CCERS STEM + C – Emphasis on the Professional Learning of the Classroom Teachers – Expansion of the Pillar

Lauren Birney, Denise M. McNamara


This qualitative study chronicles one of the fundamental pillars of the Curriculum and Community Enterprise for Restoration Science (CCERS). The professional development is focused on curricula that are grounded in the community-based environmental restoration of the waterways of New York Harbor. Centered on the restoration of the native oyster population, hundreds of New York City public school teachers take part in this experience with the intent of increasing their own place-based pedagogical content knowledge and skills. Most of the participants teach in school with populations that are underrepresented in post-secondary STEM majors and STEM related careers. Professional learning activities for teachers and community scientists were offered throughout the 2021 calendar year. Professional Learning Activity Surveys were administered and teachers responded to questions about how they participated in CCERS events, the ways in which CCERS participation has impacted their teaching practice, whether they use CCERS activities for student research, and ways CCERS participation impacts student STEM career interest. An intended outcome is to instill a STEM identity in students identifying as URM and to bring STEM career awareness to these students. More than 72% of the teachers in the professional development sessions agreed that the professional learning activities were effective in providing new STEM content knowledge and best practices for teaching. The majority also reported that the sessions enabled them to increase their students’ engagement with STEM and interest in STEM careers.

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Copyright (c) 2022 Lauren Birney, Denise M. McNamara

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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