May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Increasing Awareness of Common Core Standards Among Community College Faculty

Posted: Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

by Carolyn Holcroft

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance community college education in California. Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations grants the ASCCC authority to represent community college faculty to the California Board of Governors (BOG) and the Chancellor’s Office, serving as a unified faculty voice in matters of statewide concern. In keeping with this purpose, the ASCCC holds two plenary meetings each year. These provide community college faculty with opportunities to discuss issues facing California educators, and the meetings culminate in a formal resolution process to advise ASCCC leadership on how to represent CCC faculty to the BOG or Chancellor’s Office.

At the fall plenary meeting, held November 8-10, 2012 in Irvine, CA, one of the breakout discussions was specifically designed to introduce California community college (CCC) faculty to the Common Core Standards (if they weren’t aware of them already!) and discuss ways that faculty can remain informed and even participate in the implementation efforts. The session featured meaningful dialog about the common goals that community college faculty share with K-12 colleagues in terms of college-readiness for California students and it’s especially noteworthy that the Common Core Standards already overlap the Competencies Statements developed by the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS). If you’re interested in viewing the Power Point presentation from this session, you may download it from http://asccc.org/sites/default/files/College%20Readiness%20-%20ASCCC%20F2012.ppt.

On the final day of the plenary meeting, constituents debated and voted on a number of resolutions. One of these was titled, “Endorse Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English.” The full text of the adopted resolution is below, for reference, and affirms ASCCC support for the intent behind the Common Core Standards. CCC faculty certainly share the desire to increase student preparedness for college-level study and are looking forward to further dialog about the implementation of the CCS, and hearing about the results from the pilot studies currently underway by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The next plenary meeting will be held on April 18-20, 2013 in San Francisco.

Text of Resolution:

15.01  -F12    Endorse Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English

Whereas, California is one of 45 states that have adopted the K-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which establish knowledge, skills, and practices that are essential for college and career readiness;

Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges endorsed the Intersegmental Committee of Academic Senates (ICAS) competency statements for both mathematics and English Language Arts, which set expectations for entering freshmen in these two critical content areas, and CCSS match nearly all expectations outlined by ICAS in both subject areas;

Whereas, The Senate has multiple resolutions calling for better preparation of high school students and more communication with K-12 partners, which is occurring through the implementation of the CCSS, and Student Success Task Force recommendation 1.1 calls for alignment of curriculum between K-12 and community colleges; and

Whereas, The Early Assessment Program (EAP), a college-readiness indicator developed by CSU and used by many community colleges in the state, grants entry into transfer-level courses to students who score at a particular level, and the Senate has several resolutions endorsing the use of EAP solely to identify and place students who do not need remediation into transfer-level courses;

Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges endorse the intent of the Common Core State Standards for K-12 as sufficient preparation for high school students planning to attend college and enroll in transfer-level coursework.”

Written by Carolyn Holcroft

Carolyn Holcroft

Carolyn Holcroft is a biology professor at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA and is a CSTA member.

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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.