About iSEE Utah


What is iSEE?

informal Science Education Enhancement (iSEE) is a collaboration among nonprofit informal science education organizations in Utah. These groups receive funding from the Utah State Legislature to provide science experiences to students and teachers across Utah who would otherwise not be available to them.


How long has it existed?

iSEE began when the science organizations separated from the art education-focused Professional Outreach Program in the Schools (POPS) group to better specialize in providing informal science experiences.


Which organizations participate in iSEE?

Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, HawkWatch International, The Leonardo, Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, Natural History Museum of Utah, Ogden Nature Center, Red Butte Garden and Arboretum, Thanksgiving Point, and Utah’s Hogle Zoo


What are the objectives iSEE groups are working to meet?

iSEE programs serve K-12 teachers and students and are designed to spark students’ natural curiosity and sense of wonder by providing exciting opportunities to experience science, practice science skills, and gain a deeper understanding of science.

We provide:

  • Free, statewide, hands-on, inquiry-based outreach programs in schools
  • Models of best practices in science education based on Utah science standards
  • Free statewide professional development for teachers in our various areas of content expertise, including teaching resources and materials aligned to the state science standards
  • Lesson plans and pre- and post-visit activities
  • Pre- and post-lesson assessments
  • Classroom materials
  • Curriculum kits
  • Accurate and up-to-date science information


When will iSEE come visit my school?

Partners will visit schools determined by district, grade level and academic year; some will visit every year, some on a district rotating basis. 


How do I get support from iSEE in the years when they are not required to visit my district?

There are a large variety of resources available including various digital media, kits that can be used in the classroom, on-site field trips, distance learning, and teacher professional development.   


What is the role of the Utah State Board of Education in administering the iSEE program?

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) has been designated as the fiscal agent responsible for administering the iSEE program based on Legislative funding. Any changes to iSEE funding are based on Legislative request. Every year the USBE reviews and approves the iSEE budgets for outreach and programming. A USBE specialist (generally the science specialist) works as administrator for iSEE and meets with organizations monthly to facilitate their collaboration towards meeting common goals.


How do Utah Tax dollars help to support the iSEE organizations?

iSEE is funded by the Utah State Legislature, with monies administered through USBE.

iSEE exposes students to state standards with hands-on learning. For every tax dollar spent, iSEE partners provide 1:1 matching contributions.


What are requirements for the iSEE organizations to receive annual state funding?

iSEE organizations are required to provide outreach aligned to specific Utah science standards to every Local Educational Agency (LEA), including all district and charter schools in the state, in a three-year period. All received state funding must be matched 1 to 1 with institutional funding.


How can the work of iSEE organizations help support the implementation of new science standards?

iSEE organizations meet monthly under the facilitation of the Utah State Board of Education K-12 Science Education Specialist, and we collaborate with the STEM Action Center. This keeps all iSEE organizations up to date with current and future changes to science standards and priorities. Each organization is constantly striving to update K-12 resources to make sure they are best aligned with new practices. We provide exemplary lesson plans, teacher professional development workshops, outreach programs, and field trip offerings. In addition, representatives from each of the iSEE organizations attend USBE conferences and workshops to learn more about 3D Science instruction and stay up to date with new practices. The Utah State Board of Education Science Specialists continually attend programs offered by iSEE to provide feedback and ensure we are best implementing the new science standards. We provide workshop sessions at various Utah education conferences and meetings, including USTA and at the SSECC meetings.


How can an organization join the iSEE program?

New organizations interested in joining iSEE begin by applying for provisional funding, when available, through the legislative process. This provides a three-year pilot period after which the organization may join with iSEE members in a legislative request for ongoing funding. Organizations must have a history of providing organized educational programming, have capacity for the 1 to 1 fiscal match, and capacity to provide services to the entire state.

Suggestions for those interested:

  • Start attending monthly iSEE group meetings - contact Melissa Mendanhall at USBE for the schedule.
  • Contact the State Board of Education to get the RFP when it becomes available.
  • Make sure your organization is willing to provide matching funds for the iSEE funding.
  • Once accepted into the RFP/provisional group, you have about three years to become a line-item member.


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