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‘Embedded’ teachers personalize museum experience for HISD students

2013 May 2
by HISD Communications

Educators from the Haidian District of the People’s Republic of China got a surprise recently when they visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science—they discovered that several of the teachers they met there actually worked for HISD.

The district keeps several teachers “embedded” on-site through a long-time partnership with the museum. They work with HISD students who come to the museum on field trips throughout the school year.

“It’s a great program,” says HISD Elementary Science Curriculum Manager Teresa Phillips. “It’s funded through Curriculum, and the district pays the transportation costs for every elementary school’s fourth-grade class to visit each academic year. The students get a lab experience, visit the planetarium, and see some of the permanent exhibits. We also have a special time during STAAR testing when we have second-graders come, and a few sixth-graders at end of the year.”

Phillips said that almost all HISD fourth-graders get to visit the museum each year through the partnership, except for those at one or two schools that might have last-minute scheduling conflicts.

“It just keeps getting better,” she said. “It’s amazing how many kids have never been to the museum, and this is their time to go.”

Dr. Carolyn Sumners shared her experiences with the Chinese visitors as they observed students from Robinson ES  interacting with her and the other three embedded HISD teachers in this article (.pdf). The other embedded teachers are: Amber Pepper, Rebecca Spedden, and James Wooten.

Principals who wish to schedule a visit can contact coordinator Deborah Blocker at or 713-556-6823.

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