September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

NGSS Implementation Update: State Implementation Plan, New Assessments, LCAPs, and Curriculum Framework

Posted: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

by Jessica L. Sawko

There are a lot of moving parts  when it comes to implementing new state standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are no exception. Two weeks ago the California Department of Education (CDE) and State Board of Education (SBE) responded to CSTA’s call to provide clarification regarding the standards that are to be included in a district’s LCAP when addressing State Priority #2. Today and tomorrow the CFCC will convene again with the writers of the NGSS Curriculum Framework to provide feedback to the writers on draft framework chapters and CSTA will be at the meetings to provide input into process. Later this week the SBE will interview candidates for appointment to the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) – the body that will pick up the work to finish the NGSS Curriculum Framework after the CFCC completes its work. Finally, next week the SBE will convene its November meeting on November 13 – 14, 2014. On the agenda for this meeting is a recommendation from CDE that the State Board approve the State Implementation Plan for NGSS – a plan which will lay the groundwork for implementation activities at the state and local level as well as for support providers like CSTA and others. Also on the agenda is a report from CDE’s assessment division with the results of the stakeholder group meetings that were held in July 2014 to inform the planning of the future statewide assessment system for science. Finally the SBE will appoint new members to the IQC.

Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) FAQ Update

For those students, teachers, and parents who would like to see support for NGSS implementation activities be a larger part of their district’s LCAP, the California Department of Education and State Board of Education have provided you with a critical tool to help clarify that State Priority #2 is not only about the implementation of Common Core, but rather the implementation of all state standards for all students. CSTA had advocated that this clarifying language be included in the LCAP template itself, however this request was not approved. At the same time the SBE recognized that further clarification was appropriate and on October 21, 2014, posted a new FAQ to add clarity to the intention of State Priority #2:

What State Standards must the LCAP address as part of Priority 2? (Posted 21-Oct-2014)

The LCAP must include goals and related actions that address implementation of the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board. The content standards adopted by the California State Board of Education are listed below:

English Language Arts – Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, Adopted August 2010
Mathematics – Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Adopted August 2010 and modified January 2013
English Language Development, Adopted November 2012
Career Technical Education, Updated January 2013
Health Education Content Standards, Adopted March 2008
History-Social Science, Adopted October 1998
Model School Library Standards, Adopted September 2010
Physical Education Model Content Standards, Adopted January 2005
Next Generation Science Standards, Adopted 2013
Visual and Performing Arts, Adopted January 2001
World Language, Adopted January 2009

The list of the standards may also be accessed at the CDE’s Content Standards Web page.

Further, Priority 2 requires the description of how programs and services will enable English Learners to access the English-Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core academic standards adopted pursuant to Section 60605.8 and the English Language Development standards adopted pursuant to Section 60811.3 for purposes of gaining academic content knowledge and English language proficiency.

Teachers are a critical voice in the LCAP planning process, make your voice heard in your district about your need for professional learning support for NGSS to be a critical component of your district’s LCAP. CSTA has worked at the state level to improve the communication about the scope of State Priority #2 – now the work falls to the local level and in your community where the decisions about what is included in your district’s LCAP is made.

NGSS Curriculum Framework

The third of six Science Curriculum Frameworks and Evaluation Criteria Committee (Science CFCC) meetings will take place in Sacramento November 5-6, 2014. CSTA has a team of volunteer reviewers providing feedback and edits to the CFCC on each chapter of the Curriculum Framework as they are presented at each meeting. In addition, CSTA has had representation at each CFCC meeting, providing input through the public process. Curriculum frameworks provide guidance for implementing the standards and CSTA will participate in the development process every step of the way.

November State Board of Education Meeting

On November 13, 2014 the SBE will hear a presentation and consider approval of the State Implementation Plan for California Next Generation Science Standards for Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve. CSTA participated in the process to develop the first draft of the plan as well as provided feedback to the draft plan that was presented in September 2014. The newest version of the draft plan includes an Executive Summary and lays the groundwork for and provides guidance to CDE, LEAs, and community stakeholders of NGSS implementation activities for the next few years and beyond. CSTA is in the process of reviewing this latest version of the plan and will submit its comments to the SBE later this week

Of interest to many science teachers in California will be item #2 on the SBE’s agenda, which among other assessment information, includes an update on the science assessment stakeholder meetings and proposed science assessment timeline. The proposed implementation timeline for a statewide assessment system to meet federal ESEA requirements is as follows:

Spring 2015, 2016, and 2017: ESEA-required CST, CMA, CAPA Science tests will be administered in grades 5, 8, and 10

2015 – 2016: Development of ESEA-required science assessments and tools aligned to the NGSS are proposed to begin

2016-2017: NGSS Assessment Pilot Test

2017-2018: NGSS Assessment Field Test

2018-2019: NGSS Operational Assessment

CSTA has used this information to update our Estimated NGSS Implementation Timeline (now available online). This is an evolving timeline that is updated as information is made available.

Once again CSTA is reviewing the information in the agenda item and will provide input as appropriate.

CSTA thanks its many volunteers on the NGSS and Legislative Oversight Committee, together with the CSTA board of directors, for their work to review these many documents and provide input to CSTA so that we may promote high quality science education in California.

NGSS Committee Roster:

Peter A’Hearn, Palm Springs USD, Co-Chair
Carol Cao, Summit View School
Jim Clark, Arroyo High School
Elizabeth Cooke, Community United Elementary School
Mary Elizabeth, Martin Luther King Jr., Junior High School
Shay Fairchild, Norwalk La Mirada USD
Susan Gomez-Zwiep, CSU Long Beach – K-12 Alliance
Jill Grace, Palos Verdes Intermediate School
LaDonna Guzman, Santana High School
Lisa Hegdahl, McCaffrey Middle School
Laura Henriques, CSU Long Beach, Co-Chair
Kurt Holland, Science Guide
Mary Koga, Brea Junior High School
Joanne Michael, Meadows Elementary
Hope Oliver, Bret Harte Middle School
Rodney Olson, Crespi Carmelite High School
Katrina Rotter, Lowell High School
Katherine Schenkelberg, West High School
Mary Whaley, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Jeanine Wulfenstein, Gardner Middle School
Heather Wygant, Sobrato High School

Legislative Oversight Committee Roster:

Elizabeth Cooke, Community United Elementary School
Dean Gilbert, Orange County Department of Education
Melodie Hall, Eastside High School
Lisa Hegdahl, McCaffrey Middle School
Laura Henriques, CSU Long Beach
Kurt Holland, Science Guide
Elizabeth Marroquin, Matthew Gage Middle School
Pasquale Mazzulli, Inland Area Science Teachers Assn.
Heather Murphy, Biology & Chemistry Teacher
Marian Murphy-Shaw, Siskiyou COE
Jeff Orlinsky, Warren High School, Chair
Jeanine Wulfenstein, Gardner Middle School

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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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

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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.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. 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.