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.

2022-2024 ILEEPS Participants

Richard Bailey

"Education is one thing no one can take away from you."

Cathleen Baxter-Swindle

"Everyone belongs; everyone has value; no matter their ancestral.

Julia Bradley

"My goal is to take my students feel empowered in my classroom because they know they are included in all ways. They are 'seen' as the people they are not just as a special education student or an immigrant who is learning English. They matter to me."

Dipti Singh Patel

"No one size fits all."

Christopher Fisher

"Building connections to give every student a better education." 

Kristi J. Fields

"Move forward with purpose."

Dr. Dan Hochman

"Texas schools are failing our majority minority population. DEI is vital to bringing them back into the fold. If they can relate, they can learn!"

    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