The Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) has been selected to participate in the Pennsylvania Science Education Leaders (PennSEL) Network. The network is a cohort of leadership teams representing 19 regions across Pennsylvania with the goal of improving science teaching and learning for all students. The multi-year effort was launched by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and NextGenScience in June 2021.
The PennSEL Network is part of a larger strategy to strengthen STEM education by investing in and increasing access to STEM learning experiences for educators and students. In September 2019, the State Board of Education charged PDE to begin the process of updating Pennsylvania’s science, technology, environment, ecology, and engineering standards for the first time in approximately 20 years. The PennSEL Network will support science network teams in leading the transition of these new standards in their communities.
Lynmarie Hilt, STEM program administrator for the BCIU, shares, “We are grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside so many educators passionate about science education in Pennsylvania. Participation in the PennSEL Network will support the work of science leaders in Berks County as we collaborate to strengthen and enhance science learning for all students, while skillfully integrating the forthcoming revised science standards.”
Individuals from the BCIU, Berks County schools, and community organizations will work with a team of over 120 intermediate unit, community, and school-based science leaders to build a common strategy for improving local systems of science teaching and learning. The program will provide new opportunities for educators and leaders to reflect on practices, share their best ideas, and collectively problem-solve between organizations and across regions. Regional demonstration sites will be used to generate tools, resources, and processes that can be shared with school leaders and educators across the state to spotlight innovations that are improving science teaching and learning.
“When educators from the school, district, regional, and state level work together toward a common vision for science education, it makes a huge difference in creating meaningful and inclusive science experiences for students,” said Vanessa Wolbrink, associate director of NextGenScience. “Given events of the past year, it’s more important than ever that all students are empowered to think of science as something that helps them address issues that affect their lives and communities.”