Inclusive Learning through Earth,
Environmental, and Planetary Sciences



Inclusive Learning through Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences (ILEEPS) is a 3-year program for high school Earth Science Teachers, Environmental Systems Teachers, and Aquatic Science Teachers to further science content knowledge and pedagogical skills of exemplary high school teachers. Using Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) to enhance high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers' cultural awareness, teachers will grow their understanding of creating inclusive, equitable learning science environments.

CSP is a pedagogical framework that encourages teachers to value cultural differences and engage in teaching methods that connect, reflect, and build on student knowledge and practices. Teachers who use CSP specifically focus on fostering cultural flexibility. For example, in some indigenous communities’ place-based systems of knowledge, or traditional knowledge, can incorporate significant geoscientific observations and ideas that promote cultural and ecological sustainability. Teachers who can connect science standards to traditional knowledge will foster a learning environment that leads to innovative ways of making sense of earth, ocean, and environmental systems.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM) has partnered with faculty in the Rice Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, and GeoFORCE Texas to provide three years of sustained professional development to Houston-area high school science teachers. The goal of the ILEEPS program is to help Earth and Space Science teachers use CSP within geoscience concepts leading to meaningful student STEM connections.

ILEEPS aims to:

  • understand how high school STEM teachers develop in-depth knowledge of what it means to be culturally competent and inclusive
  • build a network of high school teachers, informal educators, and school administrators, and
  • develop lessons and strategies to enhance K-12 students' belongingness in geoscience and related fields.

2022-2024 ILEEPS Program

ILEEPS is a three-year-long program that includes summer institutes and follow-up sessions during the school year. Participants are also required to attend one week long summer excursion with GeoFORCE during the course of the program. Program dates and other program expectations are listed below.

Click Here to Apply

The application deadline has been extended.

Summer Institute

Participants are required to attend summer institutes as part of the program. The summer 2022 institute will be divided into two parts: orientation and the summer program. Participants must attend both to be in the program.

June 27-29, 2022
8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Summer Institute:
July 5-8, 2022
8:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Participants must also attend 5-day summer institutes during the summer of 2023 and 2024.

School Year Sessions

Participants are required to attend monthly follow up sessions during the school year for the duration of the program beginning in the fall of 2022. These sessions will take place both virtually and in-person.


Applications close on February 13, 2022. Applicants will be notified of their status by March 2022 Space is very limited, therefore, completing the application process and being selected for an interview does NOT guarantee placement in the program. Due to our funding agency, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident to apply.

As part of the application, applicants will be required to submit:

  • A personal statement (max 1 page in length) about why you are applying to the ILEEPS program;
  • AN updated CV or resume that lists education and employment history,
  • A letter of recommendation from your principal, and
  • A completed and signed Participant Acknowledgement Letter. By signing the form, the applicant agrees to participate in all required ILEEPS sessions.

If you are unable to upload these documents to your application, you can email them to

Click Here to Apply

Benefits & Expectations

The expectations of ILEEPS participants include, but are not limited to:

  • Attending and participating in all training sessions including approximately 8 days in summer 2022, 5 days during the summer of 2023 and 2024, along with monthly check-in meeting (virtual/in-person) during the academic school year);
  • Attending one week-long summer excursion with GeoFORCE during the course of the program;
  • Participating in and completing group projects;
  • Timely completion and submission of all pre- and post-tests; and
  • Timely completion and submission of all course assignments and homework.

For completing all program requirements, participants will receive:

  • Sustained support and professional development;
  • Networking opportunities with fellow teachers;
  • Lesson plan development training; and
  • Up to $2,500 in stipends and materials per year.
Program Flyer

Below is copy of the ILEEPS flyer. You can access a PDF version for download here.


    ILEEPS Administration

    If you have any questions about ILEEPS, you can contact the program lead.

    Roger Ramirez
    Assistant Director for Mathematics
    713-348-3267 |

    *This program is made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

    NSF Logo

    Contact Information

    Telephone: (713) 348-8211
    Fax: (713) 348-3825

    Mailing Address

    Office of STEM Engagement
    Rice University
    P.O. Box 1892, MS-7836
    Houston, TX 77251-1892

    Street Address

    IBC Plaza Houston
    5615 Kirby Dr.
    Suite 730
    Houston, TX 77005-2445