-based strategies. We currently employ over 40 undergraduate and graduate Fellows, and several of our Fellows have been actively involved with designing and implementing teacher professional development sessions.
During the current academic year, Dr. Ingrid Waldron and Graduate Fellows Jennifer Doherty and Lori Spindler of the Biology Department are currently developing and implementing Philadelphia School District-endorsed professional development sessions for high school biology teachers throughout the school district. The PD sessions focus on effective ways to maximize student learning from activities in the School District High School Biology Curriculum and incorporate some alternative activities designed to provide superior learning experiences. These monthly sessions are providing teachers training in hands-on activities, the relevant background in biology, and perhaps most importantly, supplies to perform the activities in all of their classes. The sessions model the type of interactive teaching that stimulates the interest and understanding of learners—whether they are teachers or students. In addition, teachers are asked to share suggestions based on their own teaching experience. Currently 18 teachers from 11 schools are attending the monthly sessions, which not only enhance teacher PD, but also afford the graduate students involved an opportunity to teach.