March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

NGSS Middle School Transition

Posted: Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

by Brennan Brockbank

I work in the Burlingame School District as a K-8 Science Coach. Our middle school teachers, like many others, are distraught about how they will make the transition to new science standards and curriculum. The Middle School Integrated Model requires that content be shifted, which necessitates careful planning and implementation so that students are ensured access to all topics. Additionally, the transition needs to occur in a way that allows teachers to make comfortable adjustments to their curriculum as more resources become available.

With this in mind, it was exciting to see Peter A’Hearn’s middle school transition plan in the June 2014 issue of California Classroom Science because it is clear that the many middle school science educators in California may be unguided in their efforts to shift to NGSS. Like Pete, I also made a middle school transition plan to progressively move our district towards NGSS as we determine the resources available to us. This plan was created collaboratively with Ken Nadeau, the Middle School Science Coordinator in the nearby Ravenswood School District.

Each district needs to discuss how many years they will need to make a full transition to NGSS. For our district, we are planning for a three-year transition starting this school year (2014/15) when we integrate the Performance Expectations (PEs) that are already within our current science disciplines (see Transition Plan). Our transition plan is based on the Integrated Model because the growing logic and direction of middle school science education in California points to this model as the most pedagogically appropriate. Thank you to Robert Sheriff for his article in which he reiterated the rationale behind the Science Expert Panel’s decision to support the Integrated Model for middle school science.

Our district is investing in our transition by sending a team of teachers to the NGSS State Rollout Symposium in Oakland on October 20 and 21. Additionally, our district has demonstrated their value of leadership in science education by continuing to fund a district-wide Science Coach. As we enter a second year of using the LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula), my goal is to build capacity for a science education reform and support for NGSS with financial backing that aligns with district-wide learning goals.

Brennan Brockbank is K-8 science coach in the Burlingame School District, president of the Council of Math and Science Educators of San Mateo County, and a member of CSTA.

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:

2 Responses

  1. I found this article last April and was excited to see a detailed transition plan that I could use to guide my own transition to NGSS. I teach 7th and 8th grade at a small school near Sacramento. I was planning to look at it further this summer, but the link to your transition plan no longer works. Would it be possible for you to share it with us in a new link? Or via email?

  2. Dear Lori,

    Thank you for the comment – I have repaired the link!

Leave a Reply


CSTA Endorses March for Science

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.

The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.

There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.

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.

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


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 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.