Pennsylvania is undergoing a major effort to improve science teaching and learning across the Commonwealth through the introduction of the Science, Technology & Engineering, Environmental Literacy & Sustainability (STEELS) standards.  

To support this work, in 2021 NextGenScience at WestEd launched the Pennsylvania Science Education Leaders Network (PennSEL Network), a leadership development program in collaboration with Pennsylvania Department of Education, to prepare teams of Pennsylvania science leaders to improve science teaching and learning for all students as reflected in the new STEELS standards. The PennSEL Network includes representation from all 29 of Pennsylvania’s regional education offices, or Intermediate Units (IUs). 

NextGenScience released two resources sharing findings on the impact of the first year of network programming: 


PennSEL Network Interim Growth Report 

This report shares the PennSEL Network’s impact on participants based on a pre- and post-survey from the launch to January 2023. It highlights several positive impacts reported by PennSEL Network participants, including: 

  • Participant vision for science instruction has become more aligned with the research,  
  • Science education has become a bigger priority both across Pennsylvania and within participant organizations,  
  • Professional learning and collaboration opportunities have increased, and  
  • Participants have begun enacting strategies that have been shown to be effective in similar work across the country. 

PennSEL Network Stories from the Field  

This resource shares four vignettes of PennSEL teams engaging in key strategies for transitioning to new learning goals for students, including: 

  • Creating a shared vision for science teaching and learning in your community, 
  • Supporting teams to evaluate and select high-quality instructional materials, 
  • Building school administrator capacity in science teaching and learning, and 
  • Boosting district leader capacity to design an effective professional learning plan. 


NextGenScience would like to thank the PennSEL Network teams who shared their stories with the field: Northwest Tri-County IU 5, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13, Capital Area IU 15, and School District of Philadelphia. 

Related Resource 

See a February 2022 webinar about the PennSEL Network here. 

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