Smithsonian Science Leadership Development and Strategic Planning Institute | Washington, DC

Smithsonian Science Leadership Development and Strategic Planning Institute | Washington, DC

The SSEC’s holds its flagship institute annually during the summer in Washington, DC. This year's institute will take place from July 27-31, 2020.

Are you looking to improve your science education program but don't know where to begin? At this intensive week-long Institute, you and your team of dedicated educators, administrators, and stakeholders will gain an in-depth understanding of the LASER model. We address the elements necessary for a quality science education program from the research behind how children learn to the mechanics of implementing an inquiry-based science curriculum. Content-driven sessions and activities delivered by a range of experienced professionals in the field are balanced with opportunities to plan strategically as a team.

To learn more about this program contact Katie Gainsback at

Institute Objectives

Over the course of the week participants will:

  1. Review the implications of research and new standards to the learning and teaching of science and to the implementation of a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program.
  2. Construct a vision for inquiry-based, hands-on STEM education that supports a scientifically literate, career-ready citizenry.
  3. Develop a five-year strategic plan for improving K-12 STEM education programs by addressing the five elements of the Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) systemic reform model - curriculum, professional development, materials support, community and administrative support, and assessment and evaluation.
  4. Exchange knowledge with other professionals committed to improving education for all students.

By week's end teams will complete a strategic plan draft to carry them into their next steps as well as obtain a new network of people and resources to aid in their work. Check out an overview of last year's program below, for more detail on the week's agenda:Overview of the 2018 Strategic Planning Institute agenda.

Fees and Registration

Registration for the 2020 institute is now open. Registration will close when the institute reaches capacity or at 11:59pm ET on Friday, June 12, whichever comes first.

It is recommended the five-person leadership team includes:
1.    A high-level district administrator such as a curriculum coordinator.
2.    A school-based administrator or department chair.
3.    An experienced elementary school teacher with demonstrated leadership skills.
4.    An experienced secondary school STEM teacher with demonstrated leadership skills.
5.    A community member or business partner committed to improving science education

The cost to attend is $7,000 per five-person team.
Each additional participant is $1,500. This fee includes:
•    Meeting materials, presenters and resources
•    Continental breakfast and lunch each day
Registration does not include transportation and lodging expenses.