PEI provides high quality professional development to K-12 formal and informal educators in Washington State, enabling them to teach students real-world science outdoors! PEI also partners with universities and leaders in the education field to conduct and publish research that demonstrates the value of our work.
Professional Learning & Research
With Formal Educators
PEI’s strength is in building the capacity of educators to get students outdoors, learning real-world science in their own community. PEI benefits educators by:
- Delivering projects that engage students in applied math, science and field-based engineering, as well as reading, writing, conducting research and using technology at all grade levels.
- Building instructional confidence by providing useful tools to immediately implement hands-on, place-based STEM education in their classrooms.
- Engaging community members (educators and business and industry leaders) to make learning authentic and create opportunities for impacting community decisions and make career connections.
- Identifying Teacher Leaders, our FieldSTEM Champions, who can speak from experience at our workshops and institutes about how FieldSTEM works in the classroom.
Supporting the implementation of FieldSTEM® to help students:
- experience opportunities to connect interdisciplinary content, concepts and skills in the context of their community.
- apply critical and creative thinking skills to identify and analyze issues, seek answers and engineer solutions.
- engage in stewardship projects that enhance their interest in sustaining the ecosystem and respecting natural resources.
- consider careers in the sectors important to Washington State including environmental science, natural resources and agriculture.
With Nonformal Educators
By cultivating the understanding of Washington State Learning Standards, current trends in formal education and current research in the natural resource and environment fields, PEI works to improve the skills of nonformal educators, programs and organizations to connect with and enhance formal, classroom learning. Working together, nonformal and formal, we create a win-win for everyone involved in educating students!
If you’re interested in learning more about how PEI can support you or your organizational staff, please fill out the contact form.
The Pacific Education Institute supports academically rigorous, career connected, locally relevant, integrated field-based learning designed to advance science literacy and inspire balanced decision making for a sustainable future.
PEI’s FieldSTEM model embeds a process that employs language and math skills and an understanding of social and natural systems to implement locally relevant science and engineering practices outdoors. Districts across the state are using our model to effectively meet state standards while helping students engage in real questions, problems, issues, and opportunities in their communities.
PEI partners with school and district administrators to customize professional learning to meet local employment needs and opportunities and to meet district goals. We help educators, pre-K -12, embrace the power of integrating as an efficient way to meet standards and a powerful way to engage students in meaningful work. We are not a “one and done” workshop model, we support ongoing FieldSTEM implementation working with teachers, the community, and administration.
FieldSTEM projects engage students in the practices and performance tasks that prepare them for the Washington science, math and ELA assessments, as well as the development of critical thinking in economics, geography, civics, employability skills and technology not formally assessed by the State of Washington.
With Board representation from the Association of School Principals, the Washington State School Director’s Association and the Washington Association of School Administrators, In alliance with OSPI and regional ESD’s, as a member of the Washington STEM Education Innovation Alliance and a participant in the Washington STEM Networks, PEI works strategically across the state to further sound educational practice. PEI is committed to formally aligning natural resource and environmental education with our state’s educational reform efforts so that all students know about and have the skills to be employed in local natural resource STEM jobs.
PEI offers consulting and planning expertise to school and district teams:
- Instructional strategies and support for FieldSTEM projects
- District-wide scope and sequence curriculum work
- Needs assessment and entry points for FieldSTEM learning
- Community assets assessments and collaboration models
- Career connected learning pathway alignment
- Teacher leadership development
- Ongoing professional learning, support and mentoring
- PEI Professional Learning Workshops
PEI welcomes you to participate in our expertly-designed, experiential professional learning opportunities. We aim to elevate educators’ knowledge, skills and confidence in taking students outdoors to learn real-world science that’s connected to the environmental science, natural resources, agriculture and NGSS.
Calendar of Events
PEI welcomes participation in our expert-designed, NGSS aligned, experiential workshops and institutes. We aim to increase educators’ knowledge, skills and confidence in taking students outdoors to learn locally relevant, real-world science that is connected to careers in environmental science, natural resources and agriculture sectors.
