Partnership Profile: Smithsonian Academies Result in Better Teaching

Teachers work with experts in their fields when they take part in Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers.

Hands-on activities are a big part of the experience at the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers.

No one does science quite like the Smithsonian Institution, so the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEAT) is a unique way to raise the quality of education for many students.

Each year, teachers from across America travel to Washington, D.C., to spend a week of intense study at the world’s largest museum and research complex.

In 2013, 60 teachers from 20 states attended one of the three SSEAT academies, Biodiversity; Energy: Past, Present, & Future; and Earth’s History and Global Change. Dow sponsored 40 of those 60 teachers.

“SSEAT’s ultimate goal is to positively impact the science learning of students in our nation’s schools through professional development of their teachers,” the Smithsonian said in a recent report. “We have been very fortunate to have visionary, dedicated supporters that believe in the importance of inquiry-based science education and the need to have teachers across the country properly trained to bring this effective science education model to classrooms in their school districts and communities. As a four-year leadership funder of the SSEAT, The Dow Chemical Company is making a major difference in teacher professional development and student achievement.”

Teachers who attend the academies consistently show improved understanding as measured by pre/post testing. And they say the experience is fantastic.

“The days were full of meeting fascinating people, doing great hands-on activities, and visiting places I would probably have never seen,” one participant wrote. “The knowledge I gained from the whole academy will not go to waste. It ties directly into our eighth-grade science unit on alternative energy.”

The 2014 SSEAT season begins in June with the Biodiversity academy. For more information about the program, go to