September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Region 3 – Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions Regarding NGSS

Posted: Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Dean Gilbert

In order to clarify the ambiguities and misconceptions that may exist regarding the document, Next Generation Science Standards, I have developed this simple chart that lists what the NGSS is and is not.

What We Know NOW NGSS IS …

  • a document that describes the performance expected after instruction is complete.
  • the end summative assessment product for what all students should know and be able to do.
  • a document that lays a foundation for what all students need to know.
  • a state-led effort to develop a new set of science standards, managed by Achieve, Inc. and derived from the National Research Council document, A
  • Framework for K-12 Science Education:  Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas.”
  • a document designed to provide greater emphasis on depth over breadth in studying a subject.
  • a document that presents science as it is–a combination of what we know (disciplinary core ideas and cross cutting concepts) and how we know it (practices).

What We Still Do Not Know NGSS is NOT…

  • a scope and sequence for instruction.
  • a curriculum ready to be taught.
  • a document intended to limit how much science students are to learn.
  • a document that describes how to teach.

The timeline for California is as follows:

  • Public Testimonies:
    • April 30, 2013; 3-5pm- Santa Clara COE (Webinar)
    • April 30, 2013; 3-5pm- Orange County Dept. of Ed (Live onsite webinar)
    • May 2, 2013; 3-5pm- Riverside COE (Live public meeting)
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Torlakson- Presentation of new Science Content Standards for California to the State Board of Education (SBE)- July 2013.
  • SBE has until November 2013 to adopt, modify, or reject

If adopted (with or without modification) the next steps:

There is current legislation (SB300- Hancock, for the development of a new Science Framework to begin February 2014 and finalized by December 2015.  If legislation is approved, CDE will solicit writers for a new California Science Curriculum Framework; this is the document that will CLEARLY guide the development of curricula and instructional resources, assessment plans, guidance for professional development programs, in-service, pre-service and teacher licensing standards, and criteria for adoption of instructional materials…our “HOW TO IMPLEMENT” Guide.

As for Instructional Materials, we will not see new instructional materials up for adoption until January 2018 (based on our current timeline.)

There is also pending legislation to suspend API and testing for non-ESEA courses (i.e., Science, History/Social Science) for 2014.  Any ESEA testing (science elementary, middle and high school–or our 5th, 8th and 10th grade science tests) stays until ESEA is re-authorized or goes away.  End of course exams at the high school in science are not part of ESEA, and therefore those go away if the legislation is passed.

So…My advice to you- RELAX, TAKE A BREATH!  The adoption-awareness -transition-implementation-evaluation process will be a long journey.  I truly believe our Science leaders at the state level are firmly grounded and focused on the development of a quality, hands-on K-12 science program for all our children of California.

Some additional web resources:

Superintendent Torlakson’s  Assessment Recommendations regarding science.  AB 484 (Bonilla) http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_484&sess=CUR&house=B&author=bonilla which is still in legislation, and has not been signed into law, addresses most of his recommendations from page 48 in the document, Recommendations for Transitioning California to a Future Assessment System.

SB 300 (Chaptered) – New Science Standards

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0251-0300/sb_300_bill_20111008_chaptered.html

SB 300 Current Session/Proposed legislation

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_300&sess=CUR&house=B&author=hancock

Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of CSTA.

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CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.