In so doing, it will be important to have a clear understanding of the context of K-12 schools and professional development. There are many ways to influence curriculum development and reform, but they require a long-term investment in collaborative efforts between scientists, mathematicians, curriculum developers, learning theorists, and teachers. Such development requires pilot and field testing of new curricula, and substantial revision of curricula based on feedback.

Concerning teacher development, there are a wide range of professional development opportunities offered for teachers. Teachers tend to select opportunities in their particular area of interest. If NAVSEA wants to reach large numbers of teachers, then a strategy that works through a state or school district is more likely to succeed. High quality professional development includes multiple components: long-term opportunities to experiment with ideas in classrooms and reflect on those experiences; materials that are aligned with standards and assessments; early and steady “buy in” by teachers; materials focused on student learning of specific content; grounding in research and clinical knowledge of teaching and learning; facilitated collaboration among teachers both within and across schools; use of existing teacher expertise to plan activities and cultivate leaders: and mechanisms for garnering support from principals. Such programs focus on good practices and provide teachers with active learning opportunities, to build teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Finally, they are intensive, sustained over time to allow for integration of new knowledge into practice, and include follow-up support.21 Recognizing this complexity, NAVSEA should work with organizations that are knowledgeable about designing effective professional development programs so that its efforts to encourage teachers to incorporate principles, examples, etc. of interest to NAVSEA are most effective.

Any work at the K-12 level requires considerable knowledge of the current policy environment. NAVSEA might consider establishing one or two partnerships with school districts to build collaborative curriculum and professional development projects using NAVSEA expertise and infrastructure, and NAVSEA should encourage its employees to work with those young people (leave time given). FIRST is an example of a program that might be a helpful model,22 along with examples in the DOD and private sector programs such as Project Lead the Way.23


 I.R. Weiss, & Pasley, J.D. (2006). Scaling up instructional improvement through teacher professional development: Insights from the local systemic change initiative. Research report of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (R8–44). Philadelphia: CPRE.


For a description of the FIRST program, see:


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement