Professional Development

Continuing Education

The UCDS Institute offers affordable and engaging professional development for teachers and school leaders throughout the school year. In partnership with the UCDS College for School Culture, we are opening select courses to local educators who would like to elevate their practice. Continuing education credits and clock hours are available to enrollees for an additional fee. 

Registration is limited to a small number of participants who will join our Master’s degree candidates for these quarter-long courses. Registrants should expect to fully participate in all aspects of each course including attendance and assignments.

View courses and enroll below.

Are you ready to start earning your Master’s degree? The UCDS College for School Culture is accepting applications for Fall 2022. Contact us to find out more and start your future this fall!

22-23 Winter Offerings • Enroll Now!

EDU 583 Student-Centered Curriculum Design

2 credits, 20 clock hours available
Register for EDU 583 Student-Centered Curriculum Design

“Powerful learning opportunities invite all students to the learning, having a low threshold for entry and a high ceiling so that learners can take themselves as far as they wish.” Opportunistic curriculum design challenges educators to use concepts at the core of their curricular structures and to individualize knowledge and skill supports so that all learners can engage and thrive. About mathematics instruction, John Van de Walle says that for math teachers to be truly effective, four components must come together:

  • an appreciation of the discipline of mathematics itself
  • an understanding of how students learn and construct ideas
  • an ability to design and select tasks so that students learn mathematics in a problem-solving environment
  • And the ability to integrate assessment with the teaching process in order to enhance learning and improve daily instruction.

This course will focus on the universal concept of opportunistic design. Building on their investigation into mathematics instruction, students will apply this concept to mathematical and non-math curriculum design. Conceptual deep dives, problem-solving experiences, and the integration of assessment into daily instruction will anchor participant experiences.

EDU 584 Designing Curriculum for Critical Thinking and 21C Skills

2 credits, 20 clock hours available
Register for EDU 584 Designing Curriculum for Critical Thinking and 21C Skills

Social studies and science offer excellent lenses through which to teach and reinforce critical thinking skills. Successful teachers of these subjects appreciate and understand the complexities of the content, the necessity for real-world applications for learning, and the need for the explicit instruction of thinking skills. Curriculum designed in this way creates a classroom culture of inquiry, engagement,  student ownership and voice, and the development of thinkers that can transfer skills to different domains.  

Using a skills-focused approach, students in this course will learn how to design meaningful science and social studies experiences for students that reinforce critical thinking skills, align with standards and draw connections to other curricular studies.  

Students will investigate the following elements:  

  • Purpose: intention and questions of the social studies investigations  
  • Knowledge: what learners need to understand  
  • Processes: what learners will be capable of doing  
  • Products: how learners demonstrate understanding  
  • Science and engineering practices: skills necessary to conduct investigations  
  • Disciplinary core ideas: key ideas in each domain  
  • Crosscutting concepts: connections across different scientific domains 

EDU 593 Using Assessment to Enhance Learning

3 credits, 30 clock hours available
Register for EDU 593 Using Assessment to Enhance Learning

If everyone gets an “A,” is that a sign of successful or unsuccessful teaching? What do grades and grade distribution communicate about what we value? Once we’ve designed meaningful assessments, how do we make sure we administer and use them effectively? Is the time teachers spend on scoring and giving feedback worth it? 

Continuing our exploration into the five key elements of successful assessment design, this class will hone in on the scoring component of assessment. Students will examine assessment practices at multiple schools and compare them with what they see at UCDS. 

Topics for this quarter’s seminar will include: scoring frequency, bell curves, report cards, norm-referenced and standardized tests, qualitative and quantitative methods, calibration protocols, rubrics, weighting, portfolios, peer-and self-evaluation, and tuning protocols. 

We will discuss implications of certain scoring routines with a focus on time management and previewing the meaningful use of assessments. Throughout the quarter, students will administer, score and deeply analyze their assessments through Student Work Protocols. 

22-23 Spring Offerings • Registration Coming Soon

EDU 524 Comparative School Cultures

2 credits, 20 clock hours available

Ron Ritchhart (2015) states that “culture is foundational (to schools) and determines how any curriculum comes to life.” Classroom culture, school culture, and a community’s culture all create the context for learning in our schools. Comparative School Cultures will examine education from both historical and organizational lenses. We’ll investigate the factors that define and influence school culture. We will use practicum experiences in different schools to analyze the roles played by artifacts, espoused beliefs and values, and underlying assumptions in each community. This study will increase students’ awareness and understanding of cultural forces and their role in shaping them.

EDU 586 The Democratic Classroom: Student Agency and Advocacy

2 credits, 20 clock hours available

How do social-emotional learning and confidence intersect with academic learning? This course will examine strategies to increase student voice and create thriving learning communities marked by shared understanding, ownership, and respect.  

Participants will take a deep dive into student voice, exploring questions that surround this centerpiece of our students’ experience: How does a strong sense of voice deepen a student’s learning experience? How do we design a school and classroom culture that cultivates and responds to student voice? How can students develop stewardship of their own learning experiences and communities? How can teachers facilitate growth in areas of agency and advocacy?  

Participants will be invited to grapple with these and other questions through lively discussions,  current readings, school observations, and hands-on projects. Participants will help shape our exploration of student voice, and will come away with understandings and strategies for deepening student engagement that are applicable in every educational community. 

EDU 595: Designing a Culture of Inquiry

3 credits, 30 clock hours available

What is inquiry-based learning? How can you integrate inquiry in the classroom to spark curiosity and engage students in deeper learning? Designing a Culture of Inquiry will examine the definitions, theories, and impacts of inquiry and identify strategies for enacting inquiry in planning, instruction, and assessment. We will highlight inquiry tools and methods that can be transferred across diverse early childhood through middle school contexts and domains. 

Instructors and participants will share and discuss classroom experiences and create plans to integrate new inquiry tools into our work. Additionally, ongoing opportunities to understand inquiry as it relates to the reflective practitioner will be woven throughout the course. Participants will actively engage in the inquiry cycle and investigate how it can provide a guide for continuous professional growth and deeper student learning.