Science at OC’s renowned work as a non-profit supporting teachers of all schools and grades across Orange County had built-in PBL training challenges: given the diversity of the audience, a “one size fits all” PBL training just wouldn’t work. How could they achieve customized PBL training for such a wide audience of educators, leveraging the organization’s wealth of local science and STEM connections AND capturing the results in a way that would impress future funders – all on a nonprofit budget?!
CraftED’s custom approach to training the organization’s teachers began with adapting introductory PBL trainings to include the District’s curriculum while aligning with itsProfessional Learning Community (PLC) planning structure. We co-designed ‘Project Slice’ experiences to incorporate local STEM experts as resources for project plans. Along the way, we also periodically surveyed teachers, adjusting plans accordingly to meet their expressed needs. Teachers were heavily consulted as we established PD structures and agendas for onsite workshops, and they were further supported with Trainer time between the meetings. To track our work (for funders and others), we established a resource library of projects, also developing a “Train the Trainer” model of professional development that would help them sustain their PBL implementation efforts. Finally, we designed various assessments to measure the effectiveness of the PD and PBL implementation, to gather concrete data for the Board, donors, and future grant applications.
The greatest achievement is always in seeing the transformation of teachers; educators were so satisfied with CraftED’s work that we were hired back several times to continue their professional development. Their confidence and enthusiasm for PBL was firmly established, and they were grateful to have received a personalized, responsive Professional Development experience designed around their actual, expressed needs. Science at OC was also able to provide their Board and others with the necessary information and evidence of its successful PBL work, to continue soliciting their strong support for the organization’s work.