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Goal 2 Resources: Improve STEM Teacher Training and Professional Development Quality

Revitalize STEM teacher preservice education, induction, and professional development programs that attract and prepare a diverse group of P–16 STEM teachers and promote their effectiveness, retention, lifelong learning, and continued involvement in research.


1. News Stories

Short news stories about STEM teacher training and professional development activities on the Illinois campus.

2. Funded Projects Directory

Directory of current externally funded P-16 teacher training and professional development projects on the Illinois campus.

3. Funding Opportunities

External funding opportunities for teacher training and professional development programs and research.

4. STEM Teacher Development and Resources

Opportunities and resources for preservice and inservice P-16 STEM teachers. Opportunities, including new dates for events that occur in consecutive years, are posted as program information becomes available. Until new dates are available, we retain the date of the previous year's event, since they often happen around the same time every year.

P–16 STEM Teacher Development Events
  • Knowles Science Teaching Foundation: KSTF Teaching Fellowships: Awards fellowships in the areas of biological sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences. The fellowship is designed to meet the needs of beginning teachers from the onset of the credentialing process through the early years of their careers. Fellows receive: stipends, funding for professional development, grants for teaching materials, leadership and mentoring oportunities. Application deadline for 2018 Teaching Fellowship is TBA
  • nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers: This 6-week nanotechnology research experience at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is for STEM teachers/community college faculty and pre-service STEM teachers (rising juniors or higher). Benefits include: $7000 stipend (teachers) or $3500 stipend (pre-service), materials stipend, travel support, room and board, hands-on research, faculty/peer mentoring, professional development, networking. U.S. citizenship or national or permanent residency is required. The selection committee supports diversity among RET participants and their school populations. Contact person: Carrie Kouadio, RET Coordinator; email; phone: 217-244-1353. Dates: June 28-August 8, 2017.
  • P–16 STEM Instructional and PD Resources
    • Academic Challenge: Science/engineering test competitions for high school students. Teachers at participating schools (400+ schools in Illinois) select their best students for their teams and coach them using old tests for practice. There are three levels of competition for Academic Challenge: regionals (in February), sectionals (in March), and state finals (in April) on the UIUC campus. 
    • American Chemical Society Classroom Resources: For elementary/middle school, high school, undergrad, two-year college, and graduate education.
      1. Inquiry in Action: A resource for guided, inquiry-based activities that grade 3-6 teachers and students can use to supplement physical science curriculum.
      2. MiddleSchoolChemistry.com: A resource of guided, inquiry-based lesson plans for grades 6-8 that covers basic chemistry concepts along with the process of scientific investigation.
    • ACS Chemistry in the Community Webinars: Increase your understanding of the high school text, Chemistry in the Community (ChemCom), while gaining instructional tips and techniques for student lab investigations and classroom activities.
    • BeeSpace: Instructional resources for high school biology, ecology, and environmental science classes
    • Bugscope: Free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope for K-16 classrooms worldwide
    • Center for the Physics of Living Cells: Curriculum Resources: In collaboration with local teachers, we have developed a series of curriculum resources for use in secondary science instruction. Resources are designed for physics, chemistry, and biology teachers.
    • Chickscope: Students use classroom computers to access data generated from scientific instruments
    • Chic Tech: Teams of undergraduate women visit high schools to demystify the field of computer science and inform female students about the joy of studying it as a college major. One component, the Technical Ambassadors Competition, challenges groups of up to 5 high school girls to create a technical service project for a community non-profit organization. Winning projects receive cash prizes, and finalists are invited to a weekend retreat at Illinois.Contacts: IllinoisWCS@gmail.com
    • DATA: Demonstrations and Animations for Teaching Astronomy: Astronomy teaching resources.
    • Earth's Atmosphere: Educational resource for elementary school units on earth's atmosphere, weather, and climate.
    • ELATE at Drexel: Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) is a national leadership development program designed to advance senior women faculty in academic engineering, computer science, and related fields into effective institutional leadership roles within their schools and universities.
    • Engineering Advocates: Illinois Engineering students visit K–12 schools to share their knowledge and love of engineering with @ 6000 youth per year. They conduct hands-on workshops at elementary and middle schools and make a PowerPoint presentation about engineering careers and admission to Illinois at high schools; they also conduct workshops for groups such as Girl Scouts and participate in conferences and career fairs for middle and high school students. Contact Engineering Advocates.
    • EnLiST Resources: Physics and chemistry materials for high school teacher leaders.
    • EtoysIllinois: K–5 teaching with EToys software and teaching computer languages
    • FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology: An international competition allowing students to explore science and technology through robotics. Illinois hosts a regional Lego Robotics competition every December, with @ 220 children participating annually. College of Engineering supports Robotics Program (ages 9–14), and Vex Robotics (high school). Teachers in AP Physics classes employ Vex robotics to provide a hands-on approach to physics principles.
    • Illinois Geometry Lab (IGL): This group of mathematicians seeks to share their love of geometry with people of all ages. Student members of the lab perform outreach in schools, after-school clubs, and provide workshops and resources for local high school and middle school teachers. Contact IGL. I-STEM article: Illinois Geometry Lab: Changing the Shape of Math Research...and Outreach.
    • iRISE (Illinois Researchers in Partnership with K-12 Science Educators): The Illinois Researchers in Partnership with K-12 Science Educators (iRISE) Project aims to bring hands-on science and engineering lessons to underrepresented middle school students and their teachers in Illinois. iRISE is centered around a graduate course which trains science and engineering PhD students in educational outreach. As a part of the course, graduate students develop and teach science and engineering lessons to local middle school students. iRISE also teaches an annual summer workshop for Illinois middle school teachers.
    • iRobotics: This student organization seeks to share their love of robotics with youngsters. Outreach events they perform include judging competitions; doing demonstrations in local schools; and helping start, mentor, or prepare teams for competition. Contact iRobotics. I-STEM article on iRobotics.
    • Illinois State Board of Education Educator Certification Information: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provides endorsements for teacher certifications. Endorsements are available in several subject areas, including Biological Science, Computer Applications, Computer Science, General Science, Mathematics, Physical Science, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, and Environmental Science. Specific requirements for endoresements are listed here.
    • NanoCEMMS Online Labs: Nanotechnology lab activities that can be used in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms; labs include materials lists, step-by-step procedures, and downloadable materials .
    • Physics Van: Performs physics demonstrations in Champaign-Urbana, IL area elementary schools
    • Physics Lecture Demonstration Database: Designed to help physics instructors find demonstrations for their lectures
    • Prairie Research Institute Teacher Resources. These teacher resources under Teachers/Youth Groups Resources were developed for the Naturally Illinois Expo.
    • REACT (Reaching and Educating Tomorrow's Chemists Today). Each semester, the program visits every local school within a 30 mile radius of campus to work with third grade youngsters in hands-on activities in chemistry. The program also performs demonstration shows, visits local after-school facilities, and hosts on-campus and off-campus sessions for families to do hands-on science together for an evening each month. Email REACT. I-STEM article: REACT: Reaching and Educating Tomorrow's Chemists Today.
    • Sustainability Teacher Workshop: The ISTC Sustainability Teacher Workshop is designed to introduce sustainable technologies into the classroom. Each year a different topic related to sustainable research will be featured with the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers of similar grade levels to produce an NGSS compatible learning unit related to that technology. CPDUs will be available through the University of Illinois. This year's sustainability topic is biochar (a byproduct of pyrolysis). Teachers will participate in an experiment using scientific methodology to determine the effect of biochar on an agricultural crop.
      • Date: 8/1/2014
      • Time: 8am-5:00 pm
      • CPDUs: 8 hours
      • Cost: Free (lunch provided)
      • Where: 1 E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign IL 61820
      • Eligibility: Illinois high school science teachers
      • Registration: Open until full.
      • Questions? Contact Kirsten Walker
    • TCIP (Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid): Interactive lessons help teachers and students learn about the system that delivers electricity and challenges for the future
    • TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools): Program started by Microsoft Company strives to get a computer science course in every high school in the U.S. Schools wishing to apply to be a partner with TEALS for the 2016-17 school year must apply by February 24, 2017.
    • The Power of the Wind: Curriculum includes several small projects that teach about the wind and its uses while introducing engineering design and engaging learners in doing, testing, reflecting, and revising.
    • University of Illinois Extension: Teacher resources in horticulture, nutrition and health, and environmental stewardship, and schools online, which contains science resources.
    • WaterCAMPWS: Teaching and learning resources on water purification systems.
    • VetMed Open House: The VetMed Open House shows the public what truly goes on inside an animal hospital, giving visitors a taste of what it takes to be a veterinarian via numerous hands-on activities for all ages. Next Open House: October 1, 2017. I-STEM article on Open House 2013: Vet Med Open House Appeals to Young and Old Alike.
    • Wildlife Encounters: Created and operated by the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine, this site offers resources for K-12 students and teachers.
    Teacher and Principal Fellowships
    • 2015-2016 Principal Ambassador Fellowship: The PAF program is meant to recognize the important impact that a principal has on instructional leadership, the school environment, and talent management. In order to implement needed reforms, all stakeholders, and most importantly teachers and principals, must understand the intent of policy and be engaged in the outcomes. The PAF position provides outstanding principals who have a record of leadership, student achievement, strong communication skills, and insights from their school experiences an opportunity to highlight the voice of the principal within the education community and the country at large.

