Who Should Apply

Early career, Middle School (grades 5-8) STEAM teachers who have an interest in expanding their practice to include informal education techniques. Ideal candidates will have fewer than six years of full-time teaching experience and work with underserved student populations. Efforts will be made to enroll a cohort that supports a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment. Educators of color, LGBTQ+ educators, educators with disabilities, and educators working in the public sector, particularly Title I schools, are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Not sure whether you are the right fit for the program this year? Use our eligibility tool to find out. The tool is intended to give educators a good sense of their fitness for the next TII cohort. It is NOT your application to the program. TII cohorts are selected after submitting a complete application, which is reviewed through a multi-step process. Strong results on the eligibility tool indicate that you meet several of the requirements to be a part of our next cohort, but they don’t reflect any judgement or have any bearing on your final application.  

Eligibility Tool

Teachers Will Learn

During their time in Washington, DC, and during the school year, teachers will focus on authentic learning, including the incorporation of real-world problems, open-ended inquiry, and hands-on, student-driven practices. Cohort members will work to define the term as it relates to their practice and design content around it as they progress through the program. 

Through hands-on activities, museum tours, visits to other museums, group work, and expertise from museum educators and content experts, teachers will use aerospace science, history, and technology to shape their ideas about authentic learning and bring informal education techniques into their classrooms. 

As a part of the application process, teachers will be asked to propose a plan for development of their practice, both as professionals and as a member of their school community.

We Provide

  • There is no cost for teachers to participate. Teachers are provided with lodging, food, and travel.
  • During the institute, teachers will be given special museum experiences and access to content experts in both informal education and aerospace content.
  • Participants will also have opportunities to connect with their cohort and museum staff several times during the school year.

Expectations for Participants

  • Commit to two weeks each summer for two consecutive summers.
  • Collaborate with other TII teachers to develop and iterate upon your proposed plan. 
  • Actively participate in sessions led by Smithsonian Institution staff and guests on the marriage of informal and formal learning. 
  • Assist in the evaluation of and iteration upon current educational programming at the National Air and Space Museum. 

    Teachers participate in the TII. 

    Teachers participate in the TII.

    Teachers participate in the TII. 

    Teachers participating in TII. 

    Teachers participate in the TII.

How to Apply

The TII application will remain open until 11:59pm EST on February 15, 2022. Applications will be reviewed and all candidates will be notified by April 15, 2022.  

The application form will ask for basic contact and school information, as well as several documents. You cannot save your information and come back to it later, so please be prepared to submit a completed application.

Please submit the following via the application form:

  • Administrator sign-off on participation in the Institute. You may use the following form or have your admin write a letter of support: TII Administrator Sign Off
  • Two recommendation letters. Letters should address your role as an innovator in your teaching practice and other qualities that make you stand out.
    • Letter of recommendation from a peer.  
    • Letter of recommendation from a member of your community. This can be a student, parent, community member or leader in your district.
  • Professional Goals Statement
    • While TII events typically take place over the course of two summers, our objective is to develop lasting outcomes for our participants, the students they serve, and the communities they call home. No two educators are alike, and no two learning environments are the same, so it only makes sense to ask our TII applicants: How do YOU want to make an impact as an Innovator? 
    • If selected for TII, you will create your personal professional development plan based on your goals as a STEAM educator. We want you to consider your current goals and share why you wish to pursue them in the years ahead. Please use the provided template. During your first summer, you will refine your goals and add action items for the upcoming school year.  
  • A link to a short (< 3 minute) video introducing yourself and your community. The video should showcase you and your work with students and your community. How is your identity shaped by who and where you teach? How do you hope to make an impact there? You may use YouTube (listed or unlisted), Dropbox, or Google Drive. YouTube is strongly preferred.  

Apply Now

If you have any questions about the program or your eligibility, contact us.

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