The Local Systemic Change through Teacher Enhancement Initiatives carry forward the systemic reform efforts of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources and the goals of the Teacher Enhancement (TE) Program in the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education. The TE Program supports professional development that leads to a new level of teacher competence within a supportive school culture. This enables teachers to engage all students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 [preK-12] in rich and challenging programs in science, mathematics and technology. Supported projects seek to improve the disciplinary and pedagogical knowledge of teachers. They also involve administrators and others who play significant roles in providing quality science, mathematics, and technology education for students.

This Directory focuses on a subset of TE projects that engage entire school districts in the reform of science, mathematics, and technology education. Systemic change projects are characterized by: a shift in the focus from the professional development of the individual teacher to the professional development of all teachers within the whole school organization; a vision of what the K-12 science/mathematics/technology (SMT) program should be; and a plan for the implementation of exemplary, standards-based instructional materials. This should lead to the creation of professional communities, where teachers are empowered to bring about change and encouraged to reflect on their own teaching and learning.

The NSF supports two types of Local Systemic Change (LSC) projects: Science, Mathematics and Technology, grades K-8; and Mathematics, Grades 7-12. The 47 Local Systemic Change projects provide over 47,000 teachers with professional development and are spread across every geographic region in the nation. While designed and operated locally, they will reach over 1.6 million students in 240 school districts nationally. All participating districts base their projects on a self-assessment of their current SMT programs, with a focus on their strengths and needs. The districts also develop partnerships among stakeholders, such as parent groups, colleges and universities, and businesses.