January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

At May 2016 Meeting State Board of Education Responds to Advocacy Efforts Around NGSS

Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

The May 11-12 meeting of the California State Board of Education (SBE) addressed three items of great interest to science educators and others who are committed to the successful implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards. (CA-NGSS). The items included the selection of key indicators to be incorporated into the new accountability system under development (Item 2), revisions to the LCAP template (Item 3), and approval of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) plan to apply for a waiver from the federal government to no longer administer the science CST/CMA/CAPA beyond the spring 2016 administration (Item 8). The State Board took action on the first and last of these three items, leaving edits to the LCAP template to be worked on for action at a future meeting.

Trish Williams, State Board of Education Member, NGSS Liaison

Trish Williams, State Board of Education Member, NGSS Liaison

Through the strong support of state board member Trish Williams, and with a tremendous advocacy effort by your very own CSTA, in collaboration with Children Now, the Education Trust-West, the California School Boards Association (CSBA), the California State PTA, K-12 Alliance, California Science Project, California Chamber of Commerce, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the State Board departed from the CDE recommendation in the agenda item and approved an alternate motion that, among other things, will incorporate future statewide science summative assessment test scores into a key indicator of student performance along with results from the grade 3-8 and 11 ELA and math assessments, commonly known as Smarter Balance, or SBAC. More information about the SBE’s action can be found here. CSTA’s President Lisa Hegdahl was in attendance and represented CSTA during the public comment period. A complete copy of CSTA’s letter to the SBE in response to the accountability item is available here (the attachment including the list of more than 580 petition signers was removed for size purposes).

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CSTA is very grateful to all of our petition signers and those that helped to gather signatures on our “Make Science Matter” petition. CSTA will continue to work to develop and propose measures and other indicators of accountability that are supportive of science education at local and state levels. For now, we are celebrating our success in moving from a proposal that didn’t include science at all and “double counted” ELA and math tests to one that more equitably includes all statewide summative test scores (and only once).

Ray Pietersen, Science Program Specialist for the Elk Grove USD (and CSTA member) presents during public comment providing an "on the ground" perspective of how continued use of the CST sends mixed messages to parents and teachers and to encourage the SBE to approve the waiver application.

Ray Pietersen, Science Program Specialist for the Elk Grove USD (and CSTA member) presents during public comment providing an “on the ground” perspective of how continued use of the CST sends mixed messages to parents and teachers and to encourage the SBE to approve the waiver application.

The item that passed with little discussion and with support from stakeholders was Item 8 – the approval to seek a waiver from the Federal government to not report science test scores for two years. With this waiver approved, CDE can move forward with its plan to no longer administer the science CST/CMA/CAPA and in its place administer pilot and field tests designed for assessing the California Next Generation Science Standards in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, respectively. More information about the assessment design can be found in our March 2016 issue of this newsletter.

CSTA President and 8th Grade Science Teacher Lisa Hegdahl presents during public comment to the State Board of Education on May 11, 2016.

CSTA President and 8th Grade Science Teacher Lisa Hegdahl presents during public comment to the State Board of Education on May 11, 2016.

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl also represented CSTA and the Make Science Matter petition signers when she addressed the SBE during public comment on Item 3. She presented CSTA’s recommendations for making the requirement that Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) address the implementation of CA-NGSS under state priority #2 (implementation of state standards) as well as other priority areas that address student performance and access to a broad course of study. CSTA also requested that the SBE provide additional guidance to County Offices of Education, who are charged with approving LCAPs, on the need to check for inclusion of CA-NGSS in LACAPs. Revisions to the LCAP template will be proposed at a future SBE meeting.

If you would like to see the full board discussion on each of these items, the video archive is available on the SBE website:

  • Item 2: Key Indicators for Accountability
  • Item 3: LCAP Template
  • Item 8: Science CST Waiver

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching.

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.

Opportunities to Support NGSS Implementation with CTC

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.

CSET Field Testing Opportunities

Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. 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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

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.