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Supporting the Implementation of Modeling Instruction in Rural Schools

A NSF DRK-12 Project

The Science House in the College of Sciences and the STEM Education Department in the College of Education are excited to offer this professional development opportunity to high school science teachers in western North Carolina. Supporting the Implementation of Modeling Instruction in Rural Schools (SIMIRS) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12) project (Project Number 2101590). This program focuses on Modeling Instruction in High School Biology and High School Chemistry while producing new educational research in the area of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK).

This project will offer professional development to two different cohorts of teachers. Cohort 1 began their participation in the summer of 2022 in northwest NC. Cohort 2 will begin their professional development in the summer of 2023 in the western NC area, which will continue during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years. Below is information on the courses that will serve Cohort 2. 

2023-2024 Modeling Courses:

Modeling BiologyModeling Chemistry will both take place during the dates and at the locations described below. This information applies to both courses. 

Who is eligible to apply?  North Carolina High School Biology and High School Chemistry Teachers. You must anticipate teaching Biology or Chemistry in the 2023-24 academic year. High School Physical Science teachers are eligible to apply and will be considered for the Chemistry course, though Chemistry teachers will have priority. 

2023 Summer Dates:

June 26 – 30, 2023 (Week #1)

July 10 – 14, 2023 (Week #2)

July 17 – 21, 2023 (Week #3)

The workshop is not held the week of July 3-7, 2023 due to the holiday. Participation is required in all three weeks. Academic year follow up workshops (dates to be determined) will be held in Fall 2023 (two days) and Spring 2024 (two days). Substitute teacher expenses and stipends will be covered by the project. 

2023 Summer Location: Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

Hours and Credits: Anticipated workshop hours are 8:30 AM to 4 PM on Monday through Thursday and 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Friday of each week. The summer workshop will be 15 days with an additional 4 follow-up days during the 2023-24 academic year for a total of 114 hours of formal instruction in the first year of participation. Additional follow up days will be provided in the 2024-25 academic year. 

Cost: There is no charge. Participating teachers will be eligible for a stipend of up to $4,300 over the course of their multiyear involvement (two years) in the project. Stipends will be issued for daily attendance as well as for completion of project research activities.

Travel: Participating teachers are responsible for their own transportation to the workshop location. A low-cost housing option is available through Western Carolina University at the Village Residence Hall. Participants will have a private bedroom and bathroom. Campus housing will be provided at a cost of $700 per person – half ($350) will be covered by project funds and half ($350) is the responsibility of the participant. This expense will cover three weeks of housing in the WCU dorms plus 15 lunches provided on workshop days. Participants do not need to pay out of pocket, we will deduct the $350 from the summer portion of your stipend. In order to be eligible for housing it is assumed you are beyond a reasonable daily commuting distance to the WCU campus.

Education Research Component: Participating teachers will be asked to take part in educational research activities. Agreeing to participate in the research is a prerequisite for selection. A copy of the consent form participants will be asked to signed with a list of associated research activities can be found here: Consent Form for Participants

Participating Districts: The following districts and schools provided a letter of collaboration and are grant partners. Teachers from these partners will have priority registration, however, all North Carolina teachers are eligible to apply.

Alleghany County Schools, Asheville City Schools, Avery County Schools, Buncombe County Schools, Caldwell County Schools, Catawba County Schools, Cherokee County Schools, Cleveland County Schools, Davie County Schools, Graham County Schools, Haywood County Schools, Henderson County Public Schools, Highland School of Technology (Gaston County), Iredell-Statesville Schools, Jackson County Schools, Macon County Schools, McDowell County Schools, Mount Airy City Schools, Mountain Heritage High (Yancey County), Newton-Conover City Schools, Rowan-Salisbury School System, Rutherford County Schools, Surry County Schools, Watauga High School, Wilkes County Schools, Yadkin County Schools.

Registration is currently closed for the 2023 workshops.

To learn more about Modeling Instruction, please visit the American Modeling Teachers Association.

Contact: For more project information please contact Scott Ragan by email ( or by phone (919-515-5610).