January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

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: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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!

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