April 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 8

Can’t Find the Money to Attend the CSTA Conference? Your District May Be Able to Help:

Posted: Thursday, August 1st, 2013

State Budget Includes $1.25 Billion in One-Time Funding to Support Common Core and New Science Standards Implementation

by Jessica Sawko

As you have probably heard already, the budget signed by Governor Brown at the end of June included $1.25 billion in one-time funding to help districts implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). But what you might have missed is that the language of the trailer bill (a legislative vehicle that accompanies the state budget that describes how budget funds are to be spent) includes the not yet adopted NGSS for California. According to the California Department of Education and per the language of AB 86, Section 85 the funds are to be spent in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 and can be used for any of three purposes (specific bill language below for reference):

  • Professional development that is aligned to the CCSS, NGSS for California, and/or ELD Standards.  This can be provided for teachers, administrators, paraprofessional educators, or other classified employees directly involved in instruction.
  • Instructional materials aligned to the CCSS, NGSS for California, and/or ELD Standards.
  • Integrating the CCSS/NGSS through technology-based instruction, such as expenses relating to support of computer-based assessment (e.g. high-speed internet connection, etc.)

While it is anticipated that most school districts will focus their funding primarily on Common Core implementation rather than NGSS, that does not mean that you as a science teacher need be left out in the cold. The 2013 California Science Education Conference will feature program strands for both Common Core and NGSS for science educators. With this in mind, consider asking your district to use some of their one-time funds to pay for science teachers to attend! Many of you may have already started to implement portions of the Common Core in your science classroom and if not, you will likely be asked to in the coming school year. Whether or not you’ve already begun, attending the Conference is a great way to further your preparations and make your professional development part of your district’s success plan for Common Core implementation. Information about the Common Core strand at the 2013 California Science Education Conference is available online.

Trailer bill language:

  • Professional development for teachers, administrators, and paraprofessional educators or other classified employees involved in the direct instruction of pupils that is aligned to the academic content standards adopted pursuant to California Education Code (EC) sections 60605.8 (Common Core), 60605.11 (Common Core), 60605.85 (NGSS for CA), and 60811.3 (ELD Standards).
  • Instructional materials aligned to the academic content standards adopted pursuant to EC sections 60605.8, 60605.85, 60605.11, and 60811.3 including, but not limited to, supplemental instructional materials as provided in sections 60605.86, 60605.87, and 60605.88.
  • Integration of these academic content standards through technology-based instruction for purposes of improving the academic performance of pupils, including, but not necessarily limited to, expenditures necessary to support the administration of computer-based assessments and provide high-speed, high-bandwidth Internet connectivity for the purpose of administration of computer-based assessments.

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.

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Update on 2015 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

Posted: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

For many months our members have been requesting clear information from the state department of education (CDE) regarding the purpose of the “science CSTs” that are being administered this year in grades 5, 8, and 10 and well as how the test scores from those assessments will be used for accountability purposes. The following was excerpted from a letter from the California Department of Education released on April 22:

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress for Science

As educators from across the state begin or continue to implement the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS), questions have been raised regarding the role of the summative science assessments which students in grades five, eight, and ten will participate in during the spring of 2015.

During the transition to the new science standards and assessments, the federally required science assessments in grades five, eight, and ten (i.e., California Standards Tests, California Modified Assessments, and California Alternate Performance Assessment) will continue to be administered until an assessment aligned to the CA NGSS is developed and approved by the SBE. A new assessment is currently under development and scheduled to be operational in 2018–19.

Because the current science tests are not aligned with the new CA NGSS, the results will not be used in any accountability reports; however, the scores will be publicly available. As in prior years, AYP is based only on ELA and mathematics. Science is not included in AYP calculations.

As reported by CSTA previously, API will not be calculated for the 2014/2015 school year. More information about the suspension, what that means for reporting in 2015/2016, review this letter dated March 17, 2015 that was sent to administrators.

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.

Legislative Action Alert – ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

CSTA’s counterparts at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has been actively representing the voice of science teachers in Washington D.C. This morning they sent out this call to action:

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are currently working to reauthorize (rewrite) No Child Left Behind. Please contact your members of Congress immediately, and ask them to make STEM education a national priority. At the Legislative Action Center of the STEM Education Coalition website, you can send a letter to your elected representatives, asking them to

  • Maintain a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
  • Continue the focus on math and science as required elements of any state’s accountability system.
  • Provide states with dedicated funding to support STEM-related activities and teacher training.

It is urgent that educators take a moment to write to your elected officials, and send this message to colleagues and networks in your school or district.

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.

Science Assessment & Accountability Update – FAQs Included

Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

On March 31, 2015 participants from the Science Assessment Stakeholder Meetings held in July 2014 were invited to participate in a follow up meeting to provide input on what a formative component, a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Digital Center, should look like for California. This NGSS Digital Center could include formative assessment tools similar to that of the Smarter Balanced Digital Library for ELA and mathematics. This meeting will take place at the end of April 2015. This is very exciting news as it gives some insight to the direction the state may take with the future statewide assessment system to support the Next Generation Science Standards.  Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

Where Are the Women in STEM? What Can We Do to Support and Retain Them?

Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Women are far less likely than men to earn pSTEM (physical Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) degrees or work in the field. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has gotten a bit of press lately. US News and World Reports had an article highlighting a Clinton Foundation Report showing women in developing countries have less access to cell phones (and therefore the internet) than men. This results in decreased access to health care, fewer job options, a lack of flexibility with work and childcare related issues, and a lowered sense of empowerment. That article linked to several other articles about the lack of diversity in STEM fields in the US, the leaky pipeline and more. Learn More…

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and president of CSTA.

Strategies for Assessing Student Understanding in the NGSS Classroom

Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

by Sara Dozier

Like me, you are probably excited about the opportunities that the Next Generation Science Standards offer students and teachers. For the first time in 17 years, our science standards are asking us to engage our students in science learning that is engaging, meaningful and just plain fun. In addition to our excitement, though, there is also some apprehension. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.