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Learning Community Model
Learning Community Model
Learning Community Model
Program Overview
The Organization
Program Delivery Teams
Milestones and Achievements
Learning Community Network
Build Your Program
Rallying Support in Your Community
To understand what the Journey though the Universe program can offer to your community, it's appropriate to begin with the program's three core beliefs, defining—

Our Purpose:
We believe that to continue the legacy of scientific exploration, every generation must be inspired to learn what we know about our world and the Universe, and how we have come to know it.

Our Pedagogy:
We believe that learners must see themselves in the stories we tell, and experience scientific exploration through their own involvement.

Our Approach to Programs:
We believe that it takes a community to educate a child...and a network of communities to reach a generation.

These beliefs define our educational purpose, the experience for the learner, and a commitment to diverse learning experiences across entire communities.
Learning Community Model

Learning Community ModelWe believe that stories of exploration have to be told across an entire community so that studentsthe next generationcan be inspired and educated by teachers in the classroom, parents at home, and educators in informal settings like museums and science centers.  That's why Journey through the Universe offers a customized suite of programs capable of addressing all possible audiences and educational venues within a community.

School programs for students, professional development for educators, programs for families and the public, exhibitions, distance learning programs, and experiences delivered via the web, all provide multiple pathways for learning.  It is a model for the creation of a 'Learning Community'.  When these diverse programs are delivered in concert, allowing leveraging of experiences, audiences, and resources, the result is truly a community-wide experience where the whole is far greater than the sum of the programmatic parts.  This is realized at a personal level as parents and their children take a journey together in subjects relevant to the curriculum, and parents become engaged in their children's education.

The Journey through the Universe Learning Community Model addresses the entire grade prek-20 pipeline, supporting the continuum of educational experiences that is vital to ensure both a science and technology literate public and the next generation of scientists and engineers.  Compendia of grade K-12 lessons support the programming.  They are developed from national standards and benchmarks, and most often dovetail so well with the Earth and space science curriculum at the local level that they can be adopted as core components of the curriculum.

The Center is therefore uniquely positioned to take an entire community to the frontiers of exploration through the Journey through the Universe program.  It is how we've decided to support exploration for generations to come, and carry on the legacy of those past explorers that dedicated their lives to revealing the Universe to the human race.

Program Delivery
The Learning Community Model defines the Journey through the Universe program landscape.  Three criteria govern how these programs are to be delivered—
The breadth of our program capabilities allows a community to address their short- and long-term strategic objectives in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education by choosing programming based on their targeted educational content, educational venues, and audiences.  Journey through the Universe is tailored to the community.  It is a model that deeply embraces the notion that only the community is in a position to understand their educational needs.  The complexion of programming in each community is therefore unique.
We deliver programs systemicallye.g., providing audiences across entire school districts with experiences that can be embedded at the curricular level, and enhanced with programmatic components delivered through local informal venues such as museums and science centers, and at home.  This approach allows Journey through the Universe to naturally interface with other systemic educational activities in the community, e.g., curriculum development, adoption, and delivery; assessment of student performance; and professional development for teachers.
We believe that to make a lasting difference requires a commitment to sustainable programs providing content and experiences across the community
Quotation: Jim Sisney
  on an ongoing basis.  The concept is that the community initially underwrites Journey through the Universe programmingon a strictly cost recovery basiswhich transitions by design to sustainable programming that no longer requires underwriting.  First and foremost, such sustainability requires strategic buy-in from school systems.  If that buy-in is present, then our commitment to sustainability includes: 1) the training of a team of STEM lead teachers in the community that can serve as an enduring local content and programming asset; 2) training on a comprehensive suite of program logistics and scheduling tools; 3) a programming How-To Manual; 4) a program implementation plan that includes a transition to full community oversight of program planning and delivery in the near term; 5) identification of local presenter talent; 6) an annual conference providing supplemental training, and; 7) extensive content resources that will be provided on a long-term basis in support of ongoing programming and without charge.
Phased Approach
We also believe that a phased approach to community-wide programming is appropriate.  Your community can define an initial gateway program targeting a very specific audience.  This 'test-bed' approach allows the community to assess program buy-in and impact, as well as our ability to deliver national programs at the local level. 
Diverse Communities
Community-wide program models have been developed and assessed over a wide range of environs, including: under-served rural communities with both large and small geographic footprints; inner-city urban areas with high minority populations; a multiple school district model; school district-led, science center-led, and university-led initiatives; a single grade level model across a large school system; and a comprehensive grade preK-20 approach in smaller school districts.
Quotation: Ann Joyal
Local Framework

The Learning Community Model recognizes the diversity of stakeholders in education within a community, including: school districts, museums/science centers, universities, civic and business organizations, and the public.   Journey through the Universe therefore offers you a wonderful framework within which to develop partnerships with other local stakeholders. 

In fact, our ability to deliver strategic, systemic, and sustainable programming across a community requires a vibrant partnership between us and a local consortium of education stakeholdersa Local Teamif we are to deliver effective programming.  We are deeply committed to fostering these long-lasting partnerships, and we embrace flexible approaches to programming that are capable of satisfying the strategic goals of all partners.

National Framework
USRA and NASAThe Learning Community Model also provides a framework for national education organizations to pool and deliver their programming resources.  Recognizing this partnership opportunity, USRA's National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center signed a NASA Space Act Agreement.  It is a strategic partnership that promotes the delivery of Goddard education programs and other education assets, by Goddard's education and research staff, to communities in their mid-Atlantic service area through the coherent framework of the Journey through the Universe Learning Community Model.  USRA NASA
Journey through the Universe
Contact Us
For information, please contact Jeff Goldstein at (301) 395-0770 or via e-mail at info@ncesse.org.
New Content
Journey through the Universe Brochure (PDF, 804 KB)
Become a Journey Community (PDF, 392 KB)
Journey through the Universe Week (PDF, 484 KB)
Journey Program Menu (PDF, 308 KB)
Journey Community Resources (PDF, 344 KB)
Milestones (PDF, 360 KB)
Testimonials (PDF, 244 KB)
©2008, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education