Quality professional development is crucial for the success of IQWST® because the program invites teachers to rethink previous practices, construct new expectations for student outcomes, and teach in ways they may not have taught before as classroom discourse and pushing student thinking take center stage.
IQWST professional development is fully customized to meet the needs of the district or school. The initial professional development is designed to support teachers by modeling lessons in order to demonstrate pacing, investigation procedures, and discussion of the sort that students will experience every day. Teachers engage in the experience of IQWST (its pedagogy and practices) as both a learner and a teacher as questioning strategies; literacy and vocabulary building strategies that include reading, writing, speaking, and listening; and use of embedded assessments all prepare teachers to implement lessons successfully. Active use of investigation materials during PD enables teachers to experience the phenomena first-hand, as well as to see how to organize and confidently create a classroom culture for optimal learning.
While the initial professional development is delivered in person in a one-day or two-day model, by Educational Resource Specialists who are content specialists and award-winning teachers, we also support a train-the-trainers model so that a district or school can build its capacity to maintain the program using its own qualified educators as teacher leaders.
MEET OUR IQWST PD TEAM
SCIENCE CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION SPECIALIST
Heather Milo is a former middle school science teacher with nearly 10 years of experience in both formal and informal science education spaces. She has worked in public and private middle school classrooms, serviced urban and rural school communities, and taught advanced science classes at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth summer program. Heather earned her Master of Science in Science Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, during which she mentored preservice teachers and researched practicing teachers in IQWST classrooms. Her research on teacher learning, and authentic and meaningful science pedagogy continues to drive her work at Activate Learning as the Professional Development Manager and Curriculum and Instruction Specialist.
Christine "Chris" Gleason
For 44 years, Chris taught high school and middle school science, and in June 2016, retired after 30 years at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, MI. Upon her retirement, the Greenhills Renewable Energy Display was formally renamed the Gleason Renewable Energy Display, “in appreciation for the countless hours Chris and Jim Gleason dedicated to its development to promote sustainability….” Throughout her career, Chris has been a frequent presenter and workshop leader at NSTA and other conferences, including as an invited participant in the International Energy Summit in Boston (2013) and as a participant selected for the Japan Teacher Exchange Program: Education for Sustainable Development (2010). Chris has also received several awards including a “Teacher of the Year award for Math/Science” from the University of Michigan chapter of Sigma Xi (2010), co-recipient of a Greenhills School “Teacher of the Year” award (2002), and a Vernier Technology Award (2014). Chris was one of the original pilot teachers during the development of IQWST, and is excited to share her passion for IQWST as part of the Activate Learning team!
Wendy Johnson has twenty-two years of experience teaching science to 6-9 grade students, focusing much of her time with 7th graders. Although she spent most of her time in science she started her career teaching student with behavioral disorders and learning disabilities and has taught math, social studies, and English Language Arts. For most of her career Wendy served as the science department chair and 7th grade team leader. She also lead the middle school science monthly professional development for her school district and has been nominated by her district for the Science Teacher of the Year for the state of Wisconsin on two occasions. Wendy enjoys working and collaborating with other teachers - both new and experienced - as she served as a district mentor and cooperating teacher. Wendy holds a MS in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and a MS in Teaching Geoscience.
Karin Klein, PhD
Karin Klein has been a middle school educator for 10 years, teaching in a private school outside Chicago. Prior to embarking on her career as a middle school teacher, Karin was on the research faculty in Northwestern University's Department of Preventive Medicine (starting 1995), and worked as a Senior Scientist and Project Manager at a successful biotech start-up company (starting 2001). Karin has been using the IQWST curriculum in her classroom since 2009. As a career scientist and as an educator, she is delighted to be able to help bring the IQWST teaching and learning model into more classrooms. In addition to her teaching degree, Karin holds a PhD in Microbiology/Immunology from Northwestern University.
Karen Mesmer, PhD
Dr. Karen Mesmer has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction-Science Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has 33 years of classroom experience. She has also been a science coach, working with implementing the Next Generation Science Standards in grades K-12 in the Baraboo School District in Wisconsin. As a National Science Teachers Association NGSS curator who evaluates resources, she has gained insight into the NGSS. She is the author of many articles for science teacher magazines, two book chapters and has presented at over 20 state and national science teacher conventions. Her awards include the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Education, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Kohl Fellowship and the Ohaus award for innovation in science education.
Marilyn Schmidt is an award-winning instructor with over 30 years of teaching experience in grades 6-12. She is Past President of the Colorado Biology Teachers Association, a recipient of Colorado’s Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, and recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Biology Teachers Association. Marilyn focuses on helping teachers to develop their students into learners who gather and analyze data,think critically, and build understanding. In addition to facilitating PD with teachers implementing IQWST and Active Science, Marilyn leads inquiry-based workshops and presentations at national and local conferences, including NSTA and NABT.
