100Kin10 Project Team: Partnering with Schools to Nurture Positive Work Environment (2019)

Many districts and schools partner with external, capacity-building organizations (CBOs) to provide professional learning and development opportunities to STEM teachers. However, the benefit that teachers get from these opportunities is often diminished when they take place inside of schools that do not prioritize positive work environments (not just physical space, but mindset, etc.) for teachers. 100Kin10’s report, Teachers at Work, includes a comprehensive synthesis of existing descriptions of positive work environments for teachers. Our Project Team chose to highlight a subset of qualities from the report we considered to be most essential for a school or district to engage productively with an external CBO on professional learning for STEM teachers.

We believe that the most important condition that makes a successful partnership between a school or district and a CBO possible is the presence of collaboration that impacts student learning. We have developed an Asset Inventory Survey and Interview Protocol focusing on the following domains:

- Expertise in the system
- Learning mindset in the adults and inclusive of all students
- Cultural norms that value teachers as professionals
- Organizational structures, routines, and processes that enable collaborative work

We believe building on assets in all of these areas will increase the likelihood that a partnership with a school or district will have a sustained impact on teacher learning, and by extension student learning. A CBO can use these tools at the beginning of a partnership to identify existing assets and tailor its support to build on these assets, growing each of the four factors as needed.

If you would like to contact the team, please reach out to: Toni Stith (STEM Professional Development Manager at Carnegie Science Center).

This project addresses the work environment catalysts, a 100Kin10 priority area. Learn more here