Broad and Sustained Reach Across California
In 2016, California restored funding in the state budget for the Exploratorium’s work with science leaders statewide. This renewed role positioned the Exploratorium to leverage its unique assets to support California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS) implementation across the state. Over the past four years, we have developed a K–12 Science Leader Network supporting over 800 leaders across California, with 85% of leaders working with Title I schools. These leaders then work with over 80,000 classroom teachers in their home districts to provide millions of California students with standards-aligned, phenomena-based science education.
Professional learning in the K–12 Science Leader Network is focused on leaders actively learning through inquiry-rich activities. It begins with a multi-day core institute, followed by a series of virtual workshops, membership in online communities, and access to high-quality teaching resources.
High-Quality Professional Learning
Participants in the Exploratorium’s K–12 Science Leader Network:
Engage as learners. Develop deeper science content understanding by learning in the ways in which they are being asked to teach.
Focus on phenomena. Investigate hands-on phenomena using the practices scientists use, to make science come alive in the classroom.
Connect to standards. Deepen understanding of the NGSS and make subtle shifts to incorporate science standards into current teaching materials.
Access teacher-tested resources. Gain access to a wealth of teacher-tested science resources—activities, facilitator guides, articles, videos, and more.
Stay connected. Join an online community listserv and topic-based community-of-practice groups.
Share expertise. Participate in sustained and ongoing professional learning, training, and collaboration to rely on throughout their careers.
“Nothing has created as much value as actually knowing what ‘teaching along NGSS standards’ looks like. I haven’t got as much value out of anything outside the Exploratorium. Nothing’s come close. It’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back.”
Eric Cross, 7th Grade Science/Technology Teacher and Grade Level Lead
San Diego, CA
“I feel so fortunate to have found a professional home at the Exploratorium that has supported me throughout every stage of my career.”
Daisy Yeung, Instructional Coach, Sequoia Union High School District
Redwood City, CA
“Because NGSS and Common Core mathematics are all about student-centered sense-making, what better group to get involved with in the world, really [than the Exploratorium], as they are experts in student-centered inquiry.”
Kirk Brown, Director of STEM, San Joaquin County Office of Education
Read case studies of science leaders across California: Impact and Leader Profiles (PDF)
Based on an external evaluation by Inverness Research Inc., the Exploratorium’s K–12 Science Leader Network and professional learning programs consistently earn high ratings for quality, value, improved leadership capacities, and achieving equity in the science classroom.
98% of respondents said Exploratorium leadership institutes are high in quality.
97% of respondents said the Exploratorium leadership network has made them a better provider of professional development.
90% responded that the Exploratorium's professional learning programs encourage educators to consider equity in a more targeted way than other professional learning programs.
Download the External Evaluation Summary Findings (PDF)
New cohorts are added to the K–12 Science Leader Network a few times per year.