ISP’s mySci adds teacher leader certification program

The Institute for School Partnership is taking its mySci program to the next level, introducing a new initiative aimed at building teacher leaders in school districts. The mySci Leader Certification Program will train mySci teacher leaders to support their colleagues in implementing the innovative mySci science curriculum.

“We think this can be transformational for the work you do,” Rachel Ruggirello, ISP associate director, said to teachers gathered at Washington University in St. Louis for the inaugural mySci Leader Certification Program. “We know that teaching science effectively requires time, skills and confidence. As leaders, you can serve as a much-needed resource for your peers.”

ISP associate director Rachel Ruggirello (right) leads an activity during the mySci Leader Certification program.

For three days, 40 teachers participated in leadership training, team building and preparation for leading district and school workshops on mySci curriculum. The teachers represented four school districts: U City, a longtime mySci partner, and Maplewood-Richmond Heights, Northwest and Wentzville, which are introducing mySci this year.

“It’s important to build teacher leaders in the districts where mySci is being taught,” Ruggirello said. “This person will support their colleagues and be that in-building, go-to person working to improve and support science teaching and learning.”

The mySci program provides K-8 teachers across the St. Louis region with comprehensive science curriculum, materials to conduct hands-on experiments and professional development opportunities. Since the program’s launch, mySci curriculum coordinators have provided PD to districts onsite and also at the mySci Resource Center. Ruggirello said the logical next step is to empower teacher leaders to become qualified facilitators of mySci PD.

Katie Zak (right,) 1st grade teacher at Lakeview Elementary in the Wentzville School District, participates in the new mySci Teacher Leader Certification program.

Katie Zak, a first-grade teacher at Lakeview Elementary in the Wentzville School District, is excited to serve in that role within her district.

“Science cannot be compromised, taken out or eliminated from your schedule,” Zak said. “With mySci, there are so many resources available, and it’s well laid out and organized. Everything that you need to teach that unit is housed in one box, delivered right to you and every item is in a labeled bag.”

Candace Perkins and Shunetta Mathis-Johnson, third and fourth-grade teachers at Pershing Elementary in University City aren’t newbies to mySci, having taught it for several years. They know firsthand how great it works.

“It builds that foundation for kids to love science. They look forward to mySci,” Mathis-Johnson said.

Both are excited to formalize the teacher leadership roles they’ve already had in their district.

Participants of the mySci Leader Certification Program will have quarterly follow-ups.

August 2018 | by, Myra Lopez

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