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Through this comprehensive PD plan, you will be encouraged to learn about new educational trends and implementation of new standards, develop confidence you and your students, and engage in meaningful collaboration of innovative ideas, skills and expertise with your peers and University professors to positively affect student outcomes.  We are eager to embark on this innovative journey with you.

Rebecca Grella, Ph.D. Program Founder/Director

Jacob Mulderig Project Co-Director

Meet Our Team

Dr. Dianna Padilla

Professor of Ecology and Evolution

Wanda Ortiz-Rivera

Asst. Sup. Secondary Education

Adrienne Davis
Dr. Ross Nehm

Asst. Professor of Ecology and Evolution

Ann Palmer

Asst. Sup. Elementary Education

Dr. Izzy Galante
Dr.Nicole Galante

School of Professional Development

Jennifer Costa

Science Department Chairperson

Dr. Nina Gottlieb 

Chief NYSLS/NGSS Educator

President/Shared Spaces PD

Program Evaluator

Dr. Vincent Leone

Coordinator of Funded Programs

The STEPD-UP Program is a New York State Education supported Professional Development (PD) opportunity in the Brentwood Union Free School district. STEPD UP is an innovative approach to bridging the gap between the Stony Brook University and Brentwood Union Free School District.


  The program will provide teachers with strategies and techniques to help our “struggling” groups of learners engage in project-based learning with real world tasks, open-ended investigations, and the engineering and design process. During learning, teachers will also take advantage of their background knowledge in  Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies and embed these engagement routines and strategies into their lessons to help children access the grade level content knowledge as defined by the learning progressions in the new NYS K-12 COMPUTER SCIENCE AND DIGITAL FLUENCY STANDARDS. 

From a regional perspective, Long Island is among the national leaders in STEAM related workforce opportunities, both in the short- and long-term. In the short-term, the workforce in the Long Island region was set to grow 2.6% (35,900) from the years 2016-2018, the most recent data available from the New York State Department of Labor. As part of this broad landscape, professional, scientific, and technical services were expected to grow 2.5% (2,010) in that timeframe. That 2.5% growth is higher than 68% of all other industries (26/82) in the region ( 



Project Based Learning

A key to future STEM careers and leaders...

By directly incorporating local businesses and individuals practicing in science and technology fields, our program works to promote sought after job related skills such as: Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Teamwork Skills, Leadership Skills and Computer/Information Technology Skills.  Additionally, educators will see firsthand what job-specific skills are needed in industry.  The infusion of the new standards at every level of our program ensures that we are providing students with best practices for learning.   

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