STeLLA CO2: Communities Supporting Preservice Teacher Preparation Programs

Betty Stennett
Science Educator
BSCS Science Learning

Need: Science teacher educators face challenges bringing coherence to course and field-based aspects of preservice science teacher (PST) preparation and creating a common vision among the individuals who play a role in developing PSTs’ understanding of effective science instruction (Darling-Hammond, 2014; Zeichner, 2010). The STeLLA CO2 program is the second Colorado-based STeLLA program for BSCS. The program uses the STeLLA (Science Teachers Learning from Lesson Analysis) program’s proven framework of teaching strategies and video-based analysis of practice (Roth et al., 2017) as the foundation for developing a collaborative community that brings together faculty who teach undergraduate science courses or secondary science preservice education courses, and mentor teachers (MTs) who support PSTs’ field experiences. Through a multi-year partnership with three Mountain West universities, our goal has been to improve the coherence of science teacher preparation experiences while we study the novel ways each university makes system-wide shifts in their secondary science teacher preparation programs. Throughout, we have created opportunities for university and district teachers to learn from each other in a synergistic cycle of improvement, ultimately increasing the quality of PSTs and the STEM learning of secondary science students.

Guiding Questions and Outcomes: We are in the fifth year of the project. In the first two years, stakeholders learned about the lenses and strategies in the STeLLA Conceptual Framework, developing a common vision and a common language for talking about effective science instruction. In years three and four (during COVID), each university-based team drafted and implemented plans that modify their university programs to ensure that the science instruction PSTs receive at the university, and they see in classrooms in the community could mirror the teaching methods they learn about in teacher preparation courses.

In this poster, we describe the ways each partner university made systemic changes in their science and science education programs, and describe the data and analysis used in generating preliminary findings to answer the following research questions: 1. Did changes made to the preservice teacher preparation program enhance preservice teachers’ knowledge and practice, and improve preservice teachers’ secondary students’ learning? 2. Did participating in the STeLLA CO2 program build a collaborative community (including science faculty, education faculty, mentor teachers, and BSCS researchers) with a mission for improving secondary science teacher preparation and a common vision of effective science teaching and learning at each university site?

Broader Impacts: This project is ambitious. We seek to overcome the complexities of working in large institutional settings — across university departments and school districts – to make significant changes in the ways we prepare secondary science teachers. Each university generated their own plan to meet the unique needs of their program and community. Teacher preparation programs from other universities can learn from the struggles and successes experienced by the three partner universities in this project. The resources (videocases, model lessons, course syllabi, and observation templates) developed in this program will be shared in the teacher education community, supporting STEM education of university teacher educators and in district-based induction and inservice professional learning programs.


Connie Hvidsten, BSCS Science Learning; Abraham Lo, BSCS Science Learning; Cari Herrmann Abell, BSCS Science Learning; Karen Askinas, BSCS Science learning, Colorado Springs, Colorado