Explore the California Current Ecosystem

California Current Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research Site

Paid Research Experience for Teachers

Deadline Extended!  Apply by May 28, 2021!

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The California Current Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research (CCE LTER) site invites middle and high school teachers in the San Diego area to participate in a Research Experience for Teachers (RET).  The RET program is an NSF-funded opportunity for K-12 educators to engage in authentic research experiences and then translate it to students and the broader education community.  The CCE-LTER site has been awarded funding to support two teachers beginning in early Summer 2021 and culminating at the end of Summer 2022.  

Teachers will be working towards developing data lessons and extended classroom curriculum based upon their experience with scientists. The CCE LTER site is based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and focuses on the ecosystem driven by coastal upwelling along the California Coast. The primary study area is focused on the Southern California region, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.  Additional information about the site can be found here. Interested teachers may come from a variety of content areas but should be willing to learn outside their area of expertise and develop cross-curricular teaching tools. 



The RET will begin in early Summer 2021 and continue through the 2021-22 school year.  The experience will conclude in August 2022. Total time commitment is expected to be approximately 450 hours with effort concentrated during the summer periods. The experience will include, but is not limited to, activities such as: meeting with their scientist collaborator, fellow RET teacher, and site Education Outreach Coordinator;  reading and understanding the work of the site and specifically the assigned lab; working independently on their data and curriculum development projects; developing and facilitating teacher professional development opportunities based upon their work; and participating in research experiences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 



Acknowledging that the situation is ever-changing, we anticipate that most, if not all, of the effort during Summer 2021 will be remote.  We hope to be able to offer in-person experiences during Summer 2022 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus. Work in the intervening school year will likely be a mix of remote support with select in-person experiences. 



  • Data Nugget based upon site research: Each teacher will work with mentors at the site as well as from the Data Nuggets group to develop a tool based upon site data.  
  • Presentation at teacher professional development workshop to be held in Spring 2022: The CCE Teacher Workshop introduces middle and high school teachers to the work done at the site and relevant classroom materials.  Teachers will be expected to present about their experience and share their Data Nugget with the group. The workshop is a full-day experience on a Saturday. 
  • Classroom curriculum related to research of scientist collaborators and site: Teachers are expected to develop a series of lessons that translates their experience to their students.  The curriculum should be NGSS-aligned, demonstrate best practices in science education, and be useful for the broader education community.  



Teachers that complete all aspects of the RET experience will receive a stipend of $10,000 paid in two installments.  The first payment ($5000) will be distributed after the successful completion of the Data Nugget and the second ($5000) after the classroom curriculum is accepted. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide stipends to teachers that are current employees of UC San Diego or UC San Diego Extension. 

Apply Now

Deadline Extended: Applications due May 28, 2021 at 5pm      



Please contact Cari Paulenich at cpaulenich@ucsd.edu or 858-822-1810.

Funding for this experience is provided by the California Current Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research site, a National Science Foundation (NSF) supported project.