Continuing education: for the love of learning

For three weeks this summer, 18 teachers from across the country came to Washington University in St. Louis to take the next step on the path towards excellence in teaching. The Institute for School Partnership (ISP) at Wash U offers teachers a specialized Master’s in Biology that caters specifically to the needs of educators.

The participants were challenged to deepen their science content knowledge, exploring the worlds of plant biology, genetics, and matter and energy during three weeklong summer courses. This year’s program director Paul Markovits said that what makes this program unique is the ability for teachers to connect with some of the leading researchers in a variety of science fields. “Although this program is an intense three weeks in the summer, the interactions with research scientists enables each teacher to meet and learn from some of the leading people in their fields,” Markovits said. “The amount of information discussed and the diversity of topics gives teachers a broad foundation that can be used in their own teaching.”

Beyond meeting and learning from the experts, the participants were able to connect with educators from diverse backgrounds and experience levels. “What sets this program apart from others out there is its emphasis on building personal relationships,” said Charles McWilliams, a MS in Biology alumnus that now works with the program. “This year’s group is the strongest group I’ve seen since I became involved. These hard-working teachers have elected to spend their summers improving themselves to better their teaching… It’s a wonderful sight to see.”

This fall, each educator in the program will take what they learned and experience during MS in Biology back to their classrooms nationwide.

August 2015   |  by, Gennafer Barajas

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