Community of Practice: About

  • Development of a shared identity around a topic or set of challenges.  It represents a collective intention—however tacit and distributed—to steward a domain of knowledge and to sustain learning about it.  (Wenger)
  • CoPs are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor—they share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
  • Communities develop their practice by engaging in problem solving, requesting for information, seeking experience, reusing assets, coordination and synergy, building an argument, growing confidence, discussing developments, documenting projects, visits, mapping knowledge and identifying gaps.
  • The Domain:  Identity defined by a shared interest.
  • The Community: members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information.
  • The Practice:  Members are practitioners. They have experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems.
  • To develop a sustainable peer network of local practitioners.
  • To improve participant knowledge and skills related to the focus of the community of practice.
  • To promote collaborative planning to leverage existing knowledge within and/or outside of the community to create meaningful, needs-based professional development opportunities for participants.

Arizona SciTech

The Arizona SciTech Festival is a state-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM or STEAM when you include the arts). Through a series of over 1000 expos, workshops, conversations, exhibitions and tours held in diverse neighborhoods throughout the state, the Arizona SciTech Festival excites and informs Arizonans from ages 3 to 103 about how STEM will drive our state for the next 100 years.

Arizona Science Center

For over 30 years, the Arizona Science Center has inspired, educated and engaged curious minds through science. The Center’s Freeport McMoRan Center for Leadership in Learning is committed to cultivating a STEM ecosystem by advancing educational leadership, quality teaching, and parent and community engagement for student learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, S.T.E.M.


A strong foundation in science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) empowers students to not only participate, but thrive, in the rapidly developing knowledge economy that is fueled by technology advancements. We see this collaborative Community of Practice as a way to inspire students to discover solutions to world problems by becoming specialists in technology, engineering and developing computing skills demanded by today’s digital world. Our professional volunteers will share their expertise to innovate this Community of Practice to highlight Arizona’s focus on STEM and ensure students are prepared for their future.


Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) is committed to increasing student opportunities, empowering practitioners, and connecting community expertise through the development of communities of practice and an expanded STEM ecosystem.

STEM Ecosystems

STEM Learning Ecosystems provide the architecture for cross-sector learning, offering all young people access to STEM-rich learning environments so they can develop important skills and engagement in science, technology, engineering and math throughout preK-16.

Our Logic Model

Credible, highly engaged organizations committed to collaborative practice

Engaged partners representing a diverse community including:

  •  Schools – students, parents, teachers, administrators
  • Education agencies
  • STEM experts
  • Professional associations
  • STEM business and industry
  • Community members
  • Connect participants through structures for collaboration
  • Assess readiness to cultivate a community of practice
  • Learn about communities of practice and develop goals for collaborative work
  • Assess assets and gaps within the community of practice
  • Identify and engage additional partners
  • Self-assessment for readiness
  • Gap analysis
  • Shared vision, goals and desired outcomes
  • Evidence that partners understand their own and other’s self-interest and their role in the community of practice
  • Evidence of different approaches to evaluation
  • Collaboration agreements
  • Evidence of human capital support
  • Agendas reflective of the needs and wants of the community of practice.
  • Evidence that stakeholders have increased interest and knowledge of STEM education in settings that are not their own and what connections exist among the community of practice.