March 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 7

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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Spring Is in the Air!

Posted: Monday, March 30th, 2015

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April 2015 Photo of the Month

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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.

California State Board of Education Approves Suspension of State’s Accountability Measurement System

Posted: Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the State Board of Education voted unanimously to suspend the Academic Performance Index (API) for the 2014-15 school year 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.

Engineering Brings It All Together

Posted: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

P.Ahearn_Photo_1

I am really enjoying the creativity that NGSS is awakening in teachers. Those who want to create are taking the standards (and the freedom that comes from the lack of a test) and really exploring what engages their students. I found though, that even when trying our best to match up to the expectations of NGSS, there is a feeling that we missed something. Did we remember the crosscutting concepts? Did the students engage in the practices at the level that NGSS expects? Did we get to the engineering? How about the Nature of Science? Was the content deep enough to really teach the DCI to the point where it could be applied to a new situation? Was it engaging? About a real world phenomenon or problem? Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District, Co-Chair of the 2013 Conference Committee, and a member of CSTA.

Meaningful Thinking in 140 Characters or Fewer

Posted: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

by Jill Grace

I’ve learned the hard way that I will get “huffs”, eye-rolls, grunts, and the occasional nuclear meltdown from students if I ask them to summarize their learning in, dare I say it, a paragraph. It’s as though paragraph is a bad word and how shocking that I would ask for one in science class! I even get slammed with questions: “How many sentences to I have to write?” (why are we still asking that question in middle school?), “Do I have to use complete sentences?”, and “Do I really have to write a whole paragraph?” *teacher sigh*

First and foremost, I am a huge advocate of having students produce writing in a science class. I will also admit that this can be a challenge, and so the year that I decided to make the shift to an interactive science notebook it was glaring at me. I would be asking students for writing as a vehicle to share their thinking (in what we refer to as “outputs” in the notebook) all the time. Although we wouldn’t be able to avoid the writing, sometimes I may want to ask my students to share their thinking in a way that will avoid the drama that asking for a paragraph can sometimes generate. (Incidentally, this was all prior to implementation of the Common Core Standards – where anecdotally, in just one year, I’ve seen a big shift in student acceptance of writing outside of language arts.) Learn More…

Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace teaches 7th grade science at Palos Verdes Intermediate School and is the Middle School/Jr. High Director for CSTA.

State Board to Vote on Suspension of API for 2014-2015

Posted: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The California State Board of Education will vote on the Public School Accountability Act (PSAA) Committee’s recommendation to suspend the calculation of the Academic Performance Index (API) for a second year 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.