      The mission and goals of the PAF program are too:

      • Recognize the importance and impact of principals in schools on instructional leadership, talent management, and community culture
      • Improve education programs and policies by strengthening the connection to practical knowledge about school realities to find a better way to recruit, prepare, develop, and retain effective school leaders
      • Highlight the voice of principals with the education community and country at large

      Throughout this experience, the fellows work in cohorts to achieve three goals:

      • LEARN about federal education policy and ED
      • REACH out to principals and other school leaders in the field
      • REFLECT with ED staff on the knowledge gained
    • 2015-2016 Teaching Ambassador Fellowship: Only currently practicing Preschool-12th grade teachers and instructional coaches/specialists with at least five years of experience are eligible to apply for this program.
      Qualities they are seeking in Teaching Ambassador Fellow are listed below:
      • Contributions to Student Learning – the extent to which the candidate has had demonstrable and meaningful impact on student achievement and school success;
      • Effective Leadership – the extent to which the candidate brings a record of effective leadership and team work amongst peers and other key stakeholders;
      • Communication Skills – the extent to which the candidate demonstrates the written and oral communication skills required to serve as a Fellow;
      • Other Applicable Skills and Experience – the extent to which the candidate demonstrates experience linked with the unique requirements and attributes of the Fellowship role.
      • Relevant Interests and Expertise – the extent to which the candidate has the ability to provide relevant insights from school and district experiences to education policy, programs, and initiatives; and,
      • School System Support – the extent to which the candidate has demonstrable support from their school and district for program participation.
    Public Engagement Portal

    This searchable portal contains additional information about STEM education opportunities for K-12 students and professional development opportunities for K–12 teachers.