Leadership Development

BSCS professional development helps schools and districts develop professional learning communities as the cornerstone of sustainable school program improvement. Leadership for school improvement is a shared process that includes understanding adult learning, accommodating the challenges of change, building relationships, and facilitating groups.

BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL)

The BSCS National Academy for Curriculum Leadership (NACL) is a three-year PD program designed to assist schools and districts in building the capacity to improve their secondary school science education program. The NACL is based on the core belief that when reform-oriented instructional materials are implemented in conjunction with an ongoing PD program created to transform teachers' thinking and promote collaboration, the combination can contribute to building both a professional learning community in schools and improving student achievement.

Beginning in the summer of 2007, BSCS and Washington State LASER partnered to support a second cohort of NACL teams and to assess the impact of the program. Selected findings from the research and evaluation of the program include the following:

At the beginning of the NACL, leaders of the leadership teams had a greater sense of organizational support than other members of the teams. By the end of the third year, members of teams had largely reached the same level of confidence in their home setting's organizational support. In addition, they reported that the NACL had contributed to enhancing organizational support. Increases were statistically and practically significant.

Participants in the NACL indicated they were likely to implement many of the strategies and tools presented in the academy. Participants reported the most valuable resources for curriculum leadership were the Analyzing Instructional Materials (AIM) Process and Tools and Data-Driven Dialogue. The most common report of least valuable aspects of the program was “nothing—everything was valuable.”

All teams completed a long-term plan for PD. The sophistication of the plans increased over the course of their participation in the NACL showing greater alignment among vision, goals, and plans as well as a greater use of decisions based on evidence from a variety of sources including teacher implementation data.

The use of reform-oriented instructional practices increased over the course of teachers’ participation in the NACL. The results are promising; however, the number of observations does not allow for a claim of statistical significance. Combined with findings from another study, teachers from districts who participated in the NACL and implemented reform-oriented instructional materials did improve their teaching practices based on an effect size of .87.

For more information, contact BSCS Science Educator Jody Bintz.


Professional Development at The Dalton School

BSCS is continuing to work with science faculty at The Dalton School in New York City to support the development of leadership capacity and ongoing improvements in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

One important aspect of the professional development program this year is to conduct a focused assessment of the current state of Dalton’s science program through the collection of data from a variety of sources including classroom observations, self-reflection and survey, and document analysis.

In addition, we have started working with the K-12 science department of the Riverdale Country School in Bronx, New York. Their goal is to enhance the coherence and articulation of their K-12 science curriculum, instruction, and assessment as well as to support the development of capacity within the department to lead ongoing improvement efforts.

BSCS Science Educators Jody Bintz, Brooke Bourdelat-Parks, and Paul Numedahl have all participated in this work over time.

Enhancing the Urban Advantage Program in New York City

The goal of the UA program is to support and improve science teaching and learning through collaborations between urban public school systems and other science institutions. BSCS is supporting the enhancement of the Urban Advantage (UA) Program in New York City through a multi-year program that combines leadership development and developing professional development providers.

Goals include:

  • understanding leadership knowledge bases that inform program design and planning;    understanding the role of the science-rich cultural environments and their resources to support coherent and effective science curriculum in middle schools;
  • developing instructional strategies and approaches to assessment that support student learning; and
  • expanding capacity to sustain improvement efforts through the formation of a leadership team that seeds the development of a school-based professional learning community.

For more information, contact BSCS Science Educator Jody Bintz.