The third year of the Place Learning and Civic Engage (PLACE) program kicked off during the last week of June and continued through July with workshops in Jackson Hole, Cheyenne, Laramie, Saratoga, and Casper, WY. The PLACE program is a partnership between the University of Wyoming’s Science and Mathematics Teaching Center, Teton Science Schools, and four Wyoming school districts – Natrona County, Laramie County, Albany County and Carbon County #2. PLACE is funded by the Wyoming Department of Education through the Math-Science Partnership program.
The year-long workshop series began in Jackson Hole with a seven-day workshop at the Kelly Campus. Twenty elementary school teachers from the four Wyoming school districts came to Teton Science Schools to participate in training on place-based education with a content focus on weather and climate. Teachers also differentiated in groups based on the number of years they have been part of the PLACE program. Nine teachers are returning for the 3rd year and are learning more about leadership; four teachers are in their 2nd year and will complete action research projects focused on PLACE principles and the Next Generation Science Standards; and seven first year teachers will design place-based, science units for their own classrooms.
In July, each of the twenty teachers also participates in a four-day workshop in their own communities. These workshops are designed and led by the PLACE Leadership Teachers – who have been part of PLACE for all 3 years. The power of having peer teachers lead the on-site workshops is impressive. The new teachers and teachers who are part of PLACE for their 2nd year have a great deal of respect for the Leadership Teachers and learn a lot from hearing about the experiences of other teachers.