In addition to our workshops and institutes, PEI customizes ongoing professional learning, support and mentoring, to meet the individual needs of districts, schools, and educators. These additional services are available to school districts and informal educators across the State. After an initial exposure to FieldSTEM, educators and administrators ready to move toward excellence in FieldSTEM implementation can contact PEI to customize that on-going work.
|Examples of Consultation-Customization Opportunities|
|Developing and implementing community-based field experiences for K-12 students with pre-post instruction and assessments in collaboration with local, state and federal agencies and business partners|
|Identifying school campus field investigation opportunities with pre-post instruction and assessments|
|Identifying opportunities to apply and extend science kit content and materials to outdoor learning|
|Development of an environmental education professional learning needs assessment for your school or district|
|Exploring effective and explicit ways to embed career-connected learning into science instruction|
|Developing funding plans for implementing FieldSTEM in your classroom, school, district, or community|
|Development of a district, school or classroom FieldSTEM® Implementation Plan|
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I see what workshops are coming up?
Q. How do I register for a workshop?
Interested participants may register for workshops by following the links embedded in our promotional fliers and on our Training & Workshop Event Calendar to see offerings in your region.
Q. How do I get a copy of your resources?
You can visit our FieldSTEM Resources page for free downloadable copies of our guides, performance tasks, curricular units, and more. Hard copies of our resources are available for purchase in our Marketplace. For special requests and large orders, please contact Annette Faris, Program and Operations Administrator 360-705-9289 or [email protected].
Q. How do I connect with someone in my area?
Q. Do you offer Professional Development clock hours?
We are an OSPI approved provider for Washington State Continuing Education Clock Hours. Most of our workshops meet the criteria for STEM clock hours. For specific questions about Clock Hours, please contact Annette Faris, Program and Operations Administrator 360-705-9289 or [email protected].
Q. Will you come to our school to meet with us?
We would be honored to meet with you at your school. Please contact Denise Buck, Program and Operations Director at 360-705-9286 or [email protected].
Access guidance for developing field experiences for students and explore our resources to learn more about the frameworks and support we offer.
PEI workshops include FieldSTEM guides for educators providing frameworks for how rigorous, integrated, outdoor field experiences with students. Our guides are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and are available for free download.
Designing High Impact Field Experiences are one of the most meaningful learning opportunities a student will have throughout his or her educational career. This book guides educators to consider learning goals, locations and partners, activities, adjacent lessons, and logistics that will help maximize the positive impact of a field experience.
Access guidance for developing effective CCSS and NGSS aligned field experiences for students and explore our resources to learn more about the frameworks we offer.
Field Investigations helps teachers develop and implement locally relevant opportunities to engage students in core subject instruction using natural settings—a framework that increases students’ problem solving abilities and motivation to learn science.
Project-Based Learning Model provides resources and examples through an 8-step model.
Photo Point Monitoring: Using Technology in Field Investigations to Monitor Change Over Time is intended to provide formal and informal educators a tool to bring technology into outdoor experiences and field investigations.
Sustainable Tomorrow demonstrates how to apply systems thinking and problem solving tools employed by natural resource managers using lessons from Project Learning Tree (PLT), Project WILD and Project WET.
Landscape Investigation Guidelines challenges K-12 students to integrate science and social science inquiry by applying spatial thinking, which mirrors scientists’ practices as they make decisions that impact natural resources on landscapes.
Schoolyard Biodiversity is targeted to elementary and middle schools. These guidelines teach educators how to engage students in the investigation of biodiversity in their own schoolyard using field investigation methodologies.
Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills guides teachers to develop observation skills with students by observing the “book of nature”.
Technology for Field Investigations provides tools for educators to engage students in designing and conducting their own field investigations mirroring the practices of professional scientists.
ELA Performance Tasks
PEI’s performance tasks use environmental problems or issues as the content and students apply the English Language Art (ELA) skills of reading, writing and researching to complete the work. Performance tasks are tailored to assist educators in integrating locally relevant, complex texts with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core while providing frameworks for constructing meaningful field experiences for students.
Check out all of PEI’s additional thematic units of study that can be integrated into any classroom. To determine which will work best in your classroom, we encourage educators to explore the curricular units below.
Project Learning Tree (PLT), Project WILD & Project WET
Activity Guides for Teachers
PEI is an access point for three widely recognized national environmental education programs. Through hands-on interdisciplinary activities, K-12 students investigate environmental concepts, problems, or issues encouraging them to make informed decisions. These activity guides are available mostly through workshops. Visit each program’s website for more information.
Project Learning Tree
Using the forest as a “window to the world,” PLT inspires and empowers students. The program easily adapts to meet local needs such as local investigations, service learning projects and partnerships with community-based resource professionals. PLT is the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation. PEI sponsors PLT in Washington and serves as the State Coordinator.
⇒ Get your Arbor Day activity guide here!
