May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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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.