HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Center for STEM Education is partnering with the Hattiesburg Zoo to facilitate a year-long professional development opportunity for Hattiesburg-area teachers called NExUS2 Teachers-on-the-Move. Teachers from any grade level and any subject area are eligible to participate.

The program invites Hattiesburg teachers to engage in a variety of hands-on activities including teaching with zoo educators and animal ambassadors to advance instructional repertoires and serving a diverse intergenerational community. 

The program encourages teachers to look beyond schools for sites of inspiration to impact student learning and create positive experiences with science.

Throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, NExUS2 teachers will participate in 12, two-hour, professional development sessions and be expected to serve as recurring docents at the Hattiesburg Zoo. All of these activities will happen outside of the regular school day on the first Monday of every month. 

The program focuses on the following learning objectives:

  • Exploring how informal and formal education partnerships can support meaningful teacher development
  • Gaining hands-on-experience working with zoo educational materials and animal ambassadors
  • Learning how to design for equity-driven curriculum and instruction
  • Leveraging informal education spaces to foster culturally-relevant education experiences within and beyond schools; and more

Toward the end of the program, teachers will be able to apply docent and professional development experiences to design an extension project specific for their classroom or school community.

Anyone who would like to participate, must register by May 31, to secure a spot for the summer enrollment cycle or by July 15 for the fall at uosm.wildapricot.org.