Science teachers from across Michigan can now enroll in an updated version of the online Michigan Science Teaching and Assessment Reform (Mi-STAR) Academy.
The academy is a self-paced, online course that helps teachers deepen their understanding of the new Michigan Science Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Modules address topics such as the structure of the standards; understanding science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas; engineering in K-12 science classrooms; and how the standards can be applied to curriculum and assessments.
Mi-STAR Academy will be provided free to approximately 1,200 teachers participating in the five-day Next Generation Science Exemplar (NGSX) professional development series, which is being funded by the SMILE program. Science, Math Integrating Literacy and Engineering (SMILE) is a project of the Michigan Mathematics and Science Center Network, funded by a Mathematics and Science Partnership through the Michigan Department of Education.
The five-day NGSX sessions combine face-to-face work in a study group format and a web-based environment. Participants receive training in the NGSS and gain the skills to help other teachers implement the standards in their classrooms. Teachers also receive credit toward professional recertification.
"We needed professional development to get teachers up to speed in the NGSS, and the Mi-STAR Academy was a good fit," said Shawn Oppliger, director of the Western U.P. Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education, one of 33 centers offering the NGSX workshops.
Mi-STAR Academy format allows teachers to pick and choose what parts to cover, based on their prior knowledge of the NGSS. The usual $25 fee will be waived for those participating in the NGSX sessions.
"We're excited that the Mi-STAR Academy has been chosen to be part of SMILE," said Brenda Bergman, Mi-STAR director of operations. "Teachers who participated in the Academy through Mi-STAR gave us great feedback, which inspired us to develop this version for all Michigan teachers." Mi-STAR is developing an NGSS-aligned curriculum for the middle grades.
To participate in NGSX Workshops, Michigan science teachers should contact their local Math and Science Center. Web links to local Math and Science Centers can be found on the Michigan Math and Science Center Network website. To register for Mi-STAR Academy, see the application form here. For more information on Mi-STAR Academy, contact Marianne Semones at firstname.lastname@example.org.