E-Mentoring for Students Success (eMSS)

eMSS is an online mentoring program for science and mathematics teachers. eMSS started as a partnership comprised of NSTA, the Science Math Resource Center and the Burns Telecommunications Center at Montana State University, the NSF Center for Learning and Teaching in the West, the New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a number of school districts in Montana and California. The primary goal of eMSS is to develop a national online, content-rich, mentoring system to improve the skills of, and provide support for novice middle and high school science teachers.  eMSS  develops an online network of mentor teachers, science and math educators, and scientists and mathematicians who support beginning teachers in their efforts to provide high quality instruction to their students. Joining California and Montana, eMSS gradually incorporated other states reaching up to 16 states in the nation. eMSS was funded by National Science Foundation and currently is self-supported by user districts and administrated by the New Teacher Center.


Integrating Environmental Education Throughout the Curriculum (IEETC) - Concluded

Dream Catcher SculptureIEETC is a professional development program focused on increasing G2-8 teachers' abilities to integrate local environmental and indigenous topics into science content teaching. The program is delivered in two tribal communities, Salish Kootenai and Crow, and is centered on STEM topics. IEETC combines tribal members' presentations and panel discussions of local environmental issues, on-site workshops about inquiry-based activities, and online discussions allowing teachers to share teaching approaches and lesson ideas. The training is provided in collaboration with faculty of Montana State University, Little Big Horn College, and Salish Kootenai College. Teachers that participate in IEETC learn about the environmental issues facing their students' communities from scientific and tribal-historical perspectives. IEETC impacts about 20 teachers and 400 students. IEETC is funded by the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, Educational Talent Search program.


Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) - Concluded

Sculpture of a statueBSSP focuses on the design and implementation of science teachers' professional development in American Indian reservations in Montana. BSSP is comprised of partners from five tribal communities, three institutions of higher education, and forty-five K-8 schools on and around the Flathead, Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. The goals of this multi-year project are: 1) to increase teachers' science content knowledge, 2) to improve science instructional practices and culturally congruent teaching, 3) to improve students' science achievement, and 4) to form a cadre of teacher leaders that will assist other teachers in their own community. BSSP professional development is implemented in three content areas: Earth Science; Astronomy and Weather and Climate; and Physics. All instruction in these areas are framed by culturally responsive teaching approaches. The professional development is delivered face-to-face and online, such that teachers attend monthly face-to-face workshops and participate in online semester-long courses that deepen the face-to-face topics and facilitate the formation of a teacher's learning community; attend a two-week summer institute focused on the integration of science, pedagogy, and culture; and participate in a summer cultural camp experiencing tribal American Indian culture. Being in its last year, BSSP impacted about 100 teachers plus 15 American Indian pre-service teachers, and 2000 students in grades K-8. Approximately 60% of these students are American Indians living on Montana's American Indian reservations. BSSP is funded by the Mathematics and Science Partnership program of the National Science Foundation. More information

Science Inquiry Learning in the Classroom (SILC) - Concluded

Photo from a SILC classroomSILC was a professional development program for K-6 teachers of urban and rural school districts in Montana, aiming to increase teachers' science content knowledge, to promote inquiry-based teaching, and to facilitate classroom implementation of the resources identified by Montana Office of Public Instruction Indian Education For All (IEFA) program. In partnership with the Montana Learning Center, Montana State University, Montana Regional Education Services Area IV, and Helena and Bozeman school districts, SILC delivered a blended model professional development including: face-to-face monthly inquiry academies, teachers' webinars, online coursework, scientists classroom virtual visits, and instructional coaching. The inquiry academies, webinars, and online coursework addressed the Montana Standards for Life Science and Physical Science, and inquiry-based pedagogical practices. Instructional coaching involved working on an individual basis with each teacher at least once a month encouraging the use of age-appropriate content and inquiry. Classroom virtual visits facilitated scientist and student dialogs centered on the concept of energy. SILC impacted 60 teachers and approximately 1300 K-6 students. SILC was funded by the Mathematics and Science Partnership program of the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Center for Learning and Teaching in the West (CLTW) - Concluded

Photo of the CLTW The CLTW is a consortium of five universities: Portland State University, Montana State University, the University of Montana, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, in partnership with Ft. Belknap College (MT), other community and tribal colleges, the Portland Public Schools, and 68 rural and reservation schools in Montana and Colorado. This partnership arose from shared interests on improving teacher preparation; delivering high quality professional development; providing advanced degree programs in education; developing science and mathematics education research; exploring innovative delivery systems; and documenting experiences in systemic collaboration. Sixty-two graduate students (51 doctoral and 11 master students) completed their studies in the frame of CLTW. Research work supported by CLTW includes studies on: K-12 student achievement differences; cultural issues affecting student performance and participation; professional development to promote teacher knowledge, and community and capacity building; distance education; and access to and success in higher education. CLTW was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Systemic Teacher Education Preparation (STEP) - Concluded

STEP is a project for the improvement of STEM education of pre-service teachers in the state of Montana. Based at MSU, the STEP project has formed a collaborative partnership between the university system campuses, Montana's seven tribal colleges, and numerous K-12 field sites throughout the state. STEP redesigned mathematics, science, and methods courses for pre-service teachers, using model field sites as "living laboratories" for research on effective pre-service training. As a result of these initiatives, the number of minority students preparing to teach in STEM fields significantly increased, and a distance-based mentoring system for new teachers in a rural state was piloted. STEP was funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education program.