Middle and High School Teachers

George Mason University coordinates all VISTA site applications.
William and Mary participants click here to apply. 


Middle and High School Teacher Professional Development

The middle and high school program is for nonlicensed, provisionally licensed, and first or second year science teachers. Teachers receive, for two years, four forms of support: coaches, a basic science methods course (three graduate credits), an advanced science methods course (three graduate credits), and classroom resources.

The basic science methods builds fundamental knowledge of

    (1) standards-based curriculum design,
    (2) research-based teaching strategies,
    (3) inquiry-based lessons for students to investigate science,
    (4) assessing student understanding of science, and
    (5) classroom management strategies.
The teachers create an annual instructional plan, teach an inquiry-based lesson they would teach the first week of school, and plan a ready-to-teach unit with all support materials. During the fall semester, the teachers observe videotapes of themselves teaching and students’ learning. Further, they conduct research on student learning.

Research indicates that a second science methods course is needed to provide teachers the time needed to develop in-depth knowledge of effective science instruction (Abd-El-Khalick, Bell, & Lederman, 1998; Lumpe, Haney, Czerniak, 2000; Roehrig & Luft, 2006). The second course builds on the fundamentals of curriculum design and teaching from the first science methods course. The course focuses on

  • using technology for students to investigate science and
  • adapting inquiry-based lessons to the special needs of students.
VISTA provides  in-class coaches who help the new teachers plan, teach, and problem-solve. In addition, the courses enable teachers to develop professional knowledge about effective teaching and learning. To provide a broader perspective of teaching and learning, these teachers will attend the annual state science teachers conference in Year 1 and present in Year 2. Based on previous research, we predict this support will improve science instruction and student performance on the Virginia Science Standards of Learning tests.

Secondary Science Methods Courses Timeline

Secondary Science Methods Courses

Academic Year 1 

Academic Year 2 

Provisionally certified middle and high school science teachers

Basic Science Methods Course
Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on the following dates:

August 24, 2013 
(or makeup session on Sept. 7th)

Sept. 14th, 2013

October 12th & 26th, 2013

November 9th, 2013 

December 14th, 2013

January 11th, 2014

February 8th, 2014

Advanced Science Methods 

Saturday, October 19th from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Thursdays 7:20 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on the following dates:

August 29th, 2013

Sept. 12th & 26th, 2013

Oct. 10th & 24th, 2013

Nov. 7th & 21st, 2013

Dec. 5th & 12th, 2013

Jan. 9th & 23rd, 2014

Feb. 6th & 13th, 2014


Attend 2013 VAST conference in
Norfolk, Virginia 
(November 13-17, 2013, and VISTA sessions on November 16th-17th)

Classroom Coaches
12 visits 

Present at VAST conference in Norfolk, Virginia
(November 13-17, 2013 and attend VISTA sessions Nov. 16th-17th)


Classroom Coaches

3 visits 

 Academic year follow-up sessions include attending the fall VAST Conference