What is the Mandell Academy?

Post Author: Lindsey Sullivan & Holly Hollander
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Whether you are an educator, parent, or member of the community, most people know that the Connecticut Science Center is a premier destination for student field trips (in 2018 we served more than 30,000 K-12 students on field trips!). Educators bring their students here to support classroom learning and create rewarding experiences with tools that bring textbooks to life and align with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards).  

What you may not know about is the important work that we are doing behind the scenes with educators and schools through the Connecticut Science Center’s Mandell Academy for Teachers. Our passion at the Mandell Academy is to help educators make sense of science education in order to have a positive impact on student achievement. For those of you that may not be familiar with the work that we do,  here’s an overview of who we are and an introduction to some of our offerings. We hope this helps to explain a little more about us and cannot wait to share more through this blog. 

WHO WE ARE: The Connecticut Science Center is known for its dedication to science and helping to foster a lifelong love of STEM. Therefore, it makes sense to have a division that supports science education and, more specifically, teachers.  Even before the Science Center was built, staff were conducting workshops to help teachers bring science into their classrooms. In 2013 the work of helping teachers was formalized when we were named The Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Academy for Teachers. Over the past ten years, we have had the privilege of working with thousands of teachers and administrators throughout the state. In fact, in 2018 alone, the Mandell Academy for Teachers has supported 1,654 educators across 90 districts to help make sense of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and other best practices for the K-12 classroom.

WHAT WE DO: The Professional Learning Specialists at the Mandell Academy are a passionate group of individuals that have worked to develop a robust collection of offerings from uncovering what the three dimensions of NGSS are, to helping to develop NGSS assessments with many more in between. Workshops like these, coupled with our small group coaching work, can help educators to ensure coherence between learning and classroom instruction. This will allow participants to rethink not only about what they offer students but, more importantly, how they present their science instruction to their students. The ultimate goal being an increase in student engagement and content comprehension. Our passion is supporting educators to make sense of the NGSS.  Another way we help educators of Connecticut is by collecting resources to help with teaching and learning. Take a look at https://ctsciencecenter.org/education/resources/ . We spend the time not only choosing our favorite resources, but also adding a bit of why and how we use them. We know there is never enough time in the day, so we try to make it a little easier for you.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: In November of 2015, The Connecticut State Department of Education unanimously voted to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. With that, they laid out a five year plan for schools to implement the standards, with the state assessment being given across school districts this past spring. Results for the test will be forthcoming and our goal is to help schools feel confident that their educators are prepared to offer a rigorous, NGSS aligned year of science coursework. The NGSS Framework is based off of best practice for how people learn science, grounding content in skills and real world application. We firmly believe in the vision of the NGSS framework and we are excited to continue on this journey with you. 

UPCOMING OFFERINGS:  Did something we mentioned spark interest? Consider joining us for one of our upcoming retail offerings. 

  • Practices of NGSS K-5 at Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School
    • Tuesday, August 13, 2019 – Thursday August 15, 2019 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Introduction to 3-D Learning, Part ONE at the Connecticut Science Center
    • Monday, August 12, 2019 – Friday August 16, 2019 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Introduction to 3-D Learning, Part TWO at the Connecticut Science Center
    • Monday, August 19, 2019 – Wednesday, August 21, 2019 from 8:00 am to 4:00 PM
  • NGSS Assessment Workshop at the Connecticut Science Center
    • Tuesday, August 20, 2019 from 8:30 am to 3:30 PM
  • Providing Evidence-Based Feedback to Effectively Support NGSS Instruction at the Connecticut Science Center
    • Thursday, August 22, 2019 from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm
  • Making Sense of NGSS at the Connecticut Science Center
    • Tuesday, September 24, 2019 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • PLANS: Principals Learn About, Network, and Support Three-Dimensional Science Learning at Norwalk Public Schools Central Office
    • Tuesday, September 24, 2019 – Wednesday, September 25, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 pm and 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

HOW TO REACH US: If you’re interested in seeing what else we have to offer for workshops and professional learning, check out our website at https://ctsciencecenter.org/education/mandell/ or feel free to contact us directly if you do not see something that you are looking for. You can send us an email at MandellAcademy@ctsciencecenter.org and keep checking back for more offerings and resources. We cannot wait to work with you.

 

Lindsey Sullivan is a Professional Learning Specialist at the Connecticut Science Center’s Mandell Academy for Teachers. Before joining the Mandell Academy, Lindsey was a high school science teacher. Currently, Lindsey supports educators as they make sense of NGSS through her facilitation of workshops offered by the Mandell Academy as well as providing coaching support in schools.

 

 

 

Holly Hollander serves as the Director of the Mandell Academy for Teachers. Prior to joining the Connecticut Science Center, Holly worked both in the public school setting as well as in Higher Education bringing with her a great deal of expertise in teaching and learning.