May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Open Letter to High School Earth Science Educators

Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2011

by Wendy Van Norden, Tom Traeger, Ray Ingersoll, Bruce Luyendyk, and Eldridge Moores.

Dear Earth Science Educators:

We are pleased to announce that the UC Academic Senate Board on Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS), and the UC Office of the President have approved a high school course entitled Honors Earth Science that will meet the UC Area “d” Laboratory Science admissions requirement. The course was designed principally by high school teacher Wendy Van Norden with help from the rest of us.  It is listed on https://doorways.ucop.edu/list/, under the listings for Harvard-Westlake School, North Hollywood, CA.  The  Honors Earth Science course outline, appears on the Honors Geology website of Harvard Westlake School, at http://www.hwscience.com/Geology/Honors/index.html.

The Honors Earth Science course is intended for high school juniors and seniors.  It has prerequisites of algebra, biology, and chemistry.  In principle, any high school that adopts this course should receive UC’s “d” Laboratory Science credit for it.  Widespread adoption of this course in CA high schools should significantly increase the awareness of Earth Science by CA high school graduates, UC’s entering students, and the public at large.

This course does not conflict with or replace existing 9th grade Earth science classes.  It is intended as a third-year science class for college-bound students, particularly those UC-bound.  BOARS has made clear that 9th grade Earth science classes will not receive “d” certification.

The course has Honors status, and that gives students an edge in UC admissions and a grade point bonus, similar to the bonus given to AP courses.  It can also be turned into a dual credit course.  For example,  students who presently take Honors Geology may receive 5 credit units on a UCLA transcript.

We hope that this new development will encourage high schools throughout California to offer this course, and thus better prepare their students to function as informed citizens in the 21st century.

We encourage you to look at this course outline carefully, and we encourage you to consider adopting the course in your own school.  Widespread adoption of this course would go far towards the spread of Earth Science courses eligible for “d” Laboratory Science credit at UC throughout California.  It would benefit all present and future Californians.

If you are interested in the possibility of teaching either Honors Earth Science or Honors Geology at your school, please contact Wendy Van Norden wvannorden@hw.com

Wendy Van Norden, Harvard-Westlake School, North Hollywood, CA.
NESTA Far West Director
Tom Traeger, La Canada High School, La Canada, CA
Ray Ingersoll, Earth and Space Sciences, UCLA
Bruce Luyendyk, Earth Science, UCSB
Eldridge Moores, Geology, UC Davis

 

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.

4 Responses

  1. At long last! Congratulations to all who worked to make this happen, especially to Eldrigde Moores who championed Earth Science in high school during my presidency of CSTA. It was a personal goal of mine that seemed would never occur, but now it has. I am very pleased. Earth Science has been suppressed from the high school curriculum for far too long. Hopefully, this will open more doors to the acceptance that Earth Science like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology is rigorous science.

  2. This is the BEST news I have heard for the future of Geosciences in California! We have such a great need for students to find their passions and it is wonderful that Earth Science can now be a vital part of our students’ education. It is also wonderful that since this course is an Honors course, it can give students an “edge” in the UC system. While president of CSTA I personally wrote to all of the California High Schools which had a three year science requirement for graduation and thanked them for taking such an important step in promoting science. I encourage our current president, Rick Pomeroy, to begin with the address list that our office manager compiled at that time, and send each of these high schools a personal letter encouraging them to implement this course in their curriculum. It seems it would be a perfect fit since these schools already require three years. I would love to send a HUGE email hug to Wendy Van Norden and her cohorts for such an impressive amount of work and labor of love, Bravo!

  3. Thank you Wendy! I am a State of California Professional Geologist and Certificated Geoscience Teacher! This is really big!

    Now it is up to the Earth Science teachers to convince the school’s administration that they teach at to offer the course, then they have to convince the counselors to promote the course, they have to promote the course and then finally someone will get to teach it!

    Yay for California’s students!!!!!

    Thanks again Wendy! And a big thank you to Tom Traeger, Ray Ingersoll, Bruce Luyendyk, and Eldridge Moores, for the time and energy they dedicated to this project and for taking this big step in California science education.

  4. […] may recall that Honors Earth Science was recently approved (in 2011) as a University of California Area (d) laboratory science, in an effort led by Wendy Van […]

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