Partner Feature – Catholic University of America

Professor Otto Wilson (far right) of the Catholic University of America engages in a professional development seminar with K-12 science teachers, facilitated by Center for Inspired Teaching.

November 7, 2016

Starting in school year 2016-2017, Center for Inspired Teaching is working in partnership with the Catholic University of America (CUA) and public charter schools in the District of Columbia via the Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) program. The US Department of Education designed this highly competitive grant program, which offers “intensive, content-rich professional development to teachers and other educators, with the goal of improving classroom instruction and, ultimately, student achievement in math and science.” Our project builds off the successes of SCALE, which Inspired Teaching ran in partnership with DC Public Schools in order to improve instruction district-wide.

Our partnership leverages the unique strengths of Inspired Teaching and the Catholic University of America, as we work closely with educators in high-needs schools. Inspired Teaching’s professional development engages teachers in the same way they, in turn, will engage their students: building their capacity for critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-reflection. Teachers’ efforts to shift their classroom practice are further strengthened by a deep connection to research and theory. They draw on the expertise of CUA Professors Otto Wilson, John Philips, and Angela McRae, who specialize, respectively, in biomedical engineering, physics, and education.

Together, these professors have developed a professional development design project called PIQUED Curiosity. Their work is highly aligned with Center for Inspired Teaching’s inquiry-based approach to professional development, which is 100% engaging – intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Professor Otto Wilson explains, “This MSP grant collaboration will help us to make a wonderful contribution to developing three-dimensional professional development to accompany the three-dimensional learning that is at the heart of the Next Generation Science Standards.”

We are proud to partner with the Catholic University of America. The goals of the institution, through teaching and scholarship, are “to discover, preserve, and impart the truth in all its forms in an environment of academic freedom and inquiry.” They serve the broader DC community by translating their scholarly expertise into concrete resources, including those that meet the needs of K-12 STEM education in local schools.

The need for powerful K-12 STEM education is great. To be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century, students must grapple with STEM concepts as scientists and engineers do. They must engage in authentic experimentation and research. Through our partnership with the Catholic University of America, we are excited to transform instruction across the district, now and in the future. Professor Wilson expressed, “We would like to continue to partner with Center for Inspired Teaching in developing a DC-based, high-performance team that will work together to achieve great things in inspiring our teachers and students in the DC region to higher levels of achievement in STEM education.”

A website for Propagating Inspiring Questions to Uncover Excellence in Education by Design (PIQUED) Curiosity is in development. Until then, explore the website of the Catholic University of America and follow news from the CUA School of Engineering and School of Arts and Sciences to learn about their innovative collaboration. To learn more about Inspired Teaching’s science work, explore our website and watch a video profile of SCALE: Science Curriculum Advancement through Literacy Enhancement.

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