Project WILD is based on the premise that young people and their educators have a vital interest in learning about the earth as home for people and wildlife. Activities within the guides cover topics ranging from wildlife as small as a microscopic organism to as large as a blue whale. This is a program of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). PEI serves as the Western Washington State Coordinator, the Franklin Conservation District, the Eastern Washington Coordinator maintains a calendar of upcoming Project Wild Workshops.
Visit the National Project WILD website.
People’s relationship to water is a major theme of Project WET. Project WET’s activity guides are a collection of innovative water-related activities that are hands-on, easy to use and fun. This is a program of The Project WET International Foundation.
Visit the National Project WET website.
Navigating the Standards
These standards include Tribal Sovereignty, NGSS, Common Core where ESE shows how these can be integrated. These learning standards reflect basic education defined by defined by the Legislature (RCW 28A.150.210). As required by state law, OSPI develops the state’s learning standards (RCW 28A.655.070) and oversees the assessment of the learning standards for state and federal accountability purposes.
The 2015 legislature passed SB5433 requiring the inclusion of tribal sovereignty curriculum be taught in all schools. The use of the curriculum has been endorsed by all 29 federally recognized tribes and available from Office of Native Education.
The Education for Environment and Sustainability program’s purpose is to support academic success and life-long learning, and to develop a responsible citizenry capable of applying knowledge of ecological, economic, and socio-cultural systems to meet current and future needs. Environmental education is a mandatory area of study in Washington, required by WAC 392-410-115.
The state’s K-12 Integrated Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards describe what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.
OSPI and E3 Washington led the development of the Washington State Environmental and Sustainability Literacy Plan. PEI participated on the Steering Committee.
Sustainable Design Project is a statewide interdisciplinary project bringing industry, business, community, and higher education partners together with K-12 students to design sustainable solutions to real world challenges. PEI participated on the Steering Committee.
These are the national K–12 science standards. Standards set the expectations for what students are expected to know and be able to accomplish. The NGSS were developed by states to improve science education for all students. Washington State adopted NGSS in 2013. NGSS shifts classroom instruction from a traditional model of teaching content to an expectation that students meet performance expectations that weave science practices and cross cutting concepts with the content (disciplinary core ideas).
Washington formally adopted the Washington State K-12 Learning Standards (Common Core State Standards) for English language arts and mathematics. Assessments for these standards are currently in place.
The Smarter Balanced assessment system is a key part of implementing the Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and careers. Developed in collaboration with K-12 teachers and higher education faculty, these new assessments provide an academic check-up and are designed to give teachers better information to help students succeed.
Research that supports the need for FieldSTEM
Decades of academic research and studies have proven the effectiveness of PEI’s programs. Search through our bibliography of supporting publications here.
PEI provides opportunities for school districts to meet state expectations for Common Core subjects of reading, writing, and math; and the Next Generation Science Standards for science.
A Comparative Model of Field Investigations: Learning About Science and the Environment Inside and Outside the Classroom
PEI supports educators in enhancing science achievement through rigorous environmental science education.
Impact of Environment-Based Teaching on Student Achievement: A Study of Washington State Middle Schools
PEI empowers educators to provide rich learning experiences for students using the outdoors as a classroom.
Day Trips Are Not Enough: A Study Reveals How Combining Environmental Education Day Trips and Extended Outdoor Experiences Can Impact Student Knowledge and Attitudes
Through FieldSTEM, educators provide opportunities for students to conduct local field investigations, applying reasoned judgement and problem-solving skills.
Working closely with environmental science, natural resource, and agricultural businesses in regions across our state, PEI encourages educators to connect what students are learning in the classroom to what’s happening in the real world.
Cougars and the Community: Through Field Investigation and Civic Partnership, Students Research Human-Cougar Relationships
PEI demonstrates the effectiveness of the FieldSTEM framework through accountability and performance measures.
PEI builds connections for schools to local business, industry, & community organizations for real-world learning opportunities.
With Community Partners
PEI builds community connections between the schools, local organizations, agencies and the natural resource industries of our state. These connections give students a chance to build a sense of place, explore local career opportunities and develop the critical thinking skills needed for our next generation of decision-makers who will consider ecosystems, community and economic trade-offs.
PEI also empowers teachers to embed career-connected learning into their classroom units and create opportunities for students to engage in field-based science and engineering. When community partners work with PEI and teachers, they help create awareness of promising jobs in the community and clarify the types of skills a student needs to be hired. Career-connected learning helps students plan for a successful future and it helps local businesses look forward to a skilled and inspired workforce. A win-win for communities!