May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Applications Invited for Appointment to the California Practitioners Advisory Group

Posted: Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

The State Board of Education (SBE) is currently seeking applications to fill up to 15 positions on a newly constituted advisory committee, which will be called the California Practitioners Advisory Group (CPAG), to provide input to the SBE on ongoing efforts to establish a single coherent local, state, and federal accountability system. The advisory committee will also serve as the state’s committee of practitioners under federal Title I requirements.

All applicants must currently meet one or more of the practitioner categories listed below:

  • Superintendents or other Administrators
  • Teachers from traditional public schools and charter schools and career and technical educators
  • Principals and other school leaders
  • Parents of student(s) currently enrolled in the K-12 public education system
  • Members of local school boards
  • Representatives of private school children
  • Specialized instructional support personnel and paraprofessionals
  • Representatives of authorized public chartering agencies
  • Charter school leaders
  • Education researchers

All applicants should provide evidence of demonstrated experience with California’s K-12 public education system, including familiarity with the Local Control Funding Formula. Applicants should also provide evidence of familiarity with federal program requirements, including Title I, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (Public Law 114–95).

The recent enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act altered the membership requirements for the State Title I committee of practitioners. The SBE’s Screening Committee’s recommendations for appointments to this committee, along with adoption of a governing policy that is consistent with the new federal requirements, will be presented at the SBE’s March 2016 meeting.

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Background

With the enactment of the Local Control Funding Formula in 2013, California changed the finance and accountability systems for its K-12 public education system. The SBE was delegated authority to implement key provisions of the Local Control Funding Formula, including the Local Control and Accountability Plan template (Education Code § 52064), spending regulations (Education Code § 42238.07), and the Local Control Funding Formula evaluation rubrics (Education Code § 52064.5).

Additionally, Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (Public Law 114–95 § 1603, 20 United States Code § 6573), requires each State educational agency that receives Title I funds to create a State committee of practitioners to advise the State in carrying out its responsibilities under Title I.

These changes to the local, state, and federal education policy landscape present a unique opportunity for California to develop a single coherent accountability system.

Purpose

The purpose of this advisory committee is to provide input to the SBE on practical implications of decisions before the SBE, which may include providing input on the design of the Local Control Funding Formula evaluation rubrics and other decisions related to implementing the Local Control Funding Formula.

The committee will also review any State rules and regulations relating to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, in order to advise the State in carrying out its Title I responsibilities.

Composition

Members are appointed by the SBE. The majority of members must be representatives from local educational agencies. The membership will include representatives who currently meet one or more of the following categories:

  • Superintendents or other Administrators
  • Teachers from traditional public schools and charter schools and career and technical educators
  • Principals and other school leaders
  • Parents of student(s) currently enrolled in the K-12 public education system
  • Members of local school boards
  • Representatives of private school children
  • Specialized instructional support personnel and paraprofessionals
  • Representatives of authorized public chartering agencies
  • Charter school leaders
  • Education researchers

Members will be appointed to ensure appropriate representation among the membership categories. Members may qualify as representatives of more than one membership category.

Term of Office

Members will serve for a term of up to three years. Terms of office will be staggered to avoid the need to replace the majority of members at the same time.

Frequency of Meetings

Regular meetings of the CPAG will be conducted annually or as needed.

Travel, Lodging, and Other Expenses

CPAG members will be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses related to Committee meetings only, at the same rate applicable for CDE staff. No reimbursement will be made for other activities.

Application Form

The Application form can be found on the SBE Application Web page. Please note that the application form requests that you include a resume and requires that you submit two letters of recommendation. The entire package (application, resume, and letters of recommendation) must be received by the application deadline in order to be considered for appointment.

Application Deadline

All applications for appointment to the CPAG should be sent via email to cpag@cde.ca.gov. The complete application can also be sent by fax to 916-319-0175.

All applications received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 2016 will be considered by the SBE Screening Committee for appointment at the March 2016 State Board of Education meeting.

Questions

If you have any questions about the application process or the role and responsibility of the CPAG, please contact Amy Bubbico by telephone at 916-319-0393 or by email at cpag@cde.ca.gov.

Questions: State Board of Education | 916-319-0827

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.