Diane Wright has been an educator for over 40 years. She has Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Education, and began her career teaching learning disabled and emotionally impaired middle school students. She then transitioned into teaching elementary and then middle school students in language arts and science. She was active in her school’s school improvement team, was a professional development facilitator in her districts, and was trained in cognitive coaching. In 2010, she was named district Teacher of the Year. During the summer, Diane has taught university graduate courses in collaborative learning and multiple intelligences.
iane believes in inspiring others to become critical thinkers, active learners, and engaged achievers. Her career has been, and continues to be, dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, character, and creativity through collaboration and inquiry.
Ellen Mintz began her career as an elementary school teacher in Charleston County South Carolina. As a classroom teacher, she saw science as an authentic means of integrating reading and math content and skills. She later earned National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist, and has served as an instructional coach for 15 years, providing professional development focusing on literacy integration, effective science instruction, and effective formative and summative assessment strategies in K-8 classrooms. She holds a master’s degree in Curriculum Design, and has also facilitated the construction and implementation of curriculum maps to ensure that instruction addressed the standards and performance indicators needed to provide effective standards-based instruction for students. Ellen has spent 20 years as a curriculum consultant in schools across the country, supporting K-8 classroom teachers in implementing science notebooks, effective science pedagogy, authentic curriculum integration, and assessment strategies. Ellen is a frequent presenter for K-8 science conferences, and typically presents to a packed room! She is Activate Learning’s lead elementary school professional development facilitator, but Ellen is also well versed in providing professional development for Activate Learning’s middle school programs.
Brian Klaft has taught middle school science for 27 years and continues to teach while also doing professional development work and conference workshops for Activate Learning. Brian has taught IQWST for 4 years, using the Interactive Digital Edition (IDE) in his 8th grade classroom. He currently teaches in the Indian Prairie District in Aurora, IL, and previously taught in Chicago Public Schools and in the South Berwyn District. Brian has served as part of Indian Prairie School District science curriculum team, working with other district science staff to align district curriculum to NGSS standards. For the past 2 years, Brian has served as an NSTA curator, where he specifically oversees curation of waves and electromagnetic radiation materials, at the middle school level, as a member of NSTA’s physics curator team. Brian is also the originator and manager of the IQWST Educators Facebook page, a project he developed to facilitate conversation and sharing of ideas among IQWST teachers across the country. Brian also writes a blog, which is available here: https://brianklaft.wordpress.com/
Joy Reynolds serves as the Senior Curriculum Specialist at Activate Learning. Joy was most recently a module contributor/reviewer for the newly released IQWST Integrated Edition. As a veteran teacher of 27 years in Detroit Public Schools, Joy was an IQWST pilot teacher and taught all the original units. While still working with the district, she was Director of the Mathematic and Science Center for Detroit Public Schools through the Michigan Mathematics and Science Network. As an Instructional Specialist, Joy worked with high needs/high priority schools, working directly with teachers to enact best practices in teaching and learning, writing district-wide middle school curriculum, and providing 15+ years of teacher professional learning. She has been nominated multiple times for Teacher of the Year. Joy has served on many statewide initiatives including as Item Writer, Content and Bias Reviewer for MEAP assessments, and as an item writer for the M-STEP Science assessment under development in Michigan. As adjunct faculty at Wayne State University, Joy teaches preservice teachers in the areas of biology and physical science.
Teaching science became a passion of Curtis Maine’s the day that he first faced students in his classroom in the mountains of North Carolina. After a number of years in North Carolina and Vermont, where he was honored as Teacher of the Year in the high school in which he taught, Curtis began his graduate work at Michigan State University studying Science Education, and then spent the next 20 years teaching in California. There, Curtis developed science curriculum that engaged students by having them do science as if they were themselves scientists, and eventually integrating iPads into the work of classroom science. When he discovered Activate Learning’s middle school science curricula, the fit was perfect, thus upon retiring, Curtis joined the professional development team in order to support other middle school science teachers in implementing cutting edge, research-based curricula. During his career, Curtis taught both high school and middle school science, spending most of his years in middle school, serving as 8th grade Team Leader and Science Department Chair. He continues to be excited by the opportunity to share outstanding science curriculum with teachers around the country.
Prior to being a school and district administrator, Mary was a reading specialist in both middle and elementary schools, and was a middle school ELA teacher. She developed expertise in IQWST as her district adopted the full middle school program while she was the Director of Middle School Curriculum. In that position, Mary oversaw the development and implementation of middle school curriculum in science, math, ELA, social studies, reading improvement, and world languages. She also facilitated professional development for teachers at seven middle schools in each of these areas, providing her with vast experience integrating best practices in all aspects of instruction and across content areas. Mary was also the Program Director of a Math and Science Partnership Program grant, providing professional development in math and science. She has also been a middle school principal and assistant principal, and has taught adult education, including classes in English as a Second Language. During her career, Mary has been nominated for several teaching honors: a Disney Teaching Award, two nominations for a Golden Apple Teaching Award, and she was awarded the Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel Award.