Next Generation Science Exemplar-Based Professional Learning System 

Through a timely investment by The Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise at Clark University in June of 2012 a design meeting planned and carried out by PIs Sarah Michaels (Clark University and Tidemark Institute Associate), Jean Moon (Tidemark Institute), and Brian Reiser (Northwestern University and Tidemark Institute) took place in June 2012.  The product of this meeting was a promising, unqiue and much needed model of professional learning for science educators including preservice faculty soon titled the Next Generation Science Exemplar (NGSX) System of professional learning.  This multi-functional, image-rich web-based system introduced a series of learning pathways in which K-12 teachers, administrators, instructional coaches and higher ed faculty meet face-to-face in a study group format, working with the classroom video cases, science investigations, exploration of classroom talk strategies and high leverage epistemic tools for teachers and students to build their capacity to do the work so necessary to convey a new vision for teaching and learning in science. A central feature of this web-based learning system is its accessibility and its mutually reinforcing digital and print resources, including samples of classroom work - video and print.

The call for exemplars (examples of practice and classroom interactions to explore and think with) to be used in professional development (PD) settings is a direct result of a consequential report (A Framework for Science Education, K-12) released in July 2011 by this country’s pre-eminent scientific organization, the National Academy of Sciences and its operating arm, the National Research Council.  An early National Science Foundation award to Michaels, Moon and Reiser supported the development of a prototype of a teacher study group learning pathway aligned to student performance expectations in physical science found in the Next Generation Science Standards.  The particular performance expectation is the structure and properties of matter, specifically the question, how do particles combine to form the variety of matter one observes?   Eventually the NGSX learning system will be available through a web-based platform for ongoing use in multiple types of professional development and preservice contexts.

Beginning in 2013 10 states piloted a “beta” version of the initial study group pathway. Data from this initial was used in the next stage of design phase and testing with states.  Moon, Reiser, and Michaels are committed to working with states to ensure that the new roadmap for science teaching and learning gets into classrooms throughout the United States and is a supportive tool for states who will adopt the Next Generation Science Standards or align state standards with NGSS.  Today, over 3,200 teachers have been participants in NGSX, with participants coming from 11 states.

Commentary: Science Standards Require a Teacher - Learning Rethink
NGSX Frequently Asked Questions










STEM, Sustainability, and Science Policy

Jean Moon was a state team member for Maine and liaison to a national project focused on reconnecting and mobilizing STEM education and state policy on sustainability issues. The four other states participating in this project are California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Maryland.  National leadership roles for this project were held by Mel George, President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Mathematics University of Missouri; Catherine MIddlecamp, Associate Professor Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Howe Bascom Professor Integrated Liberal Studies Program University of Wisconsin-Madison; Judith Ramaley, Professor, Portland State University and former President of Winona University, and Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communication at the National Academy of Sciences.

Separately and together these five states identified specific strategies to address two urgent problems: (1) designing and delivering undergraduate STEM courses that better engage students and increase their learning on sustainability science and sustainability issues; (2) preparing citizens to address global challenges (e.g., energy, environment, infrastructure, knowledge, research, innovation, jobs, health, food) that are coupled with strong economic development.

In July 2012 all five state teams attended a national meeting in Annapolis, MD, at the SESYNC ( project headquarters.  A grant from SESYNC made this meeting possible. Joining Moon as members of the Maine project team are Bill Behrens, Co-Founder of ReVision Energy, Ronald Cantor, President of Southern Maine Community College, Stephen Mulkey, President of Unity College, Mary Nelson, State Representative to the Maine Legislature, Vicki Nemeth, Director of Maine’s EPSCoR project, Linda Silka, Director of the Margaret Chase Smith Center, University of Maine at Orono, and Susan Hunter, Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Maine at Orono.




Southern Maine Community College Portland, Maine

Southern Maine Community College

Portland, Maine
Journal of Innovation and Transformation article by Jean Moon

The leadership of the college is exploring the challenges and opportunities awaiting community colleges during this time of economic transformation. To foster both thought and action around such opportunities and challenges SMCC has created the Journal of Innovation and Transformation with Jean Moon as a contributing author in the initial issue.

Journal of Innovation and Transformation

Read the article written by founder and principal of Tidemark Institute, Jean Moon, for this publication from Southern Maine Community College.