"I think one of your particular strengths is providing feedback during the curriculum design process. Your comments were dead on in terms of helping me to focus my ideas and get at the main point of where I wanted the kids to go.” - Karin Ames, Middle School Teacher, South Hero, Vermont (Teacher Comment on Curriculum Coaching in Watershed for Every Classroom 2009-2010)



Workshop and Course Opportunities

Mountain Foliage

Contact Our Curriculum Matters about professional development possibilities.

See Events Listing for upcoming and ongoing professional development opportunities!


On-site Courses and Workshops


  • New understanding of learning in the context of the local community with a focus on personal relevance to the student, acquisition of subject-related content and understanding of places, civic engagement and personal futures.
  • Development of standards-based/Common Core aligned curriculum that engages students in the local environment.
  • Support for teachers to develop effective, sustainable plans to navigate the multiple demands from state and Federal mandates.
  • Creation of curriculum to accommodate particular places and specific areas of focus such as: watershed, cityscape, river ecosystem, neighborhoods.




My vision of excellent professional development is teachers out in the field, knee-deep in the river, exploring a city-scape with new eyes. Teachers need time to think about what and how they are learning and what learning in a new environment would mean to their students. And time to talk.

See blog post about recent professional development Amy offered in South Bend, Indiana.

Workshops and Courses ideally have these three elements:

New information, readings and ideas pertinent to classroom practice.

Examining our practice and making plans to change and improve involve learning – or re-examining new material.  This includes a rich sampling of curricular exemplars and case studies. Sometimes it isn’t the newness of the ideas but the time to think about them in a new light. A teacher in a workshop a few weeks ago said: “I’m just realizing that we have done all these good things—we just aren’t doing them anymore. There are whole binders and resources that we used a long time ago—that are just gathering dust on our shelves….”

Quotes from teachers in Fairfield, Vermont who took part in a year-long course on PLACE-based Education at their school (2009-2010):

“I like the way you have pulled in the intent of the group to be the foundation of the class”

“There is a snowball effect in this class….listening and sharing ideas and realizing that most of us all want to move our school forward.”

“I love the great books and articles to rejuvenate me as a teacher!”

“You model some excellent teaching behaviors and strategies.”

“I liked that you came to us!”

“I love being able to work and plan with my colleagues.” 

Teachers learning on the river!

Time to experience the learning they are considering for their students.

Teachers too should get out in the river, ask questions of city residents, compile responses to a quality of life index. They need to experience what it means to “interrogate a site.” Learning to learn outside the classroom is a challenge for learners of all ages. “We need to bring the out—in!”  said one teacher.

“As teachers, we can sometimes forget all that goes into learning and applying a new skill. Going through that experience ourselves can help us better understand our students and all that they will need to know and be able to do in order to come to new understandings.” - Eve Dubois, WEC teacher, 2008-2009

Time to collaborate with peers.

Professional Development should include time to DO THE WORK—not just think about it. Teachers often are not given the time to figure out how it will best work in their classroom. A long-range plan for implementation of new ideas is key to its sustainability. The use of protocols is helpful to structure this thinking and to give it life after the formal professional development time is over. 

Quotes from teachers who took part in a school-wide, week-long residency at City High School in Tucson, Arizona.

 “I loved how we organized the residency around an inspirational, big picture topic—place-based education---and focusing it on a specific event at our school was awesome.” 

“Very cool to talk with Amy about my ideas---dynamic!”  

“I like fitting in professional development time in the cracks of our week.”  

“I loved the futures protocol and the dialogue it generated.”

“I like the idea of bringing the conference to us and having time to collaborate and plan.”

“You were available, energetic, positive and thoughtful at all times. I think one of your particular strengths is providing feedback during the curriculum design process. Your comments were dead on in terms of helping me to focus my ideas and get at the main point of where I wanted the kids to go. Your last review, for example, included comments on my culminating project handout that entirely hit the mark - I needed to clarify the question/purpose for the kids in the document. I truly appreciated all your feedback.”  - Karin Ames, Middle School Teacher, South Hero, Vermont Teacher Comment on Curriculum Coaching in Watershed for Every Classroom. 2009-2010. 

Guest Presentation on Place-based Education

“Thank you for presenting in my Integrative Curriculum class. The students gave very positive feed-back on your class session.
They really enjoyed you as a presenter and they still bring up concepts of place-based education. You had a strong impact on them.
” - Aostre Johnson, Professor, Graduate Education, St Michaels College, Colchester, Vermont


See Events Listing for upcoming and ongoing professional development opportunities!