January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

California State Board of Education Holds Off on Decision on NGSS Adoption

Posted: Thursday, August 1st, 2013

by Jessica Sawko

On July 10, 2013 the State Board of Education was presented with the proposed Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade 12. A full video archive of the presentation is available online and embedded here below. The online archive allows you to select Item 2 from the menu below the video window. (Please note that the board meeting was being serviced by a new AV provider and there were a few hiccups technologically during the presentation.)

The presentation led by Phil Lafontaine, director of the Professional Learning and Support Division of the California Department of Education (and CSTA member), provided the board with a quick review of how the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed (this topic has been presented to them on several other occasions, so a quick rundown is all that was needed). This review was followed by an explanation of the process used by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) to develop the proposed recommendation. Jannelle Kubinec of WestEd addressed the management of the public input period and the results from those sessions, including educator support for the NGSS, and concerns over implementation and professional development. Phil Lafontaine and Kathy DiRanna (CSTA member) walked the board through the process used by the SEP to arrive at the middle school standards arrangement. Finally, Dr. Helen Quinn was on hand and provided the board information on the science and scientific reasoning behind the middle school arrangement. It was announced by Phil Lafontaine that Achieve had reviewed the proposed California model for middle school and had come to the conclusion to endorse the California model as well as request permission to share that model on their website.

Over 20 individuals addressed the board during the public comment period. Several businesses and business organizations testified in support, including Chevron, Boeing, and the Bay Area Council, recognizing that NGSS will provide a science education needed to fulfill their workforce needs. Other foundations and education organizations speaking in support of the standards included CSTA, the Samueli Foundation,  California Science Project, California STEM Learning Network, Children Now, California Charter School Association, The Education Trust – West, and UC Davis School of Education (among others). The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) stated that their membership was supportive of the Next Generation Science Standards, but wanted more time to evaluate the middle school arrangement as proposed. Classroom teachers Melissa Smith (middle school) and John Galisky (high school, CSTA member) also spoke in support of the proposed standards. By and large, all educators and education organizations making comments to the board emphasized how critical it will be for the implementation of these new standards to follow a carefully laid out plan that includes the proper sequencing of standards, curriculum framework, instructional materials, and assessment, as well as the crucial piece of proper and sufficient professional development and support for inservice teachers, especially for elementary and middle school teachers, and proper education for preservice teachers.

In the end, while board members Holaday and Williams regretted not making the decision to adopt the proposed standards today, the board deferred additional action on the matter until the September 4-5 board meeting. This decision was made to allow for time for information to be shared with teachers and the public about the proposed standards and more time to gather responses from those groups. In the coming weeks, CSTA will be distributing information to members about the standards proposal, including the reasoning behind the arrangement of the middle school standards, and invites members to provide feedback and input to CSTA.

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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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. Register online today!

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…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.