New resource connects K-12 educators and students to Penn State

While summer break is here for schools around Pennsylvania, teachers and parents know learning never stops. Parents looking for educational opportunities for their children, and educators looking for professional development opportunities and ideas for the next school year, have a new resource in Penn State’s K-12 Engagement Network website.

The website offers an ever-growing directory of K-12 student and educator opportunities that exist across Penn State campuses throughout the year. Listings of summer workshops and camps are just some of the ways it can help students and teachers stay up-to-date over break and during the school year.

“The K-12 Engagement Network site is not only the one-stop shop for all opportunities and events for our K-12 communities across the commonwealth, but also for those outside of Pennsylvania,” said Amanda Smith, director of the K-12 Engagement Network. “As a former teacher and administrator, it would have been quite helpful to have all resources and opportunities in one location at any neighboring college or university in which to turn to.”

The website showcases learning opportunities for students through Penn State summer camps, contests and challenges. Professional development resources for educators listed on the website include summer workshops offered through Penn State, including AG Seed-Lings, Astronomy 2023: The Lives and Deaths of Stars Workshop, and Elementary Engineering Training for PA STEELS Standards (PDF).

Virtual resources are available for use in the classroom, and a listing of Penn State-related field trips offers potential opportunities for teachers to engage with students outside of the classroom.

All of these resources are compiled through the K-12 Engagement Network in an effort to share all that Penn State has to offer educators and students across the commonwealth and beyond, supporting the land-grant mission of the University.

“The goal for the K-12 Engagement Network is to be a bridge between our K-12 communities and all of Penn State. As a land-grant institution, we have the capacity and the resources to support a variety of needs and new partnerships with schools,” Smith said. “My hope is to showcase the vast potential and opportunities available to get involved with Penn State, well before pursuing next steps after high school. As much as Penn State is a vital contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy, we are also making an impact in the K-12 space as well and have the ability to do so much more.”

Another resource on the website is the Education for the Future speaker series of webinars and in-person events that highlight innovations in education and hot topics in the K-12 space.

“It is an opportunity to learn best practices from educators in the field and hear from researchers and other experts that make an impact in education,” Smith said.

Next academic year’s topics include AI integration in K-12 schools, workforce education, the fourth industrial revolution, sustainability strategies for schools, and inspiring educators. The full schedule will be released in August.

Smith encourages Penn State faculty and staff to share educational opportunities and resources through the faculty and staff section of the website.