Charles A. Dana Center
Mathematics, Science, Leadership, Effective Teaching Practices, Equitable Structures, Capacity Building
The Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin dismantles barriers in education systems to ensure all students—especially those from diverse backgrounds—have equitable access to and success in an excellent education. Our team works across the education spectrum—from developing and delivering innovative curriculum and professional learning to catalyzing the evolution of systems, structures, and policies. Our work supports educators, administrators, and policymakers in the K–16 system for all students.
To support teachers and administrators in the OpenSciEd implementation, the Dana Center offers a range of services designed explicitly to support school systems in eliminating persistent achievement gaps and increasing access to rigorous and relevant learning for all. We flexibly adapt the design and enactment of innovations in collaboration with states and districts to tailor learning experiences that address the needs and context of each system. Learning experiences for OpenSciEd implementation and other NGSS-aligned science instruction include:
- Using anchoring phenomena to position students as sense-makers, questioners, and investigators of science concepts
- Providing opportunities for students to drive learning as they use the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts to explore and develop explanations for science core ideas
- Providing opportunities for students to engage with authentic science sources through speaking, reading, and writing
- Formatively assessing student understanding through iterative modeling and discourse
- Promoting effective professional learning communities using collaborative processes
Our mission is to help school systems build capacity and ownership for increasing access to and success in mathematics and science education for all students, particularly those who have been historically marginalized. We assist districts in recognizing inequitable outcomes, identifying their root causes, and strategizing for and implementing research-based approaches to ensure high expectations and productive outcomes for each student. We are actively working to deepen our understanding of how racism operates in schools and to shape our explicit approaches to increase agency, internally and externally, to effectively disrupt that racism.
Using tools such as innovation configuration maps and professional learning modules, the Dana Center builds teacher and leader understanding of mathematics and science content and how it is taught through HQIM and domain-specific pedagogies. Using a systems approach, we continuously improve our services using the best available research on adult learning and leadership. We deliver content through protocols that build capacity to make sense of and equitably implement HQIM sustainably and for the long term.
Where We Work
OpenSciEd Professional Learning
- Curriculum Launch
- Facilitator Training
- Ongoing Support/Unit Launch
- Unit Adaptation Support
Other Professional Learning
- Strategic District Implementation
- Supporting Science Coaches