Spark  Teacher  Education Institute leads Professional Development workshops for teachers and people interested in becoming teachers. Workshops are online and engage teachers in topics directly related to creating equity in classrooms.

2024 Professional Development Opportunities

Past Professional Development:

Teaching in Solidarity Continued Conversations

Monthly on the 3rd Thursdays @6pm EST

In 2020/21 Spark-led Teaching in Solidarity w/ Black Lives professional development sessions for over 100 educators. We have continued our learning together through monthly discussions for the past year. Teaching in Solidarity is a practice of understanding our ideas and interrogating pedagogies in order to work for a more just world. In these sessions, we will support, collaborate and enrich our teaching curriculum and skills. In the coming months we will discuss:  

  • Ideas of why people are poor
  • The demonization/pathologization of the poor
  • The relationship between wealth and poverty
  • And analyze the ideas that children are taught in schools

We hope that you will join the Spark community for these vital conversations, which are driven by the interests and experiences of the group. Please fill out this form if you are interested in receiving updates in the future for Teaching in Solidarity Continuing PD to receive readings and zoom information. 

System Change not Climate Change: Climate Justice for Classrooms

Our ecology is in a state of crisis and the ‘business as usual’ approach that prioritizes profit is destroying
our planet and our well-being, and all living creatures. Join a 4-week professional development with
Spark Teacher Education Institute to take a deep dive into analyzing the social, political, and economic
systems that are facilitating planetary destruction. We will use texts from Fred Magdoff and Chris
Williams (2017) Creating an Ecological Society which presents a socio-political, race, class, and gender
analysis of the ecological crisis; Winona LaDuke (1999) All Our Relations, and Aviva Chomsky’s (2022) Is
Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions About Climate Justice (Myths Made in America). In addition to
the four sessions, there will be guest speakers. The aim of this professional development is to ground
ourselves in a people-centered analysis of the ecological crisis, integrate the analysis into the curriculum,
and identify steps toward building a movement.

Teaching in Solidarity with Black Lives and for the Emancipation of Humans

Join this workshop to engage in an online learning communities aimed at building curricula that centers Black lives and equity.  We will co-construct curriculum and interrogate our pedagogy. Through study and reflection, we will build upon our experiences and understanding. We will continue to learn together and work towards organizing for Black lives to matter in schools. 

You will receive 15 hours of  professional development credits (that includes meetings and independent work).

There will be 3 groups to choose from: Science/Math, Humanities, and Early Childhood/Elementary (for more details see below). 

Tuesdays from 4:30-6:30pm EST. March 2, 16, 30 + April 13th. 

Contact for more information.

Why Join this PD? 

Teaching in solidarity with Black lives is more than just methods or adding a social justice lesson. Teachers need to investigate and challenge white supremacy in their pedagogy and curricula.  Teaching in Solidarity with Black Lives is an opportunity for educators to connect a long history of racialized inequities to classroom practices, curriculum, and broader structures of schooling. These sessions are organized to offer a place for questioning and active collaboration. Together we will forge new paths of inquiry that ultimately center the emancipation of all humans.

Groups for PD Sessions: 

STEM (Group 1)

Racialized injustices and structural inequities in STEM require educators to critically examine mathematics and science teaching and learning. Throughout this professional development course, we will examine the question: How can we take up the call to teach in solidarity with Black lives in science and math? What knowledge and histories shape our approaches to mathematics and science education? What histories and knowledge are silenced? And how can science and math education be a place for critical examination of the world as we strive for justice?

Humanities (Group 2)  

In eurocentric curricula, students often only learn about Black experience in America through a unit about slavery and a unit about the civil rights movement, perpetuating the idea that racism is something of the past. We need to construct curricula that sees Black history as human history. How can our teaching help students understand that history lays the foundation for the present? How can our teaching be humanizing and make connections? And crucially, how can we show that it is the resistance of many that creates a better world for all? 

Early Ed/Elementary (Group 3) 

Teaching in support of Black lives at an early age requires us to be clear about our own thinking. This is essential because racism permeates society and is passed to children both implicitly and explicitly. How do we help young children to see everyone’s humanity as connected to their own? How do we help students to think critically about the world and strengthen their sense of justice and fairness? How do we extend community in our classrooms towards building a human community?