March 17, 2017

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Teaching Inquiry Learning Together (TILT)

I am pleased to announce that the Virginia Department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Office of Special Education Instructional Services, in partnership with James Madison University, will again sponsor a collaborative science-inclusion special education institute at the University’s summer 2017 Content Teaching Academy (CTA).  This exciting program, Teaching Inquiry Learning Together (TILT), is designed for science and special educator school teams working together to enhance all student outcomes. The program will focus on improved science process and inquiry laboratory skills, content understanding, pedagogical strategies, collaboration strategies, and networking.  The CTA TILT program will run from June 26-27, 2017.

Middle and high school science and special educator co-teaching teams are the primary audience for this program.  The Department is seeking two-member teams from individual middle and high schools.  Priority will be given to teachers who teach in schools that have not met the state benchmarks on the Grade 8 Science, Earth Science, or Biology Standards of Learning assessments.  The two-day program will include strategies for implementing inquiry laboratory opportunity in science classrooms as well as combined pedagogy sessions with opportunities to model effective instructional strategies and co-teaching practices.  Time will be structured on a daily basis to support school team planning and coordination.

Each of the three concurrent, discipline-based TILT sections is designed to:

The Virginia Department of Education will assume the cost of registration, stipend ($200), lodging, and meals for all public school participants accepted into the program. Teachers from schools not meeting the state benchmark for accreditation in science will be given priority. School divisions are strongly encouraged to cover travel expenses for division participants as this cost is not assumed by the Department; however, this is not a requirement of the program.

For more detailed information regarding this program and how to register, please visit the CTA Web siteThis link takes you out of the Virginia Department of Education website.  If you have additional questions about the program, please contact Dr. Anne Petersen, Science Coordinator, Office of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, by email at or by telephone at (804) 225-2676; or Dr. Teresa Lee, Instructional Specialist, Office of Special Education and Instructional Services, by email at or by telephone at (804) 371-8283.