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CCIU Selected to Participate in the PennSEL Network

We are happy to share that the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) was selected to participate in the Pennsylvania Science Education Leaders (PennSEL) Network, a cohort of leadership teams representing 19 regions across Pennsylvania with the goal of improving science teaching and learning for all students. The multi-year effort was launched by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and NextGenScience in June 2021. 

The PennSEL Network builds upon a larger strategy to strengthen STEM education by investing in and increasing access to STEM learning experiences for educators and students. In September 2019, the State Board of Education charged PDE with beginning the process of updating Pennsylvania’s science, technology, environment, ecology and engineering standards for the first time in approximately 20 years. The PennSEL Network will support science network teams to lead the transition of these new standards in their communities. 

Kammas Kersch, educational innovation specialist at the CCIU, believes that PennSEL will continue to strengthen the reputation that Southeastern Pennsylvania has developed for strong STEM programming within schools. “The CCIU is proud to have been accepted to participate in PennSEL. In collaboration with Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU), we have already begun building a regional science education community as we prepare for the instructional shifts that will come with new science standards,” said Kersch.

The regional team is composed of intermediate unit, district and local partner representatives that have been working together to learn and plan for transformative science education experiences. CCIU staff will work on a team of over 120 IU, community, district and school-based science leaders to build a common strategy for improving local systems of science teaching and learning.

PennSEL will provide new opportunities for educators and leaders to reflect on practice, share their best ideas, and collectively problem solve between organizations and across regions. Regional demonstration sites will be used to generate tools, resources and processes that can be shared with school leaders and educators across the state to spotlight innovations that are improving science teaching and learning. 

“When educators from the school, district, regional, and state level work together toward a common vision for science education, it makes a huge difference in creating meaningful and inclusive science experiences for students,” said Vanessa Wolbrink, associate director of NextGenScience. “Given events of the past year, it’s more important than ever that all students are empowered to think of science as something that helps them address issues that affect their lives and communities." Wolbrink led the Tennessee District Science Network and will oversee the work of the PennSEL Network.

Funders of the PennSEL Network include Arconic Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Grable Foundation.