FREE instructional opportunity for PreK-12 Educators in Chicago Public Schools 

Brookfield Zoo is proud to host a multi-year intensive professional development program that combines out-of-school Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-focused workshops with virtual classroom mentoring and observation to help educators enhance hands-on science learning remotely, in the classroom, and a combination of both. The emphasis of this program is on understanding and implementing NGSS and inquiry-based learning strategies.

Educators (including but not limited to teachers, media specialists, administrators, department chairs, or instructional support leaders) begin this multi-year program by participating in a multi-day intensive virtual workshop in late August. Follow up evening workshops take place once a month in October, November, March, and April.

In addition to these workshops, our own Chicago Zoological Society staff will provide classroom observations twice a school year. Educators will receive ongoing mentoring and feedback throughout the year on their implementation of workshop topics in the classroom as well as their professional goals. Educators in the Science Fellows also enjoy these additional opportunities and benefits: This unique opportunity is provided by the Institute of Science Teaching Excellence, a program of the Chicago Zoological Society.

Get Started: CPS Principals & Administrators

Interested in learning how to incorporate Science Fellows into your CPS school? To get started, please fill out the form below to tell us a little about yourself, your school (or district), and your goals. Once you've completed the form, we'll reach out to you to discuss the details of your school's participation and answer any questions you have. 


Learn More: For non-CPS Educators, Principals, & Administrators

Interested in this professional development experience for yourself or teachers at your school(s) but you are not connected to Chicago Public Schools? Let's chat! Fill out the form below to tell us more about yourself, your needs, and your organization so we can talk more about how to support you. 


Learn More: CPS Educators

Are you a CPS educator interested in becoming a Science Fellow or simply interested in learning more? Please complete the form below to tell us a little about yourself, your school, and your professional goals. Once you've completed the form, we'll reach out to you to discuss the details of your participation, your professional development goals, and answer any questions you have about the program.


Additional Information

Below you will find additional resources. Click on each header below to learn more. 
Example Fellows Workshops and Schedule

Curious about how Science Fellows fits into your busy teaching schedule? Here's an example of how we integrate our program into your school year:

August - Participate in a multi-day training each year you are in the program. We are currently hosting this training virtually.Non-CPS Educator Contact Information
October, November, February, and March - Participate in one two-hour training each of these months. We also offer make-up sessions in December and April.
Fall and Spring - a CZS staff member will visit your classroom twice each school year (virtually, for now) for observation to provide you with feedback and mentoring.

Classroom Mentoring & Reflection

We recommend that you schedule at least one Fall and one Spring visit for our CZS staff to "come" to your classroom. These evaluations are done in order to capture data that will be used to help improve your practice. It is helpful to choose a time when you are teaching science content, but it is not required.

Our team is also available upon request for pedagogical assistance, including planning, modeling, co-teaching, assistance with station-learning activities, “observing” classroom management and pedagogical techniques, assistance with tailoring lessons to NGSS/Common Core, and other tasks as requested.

Additional Benefits

Participating educators receive the following benefits through their participation in Science Fellows program:

✓ Stipend of $200 annually (for up to two years)
✓ One free one-credit Teacher Class of your choice
✓ Discounted Brookfield Zoo membership
✓ Materials for your classroom to replicate activities from each training
✓ Joining our network of science leaders through online support and collaboration
✓ A minimum of 38 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) over the course of two years.


For additional details please contact Jenn Noncek-Eastman at


Brookfield Zoo has developed many tools to assist educators in sharing information about animals, science, and caring - the things that form the basis of conservation at the zoo and in the wild. We encourage educators to use the information gathered by the zoo to share concepts about data gathering and scientific research, and to use the zoo's charismatic animals to help inspire excitement for learning. Be informed, entertained, and engaged by special classes just for teachers. Plus you can earn PDCHs and optional graduate credit through Dominican University.