Participant FAQ

Q: Who is eligible to participate in the NURTURES program?
A: The NURTURES program is designed for current preschool through third grade classroom teachers who teach science or have the opportunity to teach science in their own classroom. Because the program builds upon experiences during the academic year, priority is given to teachers who have their own classroom or who assist with/co-teach science lessons daily within the same classroom (or multiple classrooms if in a science support position). If you do not currently have your own PreK-3 classroom, we still encourage you to apply for the program. Teachers who are considered resource teachers and do not currently have their own classroom may be offered a placement as availability permits.

Q: What are the dates & times for the 2018 & 2019 Summer Institutes ?
A: The NURTURES Summer Institute runs for two weeks Monday-Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm (with one hour for lunch)

2018: Monday July 9th - Friday July 20th, 2018

2019: Monday July 8th - Friday July 19th, 2019

Q: How do you determine who is accepted?
A: Acceptance is based on the number of applications and the amount of applications from the different grade levels.

Q: When will I be notified of my acceptance status?
A: Applicants will be notified of acceptance, beginning late January- early February.

Q: I lead a special education classroom. Am I eligible to apply?
A: Yes, the program accepts special education teachers from PreK-3 classrooms.

Q: I teach at a grade level outside of PreK-3. Am I eligible for the NURTURES program?
A: Our activities and instruction are aligned with standards for PreK-3. At this time, we cannot accommodate teachers outside of these grade levels.

Q: Can I choose the session in which I participate?
A: You will be placed in one of the two sessions. Schools are randomly assigned to participation years after applications are no longer accepted. We cannot at this time accept any requests for a particular session.

Q: How do I know if my school is eligible for participation?
A: Currently, our program accommodates participants from our partnering schools and facilities, who have helped support the grant from the proposal stage. (For a list, please see

Q: How long is the commitment? Can I just attend the Summer Institute?
A: The NURTURES program is a commitment of at least one full academic year. Once accepted, all participants will attend one Summer Institute (to be held in July 2018 or July 2019), seven two-hour academic year Professional Learning Community meetings or professional development sessions (scheduled at times conducive to the participants in each group), and complete the required academic year activities (which may include, but is not limited to activities such as classroom observation and video recording, lesson plan development and implementation, reflection activities, administering child assessments, participating in coaching sessions, etc.). Some participants will be randomly selected to complete academic year activities over two years of the program (2018-2019 and 2019-2020). Failure to complete the commitment results in total reimbursement of all stipends, equipment, and graduate fees and tuition to the program.

Q: Why are only some participants required to participate in academic activities for one year versus two?
A: The National Science Foundation provides funding for not only programming, but also research on the programming. Participants who are actively engaged in two years of academic year activities will help us further determine the impacts of our professional development on student academic achievement. This is an integral component to continued funding and expansion of the NURTURES program.

Q: Why do only some schools receive the Family Engagement materials?
A: The first phase of NURTURES demonstrated an impact of our program on academic achievement in students. This second phase is focused on trying to determine how much additive effect parent engagement has on student academic success. The program is structured so that we may conduct statistically valid research on the components of NURTURES. This research may help NURTURES secure additional funding for program expansion. Every attempt will be made to provide all participants with the family engagement resources after the research component of the program is over.

Q: What if I don’t have a bachelor’s degree? Can I still participate?
A: Yes, you may still participate in the program even if you are not eligible for graduate credit. If you are interested in obtaining undergraduate credit for the course, you may choose to pay for the credit hours yourself by setting up an independent study course. If you choose to participate in the program without pursuing college credit, you are still held to the same requirements of credit-seeking participants.

Q: My knowledge of technology is limited. Should I still apply?
A: We build opportunities to develop your skills with technology into our professional development program. Our trained staff is available to assist you, no matter what your skill level in technology currently is.

Q: How much work is involved?
A: Because the program is aligned with credit hours for graduate coursework, participants will be expected to complete readings and assignments to prepare for daily activities within the Summer Institute. Facilitators are cognizant of the amount of time spent within class during these two weeks and assignment load is appropriate for a two-credit hour class. Participants are expected to develop and implement high-quality science lessons for their own classroom throughout the academic year and actively prepare for the academic year professional development activities.