The BIE Story
The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) was founded in 1987 as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that receives partial funding from the Leonard and Beryl Buck Trust, the same trust that supports the Marin Community Foundation, the Marin Institute and the Buck Institute for Age Research. In its first ten years, BIE provided a variety of services to local schools and districts and also received funding from outside sources for program evaluation and other research.
In the late 1990s, BIE began to focus its work on Project Based Learning, which was a feature of some schools’ instructional reform efforts at the time and the subject of an annual conference sponsored by the Autodesk Foundation, also located in Marin County. In 1999 researcher John Thomas documented his findings about effective PBL in the first edition of the Project Based Learning Handbook for Middle and High School Teachers. In 1998 BIE began to develop project based curriculum units for high school economics, because it was a course that lacked effective materials for teachers in California and elsewhere. A few years later BIE developed similar materials for high school courses in U.S. Government. The Project Based Learning Handbook was revised in a second edition in 2003, which has sold over 40,000 copies and been translated into six languages: Spanish, traditional and modern Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, and, in a shortened version, Arabic.
To accompany its publications, BIE began to conduct professional development workshops to help teachers use PBL effectively. Demand for these workshops has grown over the years, especially since 2009, and now BIE National Faculty members conduct over 100 PBL workshops a year across the United States to K-14 educators. In 2009 BIE published the first volume in its PBL Toolkit series, the PBL Starter Kit. In 2011 it published the second volume, PBL in the Elementary Grades.
BIE is proud to be recognized and certified as a Bay Area Green Business.