September 2016 – Vol. 29 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

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

Leave a Reply


California Science Assessment Update

Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at 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.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. 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.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well 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.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.