March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

California Arrangement of Middle School Science Standards – Spurs Production of Rationale Document and Gatherings of Science Teachers

Posted: Thursday, August 1st, 2013

On June 28, 2013, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released his much awaited recommendation for new science standards for California schools. The proposed standards, entitled Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade 12, are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) released by Achieve on April 9, 2013. California made only a few minor changes to the clarifying statements in the performance expectations that make up the NGSS and arranged the performance expectations for grades 6-8 into specific grades. The decision to allocate the performance expectations to specific grades, rather than adopt them in a grade ban, was a simple one. California is a K-8 adoption state and as such requires specific standards for those grades.

As a part of their presentation to the State Board of Education on July 10, 2013, CDE and other guest speakers went through a detailed explanation of the care which was taken by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) to arrive at the final recommendation that is being proposed. However, due to the short time between the time the recommendation was posted and the board meeting, the State Board elected to defer making a decision to a future meeting. Their next meeting will be on September 4-5, 2013. The reason for choosing to defer a vote was in large part to allow teachers more time to evaluate the proposed standards. In order to aid teachers in their evaluation, the California Department of Education has produced a document for grades 6, 7, and 8 which articulates the criteria used by the SEP when arranging the standards, the reasoning behind the arrangement including storylines, and explanations of the articulations from elementary and into high school and for each discipline in grades 6, 7, and 8. The document is available on the CDE NGSS website.

The proposed arrangement of the middle school standards has started many conversations around the state and so far, two meetings to discuss the proposed arrangement have been planned in Southern California, and one in Northern California in Sacramento:

  • On August 7, CSTA member and middle school teacher Emily Williams is holding a gathering at the South Pasadena Middle School Library. This meeting on will provide information to middle grade science teachers about the arrangement of the performance expectations for grades 6, 7, and 8, and will provide an opportunity for collaborative discussion.  This meeting will also be a great opportunity to meet some science education leaders including Kathy DiRanna (CSTA member and the State-wide Director for WestEd’s K-12 Alliance, Kathy worked with the Science Expert Panel which helped place the NGSS standards at each grade), Nikki Chambers (CSTA member and teacher participant in the Science Expert Panel), Anthony Quan (CSTA member and LACOE STEM Consultant), and Jill Grace (CSTA Middle School Director and 7th grade science teacher). Click for more information and to RSVP for this meeting.
  • On August 22, Dean Gilbert (CSTA past president and SEP member) of the Orange County Department of Education will host a town hall style meeting that will include a Skype presentation with Dr. Helen Quinn, lead author of the Framework for K-12 Science Education  (and keynote presenter at the 2012 CSTA conference). For more information on that meeting, and to RSVP, please click here.
  • On Wednesday, August 28, CSTA and the Sacramento County Office of Education will hold an informational and discussion meeting on the middle school arrangement proposed. In attendance will be Rick Pomeroy of UC Davis School of Education (CSTA past president and SEP member), Glen Lusebrink (CSTA and SEP member) a teacher in the Woodland Joint Unified School District, Lisa Hegdahl, 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School and CSTA president-elect, and Phil Romig, Science Curriculum Specialist for the Sacramento County Office of Education. Click here for more information and to register.

Please review both the NGSS for California and the Middle School Arrangement rationale document before attending any of the above meetings. Both documents are available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/ngssintrod.asp.

 

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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California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. 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.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: 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.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

Learning to Teach in 3D

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Joseph Calmer

Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”

I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.