Department of Biology

Rise&Teach

Rise & Teach

RISE&Teach is a long-standing partnership between the science departments at Georgetown University and the teachers and students of the District of Columbia Public Schools and public charter schools. Founded in 2004 by Dr. Heidi Elmendorf, RISE&Teach provides senior STEM majors at Georgetown with a unique opportunity to develop new ways of looking at science and science education, gain first-hand experience as curriculum designers and educators, and contribute to our surrounding community. We’ve worked in partnership with over a half dozen schools and 20 teachers throughout the city, representing a wide spectrum of backgrounds and pedagogical approaches, and we are deeply grateful to each and every one for their generosity in sharing their knowledge and their classroom with us. 

Through the RISE&Teach program, students work in pairs to partner with a classroom teacher to design and teach lesson plans twice a week for the entirety of their senior year. They are typically responsible for delivering ~80% of course content, developing lab activities, and assigning/grading homework and exams. Students also conduct inquiry projects into the effectiveness of their own teaching practices to help them become better and more successful teachers. Past foci for these inquiry projects have included such diverse interests as how to engage students by increasing the personal relevance of course material, the impact of exercises designed to foster growth mindset, and the effects of different strategies for choosing partners for cooperative work.

Georgetown STEM students apply to the program in the spring of their junior year and commit to spending time over the summer doing background reading in preparation for an intensive science pedagogy course in which they are enrolled concurrently with their first semester of student-teaching. The course is taught through an asset-based and culturally responsive pedagogical framework, and each class session is spent engaged in hands-on training activities with extensive feedback from faculty and peers.

Interested undergraduates and prospective DCPS teaching partners may contact Dr. Heidi Elmendorf, at hge@georgetown.edu.