September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

State Board to Get a Look at the State’s First Draft NGSS Implementation Plan

Posted: Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014 the California State Board of Education (SBE) will receive a presentation of the first draft of the state’s NGSS Implementation Plan. The state’s Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) comprised of CDE staff, representatives from education organizations including K-12 Alliance of WestEd, CSTA, and California Science Project (CSP), business representatives, and representatives of each level of education pre-K – post-secondary.

What follows is text from the agenda item (Item 5) that will be presented to the SBE on Thursday. No action will be taken by the SBE at this meeting. A preliminary draft will be presented to the SBE in July 2014 for discussion; a revised draft, if appropriate, based on SBE input will be presented to the SBE for approval in September 2014. If you would like to view the presentation of the agenda item, you may do so in person by attending the meeting in Sacramento or watch the meeting online. A copy of the implementation timeline as presented in this document is available here.



The State Implementation Plan for CA NGSS is based on the strategies utilized in developing the state’s implementation plan for California Common Core Standards and the English Language Development Standards. An additional strategy was added to foster strong community coalition for and commitment for support of high quality science education in all grades, Kindergarten through grade 12. These strategies include:

  • Facilitate high quality professional learning opportunities for educators to ensure that every student has access to teachers who are prepared to teach to the levels of rigor and depth required by the NGSS.
  • Provide NGSS-aligned instructional resources designed to meet the diverse needs of all students.
  • Develop and transition to NGSS-aligned assessment systems to inform instruction, establish priorities for professional learning, and provide tools for accountability.
  • Collaborate with parents, guardians, and the early childhood and extended learning communities to integrate the NGSS into programs and activities beyond the K–12 school setting.
  • Collaborate with the postsecondary and business communities and additional stakeholders to ensure that all students are prepared for success in career and college.
  • Seek, create, and disseminate resources to support stakeholders as NGSS systems implementation moves forward.
  • Design and establish systems of effective communication among stakeholders to continuously identify areas of need and disseminate information.
  • Build coalitions to ensure the message of importance for science education, grades Kindergarten through grade 8 and to sustain momentum during implementation of NGSS.  

For the complete information and the full text of the agenda item, visit the State Board of Education’s website.

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. I sure hope they fix the confusing elementary grade space sciences standards. The last draft I saw had a disagreement between the title, which implied the entire solar system, and the specific standards, which seem to exclude anything celestial that can’t be seen by naked eye from Earth.

  2. Dear Susan,

    The standards are approved and in their final format. There will not be any edits to the standards for some time. Legislative action would be required to modify the standards as approved by the state board in September 2013. I hope this information helps.

    Jessica Sawko – CSTA

  3. Did the SBE look at an alternative option to middle school integration for NGSS at May meeting? I did not find that on the agenda. I filled out the survey. The CDE NGSS webpage says that the advisory board would notify the SBE of their choice at the May Mtg.

  4. Dear Karla,
    The State Board was notified via an informational memo prior to the board meeting. A copy is available here: (Source:
    See also:
    I learned yesterday that one of the PEs is missing from the seventh grade document, CDE indicated that they would post a correction soon.

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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

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

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


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.