Professional Development

Quality professional development is crucial for the success of Active Science 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 science and literacy--in tandem--take center stage.

Active Science 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 discussions that students will experience every day. Teachers engage in the experience of Active Science (its pedagogy and practices) as both a learner and a teacher, with questioning strategies; literacy and vocabulary building strategies that include reading, writing, speaking, and listening; and the use of embedded assessments, all of which prepare teachers to implement lessons successfully. Active use of investigation materials during Professional Development enables teachers to experience the phenomena first-hand, as well as 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-trainer 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 PD Team

Ellen Mintz

Ellen Mintz began her career as an elementary school teacher in Charleston County School District, SC. As a classroom teacher, she saw the benefit of using science as an authentic means of integrating reading and math instruction. For 15 years, she has served as an instructional coach in Charleston County School District, providing professional development focused on literacy integration, effective science instruction, and effective formative and summative assessment strategies in K-8 classrooms. She has also facilitated the construction and implementation of curriculum maps to ensure that instruction addresses the performance indicators needed to provide effective standards-based instruction. For the past 20 years, Ellen has helped school districts across the country implement science notebooks and effective science pedagogy, and continues that work as part of the Activate Learning team. Ellen received National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 1999 (renewed 2009). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Social Studies from the University of Miami and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Curriculum from the University of Charleston. 

Marilyn Schmidt

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.