With a mission to bring new ideas and knowledge to the classroom, teachers from the Houston Independent School District participated in the third annual NASA-HISD Teacher Externship. On June 22 and 23, 14 teachers from HISD toured NASA facilities and completed professional development activities with NASA experts.
HISD formed a partnership with NASA through the Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) grant. This expanded science, technology, engineering, and math programs in HISD, including five aerospace academies. The MSAP grant and NASA partnership has been impactful for HISD students interested in STEM fields. Students have more access to specialized STEM curriculum and activities, and teachers are given instructional coaching and professional development opportunities.
“The NASA-HISD externship is a key element of this partnership and provides HISD educators with the opportunity to have an immersive professional development centered around NASA mission content and NASA subject matter experts,” said Michele Hooks, NASA Education Coordinator.
Teachers switched roles and became students during the two-day externship. By learning instructional strategies and career pathways from NASA instructional coaches, teachers can offer innovative, educational experiences that are connected to real-world careers. The teachers explored topics in space and STEM while understanding the importance of communication and collaboration skills in space missions and other careers.
Although this was the third year for the externship, it was the first time teachers got to participate in person. The tour of NASA included Space Center Houston, Johnson Space Center, Hangar 276 at Ellington Field, ISS Mission Control, and NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.