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Programs for Schools & Districts

Programs for Schools & Districts

Customized Summer Institutes

Customized Summer Institutes are weeklong, intensive experiences for whole schools or key district personnel that focus on STEM integration, STEM education for diverse populations, and the particular needs of the community. These institutes provide a superb context in which to improve teaching practices, transform school culture, and create a community vision for STEM education.

Professional Development Days during the school year provide introductory or follow-up experiences for district or school groups.


teachers with an experimentNexus is an initiative for district-based leaders, curriculum coordinators, professional developers, and others with responsibility for K–12 STEM education. Nexus is dedicated to addressing racial, class, and gender-based achievement gaps in STEM education in Minnesota. As a community of district STEM leaders committed to the well-being and future of all our young people and to the economic and social health of our communities, the Nexus community works together to bring about cultural change and transformation in our educational institutions. We hope that through our effort, we will ultimately open doors that help our children grow up strong in a world full of possibility and opportunity. We invite those working with teachers on STEM teaching and learning including curriculum coordinators, classroom coaches, professional learning community leaders, principals, curriculum committee chairs, magnet coordinators, and others to join us for this work.

Goals for Nexus are to:

  • Developing Community: We work together to develop a supportive community of STEM leaders committed to eliminating achievement gaps in STEM education. To date, over 300 STEM leaders have participated in Nexus with an annual cohort averaging 70 people. Alumni of Nexus and its regional sister program, PAGE, include MDE Specialists in Science, Math, STEM, and Reading; the State Science Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education, and an MDE Assistant Commissioner.
  • Learning: We build a rigorous foundation in equity in STEM education that includes issues of access, pedagogy and curriculum, the nature of STEM, and the role of student, teacher, and community identity. Our framework for access and equity in STEM education is a synthesis of some of the best research in education, STEM education, sociology, psychology, and cultural studies and has been developed with support from the National Science Foundation.
  • Effecting Change: We work to adapt, refine, and implement strategies, frameworks, and professional development resources for use in our work with teachers that promote the achievement of all students in STEM. We have seen dramatic impact on students in the districts and schools with whom we've worked. Evidence is growing that our work closes achievement gaps in STEM.

The application process for Nexus is competitive, and there is a fee of $500 per participant for Science House Member/$1500 fee for non-Science House District Members. Each district (or consortium of small districts) applying needs to select a team of 3–5 individuals (based on district size) with collective responsibility for STEM efforts within their district(s).

2013-2014 Nexus Dates

  • Colloquium (2 full days; all participants): October 31 - November 1, 2013
  • Seminar 1 (1 full day; 24 participants each): December 11, 12, or 13, 2013
  • Seminar 2 (1 full day; 24 participants each): February 5, 6, or 7, 2014
  • Seminar 3 (1 full day; 24 participants each): March 5, 6, or 7, 2014
  • Seminar 4 (1 full day; 24 participants each): April 9, 10, or 11, 2014
  • Symposium (1 full days; all participants): May 21, 2014

Principals and Leaders in Schools (PALS) is a program that runs in parallel to Nexus for teachers whose principals participated in our Principals Institute.

Visit our Professional Development Philosophy & Mission page to learn more about our approaches.