Mi-STAR is not just a curriculum: it is also a professional learning pathway and a community designed to support you in implementing Mi-STAR and MSS in your middle school classroom.
Teacher Pathway Overview
Mi-STAR recognizes that teachers need time and support in learning to implement an NGSS-aligned curriculum. Where and how that occurs may be unique to each teacher or school.
In response, we train local teacher leaders to provide professional learning in their communities. We also offer a variety of virtual learning experiences, both synchronously and asynchronously, giving teachers voice and choice in how they learn.
Regardless of how it’s delivered, we have structured our professional learning pathway through a series of phases:
The Next Generation Science Standards represent a paradigm shift in science education. Prior professional learning experience with the NGSS and Three Dimensional Learning such as the online asynchronous Canvas course Mi-STAR Academy: Introduction to NGSS, the face-to-face NGSX program, or similar experience is strongly recommended.
Access to Mi-STAR Academy: Introduction to NGSS is included as an option with every teacher’s subscription.
Phase 1: Introduction to the Mi-STAR Curriculum
Introduction to the Mi-STAR Curriculum - Canvas Course
PLF and TL trainees complete an online asynchronous Canvas course. This course provides an introduction to the structure of the Mi-STAR curriculum and resources to support teachers to engage students in 3D learning. This course takes about six hours to complete.
Introduction to the Mi-STAR Curriculum - PLC Meetings
Teachers also participate in a one-hour orientation followed by three two-hour sessions conducted by Mi-STAR staff. Alternatively, a local Mi-STAR Professional Learning Facilitator may provide six hours of training, structured as needed. These sessions can be held virtually or face-to-face and will be held at regular intervals as teachers complete their Canvas course.
Topics of the PLCs are:
- Mi-STAR Unit Structure
- Mi-STAR Lesson Structure
- Mi-STAR Assessment Opportunities and Applications
Upon completion of both platforms for Phase 1, teachers will be prepared to teach Unit 6.1 and will be able to request access to other Mi-STAR units.
Phase 2: Building Your Mi-STAR Toolkit
Unit Primers to Prepare for Specific Units
While teachers are introduced to the general structure and pedagogy of Mi-STAR units and lessons in Phase 1, each unit has unique content and activities. To prepare, new teachers complete online asynchronous “Unit Primer” courses in Canvas for the first two Mi-STAR units they teach. Unit primers take approximately two hours to complete.
After the first two units, teachers are invited, but not required, to complete unit primers.
Build Your Toolkit Series
Designed to support teachers new to Mi-STAR during their first year of teaching, the Toolkit courses in Phase 2 focus on key NGSS pedagogy and skills, the whats, the whys, and most importantly, the hows of classroom implementation.
Build Your Toolkit sessions may be offered by a local Professional Learning Facilitator, and are also offered synchronously and asynchronously by Mi-STAR staff.
Teachers select three of the five topics, in any combination of platforms, to complete a total of six hours of professional learning by the end of their first year. While designed to meet the needs of new Mi-STAR teachers, we encourage any and all interested teachers to use Phase 2 courses to build pedagogical skills.
Phase 2 Build Your Toolkit topics:
- The Unit Bubble Map
- System Models
- Productive Talk
- Claim, Evidence, Reasoning
- 3D Assessment
Phase 3: Expanding Your Craft
Continued Professional Learning and Support
Teachers continue to receive support through their Mi-STAR Professional Learning Facilitator or Mi-STAR Teacher Leader, the Mi-STAR Curriculum Helpline, and community forums. As teachers implement Mi-STAR in the classroom, regular PLC meetings led by their Mi-STAR PLF are recommended.
Teachers are also encouraged to attend the monthly virtual Mi-STAR Learning Series sessions, virtual collaborative office hours, and to participate in Phase 2 Build Your Toolkit opportunities.