May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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.

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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: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/pn/im/documents/memoilsbplsd-apr14item02.doc (Source: http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/pn/im/infomemoapr2014.asp)
    See also: http://www.classroomscience.org/cde-posts-alternate-discipline-specific-middle-grades-learning-progression
    and http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/ngssstandards.asp.
    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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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.