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 Graduate School of Education, 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 Graduate School of Education 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

Tuesdays
4:00-6:00pm
2 credits, 20 clock hours available
Register for EDU 583 Student-Centered Curriculum Design

Putting all students at the center of curriculum design challenges educators to create curriculum so that all learners can engage and thrive. These powerful learning opportunities result in long-term skill and information retention for students, as well as high student engagement and investment. One approach of student-centered curriculum is low floor, high ceiling (LFHC) instructional design; this method is grounded in a growth mindset philosophy creating student resilience and a love of learning. These types of curricular approaches allow for each student to both have an entry point and find a place for challenge.

Educators in this course will form an understanding of the distinction between concepts, skills, and processes and the role of each in designing student-centered learning opportunities for students. This course will focus on designing learning opportunities for all students, utilizing the LFHC model as well as others such as Visual Thinking Strategies, and Universal Design for Learning. Students will apply these models to both mathematical and non-math curriculum design.

Conceptual deep dives, problem-solving experiences and the integration of assessment into daily instruction will anchor participant experiences. Through practicum and reflections, educators will identify effective practices for capitalizing on learning opportunities. Participants will uncover how to check for understanding of concepts and to coach learners from an instructional standpoint that supports each individual. Assignments will create a space for educators to design learning experiences to engage and challenge a broad range of student understandings.

EDU 584 Designing Curriculum for Critical Thinking and 21C Skills

Tuesdays
6:30-8:30pm
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 use the Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards to guide curriculum development. These include four domains: Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action (IDJA).

Course Objectives:

  • Examine how 21st century skills, particularly critical thinking are taught through social studies and science curriculum.
  • Become familiar and understand the ten themes of social studies as outlined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).
  • Become familiar and understand the three dimensions of science learning as outlined by the Next Generations Science Standards (NGSS).
  • Create individualized/differentiated classroom experiences based on the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, the Next Generations Science Standards, and Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards.
  • Plan learning experiences for students to apply critical thinking and 21st century skill practices.

EDU 593 Using Assessment to Enhance Learning

Thursdays
5:30-8:30pm
3 credits, 30 clock hours available
Register for EDU 593 Using Assessment to Enhance Learning

Through our exploration into the purpose, type, and selection of various assessments, we will delve into the design, scoring (rubrics), and feedback routines for assessment. Together, we will design and evaluate authentic “educative” assessments and scoring rubrics. We will also explore assessment management, student self-and peer-evaluation, professional learning networks, and instructional feedback. Coursework is designed to be applied right away in your education context.

Students should anticipate spending approximately 2-3 hours each week preparing for class in order to engage in discussions and activities focused on authentic assessments, performance genres, and assessment criteria (going beyond validity and reliability and into issues of credibility, usefulness, balance, honesty, intellectual rigor, and feasibility). We will also use an equity-based lens to our design and evaluative work.

22-23 Spring Offerings • Registration Coming Soon

EDU 524 Comparative School Cultures

Tuesdays
4:00-6:00pm
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

Tuesdays
6:30-8:30pm
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

Thursdays
5:30-8:30pm
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.