FREE professional development for PreK-12 Educators

Brookfield Zoo is proud to host a year-long 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, etc.) begin this program by participating in montly online workshops from November through April, including a three-day intensive workshop each summer.

In addition to these workshops, our own Chicago Zoological Society staff will meet with you virtually twice a school year for mentoring and coaching as well as to provide feedback on program assignments and to discuss professional goals. This unique opportunity is provided by the Institute of Science Teaching Excellence, a program of the Chicago Zoological Society.

Get Started: Principals & Administrators

Interested in learning how to incorporate Science Fellows into your school for the 2021-2022 school year? 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. 


Two are Better than One!

To really get the most out of your experience in the Science Fellows program, we highly recommend that you sign up with at least one other educator in your school or district. This allows for you to collaborate and support one another through the program. 


Educator Sign Up 

Are you an educator interested in becoming a Science Fellow for the 2021-2022 school year 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:

November through April - Participate in monthly online workshops.
Summer - Three-day intensive workshop

Classroom Mentoring & Reflection

We recommend that you schedule at least one visit for our CZS staff to "come" to your classroom during the school year. 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:

✓ Two FREE graduate credits upon completion of all trainings and assignments through Dominican University
✓ Check in meetings
✓ Ongoing mentoring
✓ Office hours
✓ Discounted Brookfield Zoo membership
✓ Joining our network of science leaders through online support and collaboration
✓ Professional Development Hours (PDHs) over the course of the year


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.