Professional Development with the PAST Foundation is a collaborative process that helps transform school culture though a trans-disciplinary problem based learning approach. We work intensively with teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders to design and create curriculum that is unique and relevant to your community and school needs. Our work pivots around helping teachers and teams create projects real world problems, a unique process which designs with your needs in mind, and building strong partnerships with in the community.
Problem Based Learning
The PAST model is committed to transforming education through having schools, teachers, and students investigate real world problems. The problems of the world are in constant flux but the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to successfully solve these ever-changing problems, remain the same. And, thus we work intensively with teams to truly examine practices in which we create teaching and learning structures which value a process that students can tackle rich questions and problems they may encounter.
Design Cycle and Habits
The problem based learning methodology pivots around a clear process and structure that allows teachers, students, and teams to explore their content. The first piece of this process uses the tried and true design principles of scientific methods as a vehicle while bringing many disciplines to bear on questions to help link learning to life. The second piece of this puzzle is geared towards designing habits of mind that will become a critical element in transforming school culture to create learning centers for all 21st century learners.
Transdisciplinary Teaching and Learning
Once the design principles and habits are in place, problem based learning thrives in programs that value a trans-disciplinary approach to teaching and learning. The PAST team works to help schools and programs de-silo content areas and approach education through a more holistic method. Through problem based learning, each content area can bring their individual unique spin to examining real world problems with students.
Linking Learning to Life
PAST works with educators to “break down” the traditional walls of the school building. By exploring real world problems that are current and fresh in nature the problem based learning process immediately takes students out of text book learning to real world engagement. Whether projects investigate energy needs of a community or building urban gardens, the PAST model actively works with teachers to have students work and learn within the community.
The PAST team takes you through the entire design process to create learning content based upon relevant real world problems that speak to your students and community. Helping teachers, schools and communities build programs that transform educational systems into 21st century learning centers is essential to moving education forward.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are 21st century skills pivotal for student success. Combining a trans-disciplinary approach with STEM design principles enables PAST to partner with teachers, schools, communities and industries to build programs that are engaging and sustainable. The PAST team supports unique curriculum development from the brainstorming phase to implementation through intensive and continuous professional development.
Intensive Professional Development
PAST professional development guides P-16 educators through a replicable process in building trans-disciplinary, problem-based learning programs that are engaging yet rigorous, exciting and relevant. Teachers and administrators dive into creating rigorous projects that align with standards and place students at the center of learning. Additional topics covered during intensive professional development days are constantly changing to meet current needs.
Continued Professional Development Support
Throughout the school year, the PAST team continues to partner with schools to offer support with curriculum development and project management. The PAST team provides on going support based upon the needs of each school.
Building Internal Sustainable Capacity
In-house STEM Coordinators play an essential role in transforming and sustaining the shift to problem based learning. STEM Coordinators meet regularly to discuss current issues and look into the future. They work closely with administrators to support fellow teachers, address current problems and opportunities and identify focus areas for professional development. STEM Coordinators also develop and maintain community partners and model good practices.
Partners are essential to project based STEM learning. Community, industry and business partners can help educators and students develop robust projects through a holistic approach. Community partnerships provide an authentic lens to enhance student learning. Community partners can provide various levels of support, from sharing information with teachers and students to donating and procuring materials.
Engaging Community Involvement
Reaching out into the community enhances students’ learning experience by providing an authentic audience (wording ? or authentic platform for engagement). Students become part of the process of shaping the future and participant in civic discourse within the community. In turn, community members and families are invited to be part of the learning process. Family and community members take part in school events, offer expertise or lend a helping hand.
Service learning projects match community needs with student interest making a collective impact and linking learning to life. Experiential education fosters authentic learning opportunities and allows students to develop skills needed to address global issues on a local scale. Service learning transcends the walls of schools and connects student learning to real world issues. Subsequently, students can make valuable contributions to the local community.
Inviting Experts into Our Schools
Connecting with experts in the field enriches content area by providing expertise and creative approaches for specific projects. Educators and students can brainstorm and consult with experts to identify problems, garner background information and form solutions. Engaging with experts in the field fosters a cooperative community environment and provides students with an authentic audience.