Professional Development

Professional development for Global Systems Science teachers began with summer institutes in 1993, 1994, and 1995. You may read an excellent overview of the principles and philosophy of those institutes, written by the first GSS Director, Cary Sneider, as an illustration of an exemplary professional development program for a landmark 1998 book on professional development by Susan Loucks-Horsley, Peter W. Hewson, Nancy Love, and Katherine E. Stiles: Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics.    

Read specifically,
Resource D: 
Global Systems Science: 
A Professional Development Program for High School Teachers
(pages 289–294 of the 1998 edition )

Another professional development program run by the GSS project was a NASA grant project, Lifelines for High School Climate Change Education, from 2010 to 2013.  Overview and links to results from that project are below.

Lifelines for High School Climate Change Education logo
Lifelines for High School
Climate Change Education


  • establish a network of practicing high school teachers actively using climate change curricula—create professional learning communities (PLCs) of teachers
  • hold remote (travel-less) meetings and workshops as much as possible
  • explore techniques to achieve the most effective teleconferencing meetings and workshops.
  • practice what we preach: promote not only teaching about minimizing environmental impacts of human activity, but minimize environmental impacts of professional development.
  • maintain ongoing communication and sharing of best practices among colleagues
  • strengthen knowledge and promote effective teaching strategies during and beyond the actual grant period.
  • as a project of the NASA Innovations in Climate Education (NICE), Lifelines incorporates analysis of NASA Earth observation data by students in classrooms.

The project design:
Cascading effect, recruiting and training 20 climate change education teacher leaders who then form the PLCs comprised of 15 high school science teachers, for a total of 320 teachers involved in the project.

Lifelines websites:

Lifelines final report to NASA:

Lifelines presentations archive page

Learn more about the partner organizations involved in the Lifelines Project at the Partners page.

Questions? contact Alan Gould Alan Gould's e-mail address