Project

Regional Teacher Communities

Connecting educators throughout Maine to support STEM teaching and learning

Through Regional Teacher Communities, GMRI supports fifth through eighth grade STEM educators to come together and learn from one another. Participating educators connect with peers across schools and districts, building communities of learning to break down feelings of professional isolation. Through regular reflection, meet-ups, and exchange of ideas and experiences, educators evolve their practice to include more authentic STEM learning. Communities are driven by local leaders and local needs, and celebrate the ongoing learning and efforts of these inspiring educators.

Project Goals:

  • Grow and sustain regional communities of STEM educators to connect Maine’s often rural and isolated STEM educators.
  • Work with local leaders to meet educator needs and help bring more authentic STEM learning to Maine students.
  • Support local leadership, and promote community ownership.

A Teacher's Perspective

My participation in the Regional Teacher Community provided a sustaining focus for me this year as I made plans for authentic inquiry for my students in the spring. I engaged with colleagues that I’ve never met to hear what their aspirations and plans involved and how we can collectively support one another and develop as professionals with the help of the cohort; specifically to network to share and access resources and to broaden our thinking and problem-solving to achieve our conceptions of what authentic inquiry can look like for students.

...

For me, the RTC has been a validation of the effort it takes to teach through authentic inquiry projects. I greatly appreciate the funding of everything from subs, mileage, equipment money and grant funding that all enhanced what I was able to do for my students. The RTC has also been a supportive audience indirectly for the student work and for me directly as an educator. It is important that we educators renew ourselves through collegial dialogues and celebrations as they motivate and sustain us, and the RTC filled that role too.

It is easy to become isolated without a structure like an RTC, especially for small schools and small districts. It’s important to organize regionally, as that is the most practical structure beyond our schools and districts. The facilitators of the RTC have been EXCELLENT and I feel fortunate to continue with the Mid-Coast RTC. Thank you for a thoughtful and productive year of support.

A portrait of a smiling woman.
Alison England St. George School
A long line of teachers stand shoulder to shoulder across a large open room.

Our guiding vision is to support the growth of STEM education in the state of Maine by bringing educators together in regional teacher communities (RTCs), where they can learn from and support one another by sharing resources, ideas, and experiences. Since launching in 2016, we’ve grown and sustained RTCs in five regions: Western Maine, Midcoast Maine, Hancock County, Washington County, and Aroostook County.

Regional Teacher Community Schools, 2020–2021

Each RTC is co-led by two local lead teachers, and RTC statewide launch events occur every year. Throughout the year there are multiple opportunities for teachers to collaborate. Whether through in-person meet-ups after school, virtual get-togethers, or annual statewide launches, teachers have multiple opportunities to learn and share better educational practices, resources, and ideas with peers. These meetings also allow for teachers to engage in ongoing reflections about what practices have worked well or which practices could be improved upon.

a group of western maine teachers gathers at an RTC workshop
Teachers gather around a computer smiling at an RTC workshop.

Teachers gather outside in a circle as another reaches up to observe a green tree branch.

I have found meeting with local science teachers to be inspiring and everyone is very encouraging. I have been teaching for over 30 years and these meetings seem more beneficial than regular workshops or other professional development training I have had.

Kelly Robbins Medomak Middle School Teacher

We seek to ensure that RTCs persist through time, because developing better STEM education practices is inherently a long-term effort. Needs will change, as will our understanding of best teaching practices. Linking networks of teachers together will foster the exchange of STEM professional development opportunities, educational resources, and best practices and thus increase local capacity to respond to changing educational needs.

For over a decade, our education team has served the students of Maine. During that time, we've learned that one of the best ways to support students is to support their teachers.

Staff Contact


Molly Auclair
Molly Auclair Professional Development Coordinator (207) 228-1649 mauclair@gmri.org

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