May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

LCFF and LCAP: Tools to Help Move Science Education Forward

Posted: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

I think it’s safe to say that CSTA members recognize that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are California’s current science standards. As I travel around the state I find that not everyone is as informed as you are! In case you want to forward this article to some less informed colleagues, allow me to recap.

NGSS were unanimously adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in September 2013. In November 2013 the State Board of Education voted unanimously (with one abstention) to adopt the CA NGSS Integrated Model for 6-8 (as developed by the CA Science Expert Panel) as the SPI/ SBE’s preferred model for middle grades science instruction in California. To provide for local option, the Board also requested that the California Department of Education provide an alternate discipline specific model for grades 6-8. This model will be presented to the SBE in spring.

The Board’s intent in the November action was for there to be one Integrated NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8 (the one preferred by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Board), and one Discipline Specific NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8, as an alternate local option where needed.

While NGSS will not be fully implemented into our classrooms for a few years, there is a current need for teachers and administrators to start learning about NGSS immediately. This means awareness and learning about the standards for some. For others it means starting to tweak our current practices to incorporate science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. Regardless of where you are on the awareness/implementation spectrum, none of us can wait two or three years to do anything. We need to start now!

Our current State Board of Education has repeatedly demonstrated that it is responsive to its stakeholders as they deliberate and make decisions. It has provided several opportunities for districts to have increased control and decision making. We see that in their NGSS decisions and in major K-12 finance reform. The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the LEA Local Control & Accountability Plans (LCAP) provide a move towards much stronger local accountability.

As part of LCFF, districts will submit their Local Control & Accountability Plans by July 1, 2014. (I am guessing you will have internal deadlines in your district that are even earlier.) Good news for science education…. LCAPs must address plans to implement NGSS as part of addressing State Priority #2.

Implementation of State Standards: implementation of academic content and performance standards adopted by the state board for all pupils, including English learners. (Priority 2)

The State Board of Education and California Department of Education expect all California LEAs to begin implementing (if they are ready), or at least beginning to develop a plan for implementing, the Next Generation Science Standards in 2014-2015. The July 1, 2014 LCAP should include a plan and annual goals for the implementation of the state’s new NGSS science standards as part of their activities addressing State Priority #2.

Want even more good news about state support for NGSS? 

$1.25 billion is available for NGSS as well as Common Core State Standards
Assembly Bill 86 (Chapter 48, Statutes of 2013) contained language that appropriated funds specifically for implementing newly adopted state standards, including the new science standards (referenced in legislation as Education Code Section 60605.85). The legislation also specified that the funds are available for encumbrance for two fiscal years — 2013-14 and 2014-15. 

Specifically, section 85 of the bill states:
It is the intent of the Legislature that school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and the state special schools use funds allocated pursuant to subdivision (b) to support the integration of academic content standards in instruction adopted pursuant to Sections 60605.8, 60605.85, 60605.10, 60605.11, and 60811.3 of the Education Code, for kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, for purposes of establishing high-quality instructional programs for all pupils.

The bill language further explains that these funds can be used for professional development and instructional materials aligned to the standards (including NGSS), and integration of the academic content standards through technology-based instruction for purposes of improving the academic performance of pupils, including, but not necessarily limited to, expenditures necessary to support the administration of computer-based assessments and provide high-speed, high-bandwidth Internet connectivity for the purpose of administration of computer-based assessments.

So what does this mean for you as a science educator in California?

It means the time to act is now! Be actively engaged in helping your site/district develop its LCAP. Be a strong advocate for ensuring the funding is allocated for NGSS planning and implementation. NGSS may not be high on the priority list for some district administrators. I know Common Core implementation issues are important, but so too is NGSS implementation. There are lessons we’ve learned from CCSS implementation that inform us that we ought to start now for a smooth, steady transition to NGSS.

There will be numerous events in the next year which will support your growth and help meet your needs to implement NGSS. Talk with your colleagues and become engaged around improving science education. You need to make sure that what you ask for aligns with the state priorities in the Ed Code (sections 52060 and 52066) but you need to get NGSS related implementation activities included in your Local Control & Accountability Plan.

Consider including attendance at the NSTA Long Beach Area Conference – in Collaboration with CSTA (December 2014) as part of your LCAP. The conference focuses on NGSS implementation issues. The conference’s three strands are NGSS Implementation, Science: The Gateway to Common Core State Standards, and STEM Classrooms: Anytime/Anyplace/Anywhere.

Local  Control  and  Accountability  Plan  and  Annual  Update  Template

Special thanks Trish Williams, California State Board of Education member and NGSS Liaison, for compiling information about the Ed Code and how LCFF and LCAP support our efforts to implement NGSS.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a past-president of CSTA.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.