The RISE Project (Redefining Innovative Schools through Sustained STEM Experiences)

The RISE (Redefining Innovative Schools through Sustained STEM Experiences) Project provides professional development for schools that would like to shift toward student centered learning and PBL based instruction. This project begins with an exploratory year which includes setting a foundational understanding of STEM and PBL, a needs assessment, a school culture analysis, and explorations of identified STEM Schools and schools of innovation.  The goal of the initial professional development year would be to identify if a school is ready to shift toward this model of instruction and if so, set them up for successful implementation. The next year we would lead those that are ready to proceed through an implementation plan specifically designed for them based on the needs assessment and asset inventory of their school. Desired outcomes of this project:

  1. High quality PBL is the normal method of operating for schools.
  2. Students are problem solvers and see connections between content and real-world applications.
  3. Grassroots support is present and active for PBL/STEM from teachers, admin, community, parents, school board, etc. (stakeholders) – Teachers and community work in synergy.
  4. More students, who may have been “left behind” in traditional instructional models (minority, rural and underserved youth), become “engineers of their future” by identifying their school experience as the key factor in their college and career opportunities.


  • School will have a custom path of implementation based on Needs Assessment upon completion of the first year of the program.
  • Resources will be suggested/provided for schools needing to further focus on roadblocks and building appropriate culture (classroom management, discipline, vision casting, etc.).
  • Schools ready for implementation (as evaluated by facilitators) after the preparatory year will be invited to continue support through a second year of the program.
  • Schools that demonstrate early readiness (as evaluated by facilitators) to shift will be provided with opportunities to begin early implementation.

Project Details:

Who: Up to 6 Schools in NC- Schools may send up to 5 individuals per school (3 minimum).  Each school team must consist of 1 administrator (superintendent, principal, or assistant principal).

What: Professional Development

When: Approximately 10 days throughout 2019-20 school year – see timeline

Where: location of PD will vary

Cost: $15,000 per school (required in full by 12/31/2020)

  • Includes professional development fees, travel of facilitators, facility fees, overnight accommodations for 3-day session, food/snacks for each event, supplies and resources.
  • Includes approximately 25 days of service with 2 facilitators over the course of the 2019-20 school year.
  • Schools would be responsible for their individual travel costs (mileage, etc.) and any substitute fees.
  • We understand funding can be a problem. Here are a list of possible sources that you may wish to pursue (link below).

Commitment requirements:

  • Schools must send a consistent team with a minimum of 3 members to each PD session. Each school team must consist of 1 administrator (superintendent, principal, or assistant principal) and attend each session.
  • Schools must participate in site visits; i.e. coordinating visits to their school facility and attending one additional model school.
  • Complete and submit the application by June 30, 2019.
  • Attend the overview session on August 9, 2019.
  • Schools must complete all stages of the needs assessment process including milestone reflections and project correspondence.
  • Schools must provide a completed outline of the Path of Implementation by June 30, 2020.


June/July 2019: Accepting applications through June 30, 2019- schools selected by 8/31/19

August 9, 2019: One day information session for finalists

August – October 2019: Facilitators visit the 6 participating schools

October 16 – 18, 2019: 3 day professional development session on PBL and student centered learning

November 2019: Part one of the needs assessment analysis and part two needs assessment dissemination

January 2020: Part two needs assessment analysis and part three needs assessment dissemination

February- March 2020: Facilitators visit 6 participating schools

April 2020: Part three needs assessment analysis and step four needs assessment dissemination

May 2020: Final reflection/next steps- Begin Path of Implementation planning

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Contact Michelle Benigno at 8282063014 or