Few LTER sites have an education budget that can accommodate funding for teacher stipends or graduate course credits, making it especially challenging to recruit and retain educators.

A 2018 discussion on the Education and Outreach listserv offers several ideas for new sites working to establish new relationships or existing sites looking to build programs. Many of the solutions involve creating productive and lasting relationships with teacher leaders and school administrators who will advocate and help recruit other educators.

School District Partnerships:

  • Many schools and districts are looking for professional development opportunities for their teachers. A school or district may also offer to pay for substitutes for attending teachers. This counts as an on-contract workday and the teachers will be paid for their time.
  • School building administrators
    • Offer NGSS-related professional development on their in-service day.
  • District administrators
    • Offer NGSS-related professional development on their in-service day.

Teacher Leader Partnerships:

  • Identify teachers who frequent your activities. You can develop them as leaders and then have them run or co-lead the workshops with you. Teachers have a lot more respect for workshops that are run by their colleagues.
  • Well chosen teacher leaders will be excellent advocates for your program activities
  • Develop a cadre of teacher leaders by hooking them with the better-funded programs. They will come back for less well-funded programs and maybe bring colleagues.
  • Put together  together an advisory team of teachers to help with your program. Without stipends offer food. When they see their ideas implemented they will be more likely to participate and advocate

Informal Education Partnerships

Look to see which other organizations, such as museums, are having success reaching teachers and then offer a joint program with them to take advantage of their network of teachers.

University Partnerships:

  • Special Topics courses are less expensive than undergraduate or graduate course credits. Work with the Education Department or other relevant division within the University for help in creating a syllabus that will be accepted as a special topic.
  • Offer scientists or graduate students visits as a professional resource to teacher classrooms. Faculty receive service credit, graduate students receive teaching experience.

Community Outreach:

Develop a pilot program and offer to help students participate in the program at one of your Schoolyard teachers’ schools. Once teachers see quality programs in action, word spreads very quickly.

Additional Funding

  • Use LTER funding for salary and search for additional Federal, State and local funding opportunities to pay for stipends, supplies, teacher travel, etc.
  • Talk to local groups that offer science education programs and ask them for what works and ask them for suggestions for teachers that would be interested in your SLTER programs.