Teacher Professional Development

Teachers spreading newspaper and plastic over lawn

Teachers learn how to prepare their schoolyards for planting during the Sustainable Schoolyards workshop
Photo by Leslie Memula

Professional development at the Litzsinger Road Ecology Center is part of our ongoing partnership with teachers. Summer workshops are a great place to start or renew that collaboration, providing a space to reflect on practice, build new skills, and design innovative learning experiences. After the workshop, support continues through the school year as you link field experiences at LREC with work on your school grounds and in the classroom. Throughout, our education staff members—each a former teacher—serve as guides and mentors to you.

This summer we’re supporting three major professional development programs:

Effective Outdoor Learning 
NOTE: Both sessions of this workshop are now FULL
Session I: June 25–27, 2014; 9 a.m.–4 p.m. or
Session II: July 28–30, 2014; 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Participating teachers discover the learning opportunities in their own schoolyards and communities as they begin a yearlong partnership with Litzsinger Road Ecology Center. During this 3-day introduction to place-based education, teachers become acquainted with outdoor learning and the unique opportunities it presents for students to achieve curricular goals in science and across the curriculum. Participants are introduced to Discover Nature Schools, an outdoor curriculum published by Missouri Department of Conservation and become eligible to receive funding for outdoor learning equipment. LREC will provide instructional and technical support through the next school year.

Sustainable Schoolyards
June 9–13, 2014; 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Building on the principles of place-based education, participants in this advanced 5-day workshop are introduced to methods for investigating the history and ecology of your school and for enhancing the schoolyard as a habitat. Over the course of the week, teachers develop a plan for how they will work with their students to design, implement, and maintain native spaces on their school grounds. Earth Partnership for Schools is used as a model. This workshop is open to teams of at least two teachers from schools who have had a prior partnership with Litzsinger Road Ecology Center.

Games, Models, and Simulations: New Tools for Student Engagement
July 21–25, 2014; 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Spend a week with colleagues learning how to leverage the power of of MIT’s free, kid-friendly StarLogo Nova tools. We’ll spend time designing games, models, and simulations, and look at how you can use these tools to help kids meet the modeling emphasis in the Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards. We’ll also share our experiences supporting kids as designers. Where you go over the course of the week and beyond is up to you: Whether you are modeling ecosystem dynamics, disease transmission, or traffic patterns, the underlying tools and approaches are the same. Participants will have ongoing support during the school year as you build modeling into your curriculum. Designed for teachers grade 4 and up.

Register online.


The Missouri Botanical Garden offers additional teacher professional development opportunities. Learn more.