May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

NGSS in California Update

Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

by Jessica Sawko

On September 4, 2013 the California State Board of Education adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools. The board adopted grade specific standards for grades K-5 and grade span standards for grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. During its meeting this Wednesday, November 6, 2013, the State Board of Education will take up the issue of how to arrange the standards in grades 6-8 (see Item #6). Based on letters and emails received along with public comment provided during the September meeting, it is clear that there is a great deal of division in the science education community regarding how best to arrange the standards for middle school science. There are now three “camps” taking sides on the issue, those in favor of integrated science, those in favor of discipline-specific science, and those advocating that the state leave the decision of how best to present science to middle school students up to the districts (local decision). With California being a K-8 adoption state, it is not clear to CSTA at this time if the local decision option is allowable under current policies and statutes. Information about how to participate in the State Board meeting in person or remotely is available at: http://www.cascience.org/csta/ngss.asp. For CSTA’s response to the State Board of Education Agenda Item #6 for the November meeting, click here.

The pending decision on the arrangement of the middle school standards is not holding up the recently authorized development of the new curriculum framework for science. The California Department of Education is now accepting applications for Focus Group participants. The Science Framework will incorporate and support the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by the State Board of Education in September 2013.

2016 Revision of the Science Framework

California’s SB300 (Chapter 480, Statutes of 2013) calls for the revision of the California Science Framework to align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Among the first steps in the revision of the Science Framework are the recruitment and subsequent appointment of focus group members by the California Department of Education (CDE). Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, Section 9511, the CDE will convene at least four public focus groups of educators in different regions of California to gather comments on the revision of the Science Framework.

Focus Group Application

The focus group meetings will be open to the public, and comments made at each meeting will be forwarded to the Instructional Quality Commission and the State Board of Education for consideration. Each focus group will include between 10 and 15 invitees, who will be selected to ensure balanced representation of regions, types of schools, and grade-level experience.Note: Application closes on December 2, 2013 at 3:00PM PT

The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) is seeking science teachers to fill open positions on the IQC. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2013. 

The IQC has many roles, and science will be its focus in the near future – members with science teaching experience have not been on the IQC for some time and are truly needed now that CA is moving forward with Next Generation Science Standards.

The California State Board of Education (SBE) is now accepting applications for practicing science teachers to serve on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC). This high-level commission is responsible for advising the SBE on matters related to curriculum and instruction. The IQC (1) develops and recommends curriculum frameworks; (2) develops and recommends criteria for evaluating instructional materials submitted for adoption; (3) evaluates instructional materials that have been submitted by publishers and makes recommendations to adopt or reject each submission; (4) recommends policies and activities to the SBE, the California Department of Education (CDE), and local education agencies regarding curriculum and instruction; and (5) advises and makes recommendations to the SBE on implementing the state’s academic content standards. Applications are due 5:00 pm, November 15, 2013.

The IQC, formerly known as the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission, consists of 18 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the SBE upon the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or the members of the SBE. At any one time, at least seven of the public members are current classroom teachers, or mentor teachers, or both, who are assigned to teach in grades K-12.

Commitment

The IQC holds four two-day meetings a year. Additional IQC and Subject Matter Committee meetings may also be scheduled if needed. All of these meetings require preparation time for IQC members. IQC members may be called upon to make an additional commitment of 10-12 days to participate in the review of instructional materials submitted for adoption in California.

Term of Office
Terms are for four calendar years, and may be renewed by the SBE based upon participation and contribution, membership composition, a need to stagger terms, or other considerations. Additional information about the IQC may be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/cc/cd/.

Travel, Lodging, and Other Expenses
IQC members serve without pay and are reimbursed for authorized travel costs according to established SBE procedures. Members will be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses related to IQC meetings only. No reimbursement is made for other activities.

Application Form
The application form may be found on the SBE’s Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/cc/ab/.

Please note that the application form requests that applicants provide both a resume and two letters of recommendation. The SBE also requests that applicants provide a detailed explanation of interest in and qualifications to serve on the IQC.

Application Deadline
All applications and corresponding materials must be received in the CDE by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 15, 2013, in order to be considered for appointment. Incomplete applications will not be considered. All applications and corresponding materials for appointment to the IQC should be sent to:

Thomas Adams, Executive Director, Instructional Quality Commission
Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 3207
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-0881

Telephone Interviewing
Final candidates must be available for telephone interviews with the SBE Screening Committee on December 16 and/or December 17, 2013. Telephone interview times will be announced at a later date.

Questions
For questions or additional information regarding the IQC, contact Thomas Adams at 916 319-0881.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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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.