January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces State Approves Middle Grade Recommendations for Modern Science Standards Science Expert Panel to Reconvene and Consider Additional Model

Posted: Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

November 6, 2013 Press Release from the California Department of Education:

SACRAMENTO—California’s move to modern new science standards took another step forward as the State Board of Education approved a preferred model for middle grade learning progressions, which integrate science instruction, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) bring science instruction up to date, reflecting new understanding of not only knowledge and skills, but of how students learn best. NGSS emphasizes a deeper focus on understanding the cross-cutting concepts within and across scientific disciplines. These new standards integrate engineering practices with science practices to help students understand the workings of science and the natural world. NGSS will cut across various science disciplines and incorporate the Common Core State Standards<http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/> in math and English language arts, so students will build and deepen their knowledge of science.

“This decision means that all students—from kindergarten through graduation— will have a smooth learning transition from grade to grade,” Torlakson said. “California’s economy and status rest in part on our leadership in science and technology, and these standards will help ensure our students will graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed outside our classrooms.”

The Board also requested the California Department of Education reconvene the Science Expert Panel to develop an alternative model of science instruction that is specific to each middle grade level. The Science Expert Panel was convened by Torlakson earlier this year to review the standards. It included kindergarten through grade twelve teachers, scientists, educators, business, industry representatives, and informal science educators.

California was a lead state in developing the standards, in a voluntary and transparent process over the last two years. California teachers, scientists, college professors, business and industry leaders, and educational experts all took part in an 80-member California NGSS review team that thoroughly examined the standards five times. The state’s previous standards were adopted 15 years ago.

Next, a Strategic Leadership Team will be appointed by Torlakson to develop a plan to implement the NGSS. This includes a timeline for implementation, adopting a science framework, developing student assessments, and strategies for school districts. Once the team completes its work, the strategic action plan will be presented to the State Board of Education for approval at a future meeting.    For more information on the development of the NGSS, visit the California Department of Education’s Next Generation Science Standards<http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/ngssintrod.asp> Web page.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries are major components of California’s economy. A 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce study, “STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future<http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf>,” found that over the past 10 years, growth in jobs involving STEM fields was three times greater than that of non-STEM occupations. The report also forecast that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than others in the coming decade.

California is preparing to host its first annual STEM Symposium, set for November 18-19, 2013, at the Sacramento Convention Center. This symposium will highlight how quality STEM programs align with Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards and provide strategies and resources for program implementation. For more information, visit the 1st Annual California STEM Symposium 2013<http://cdefoundation.org/stemconference/> Web site.

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The California Department of Education (CDE) is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov<http://www.cde.ca.gov/> or by mobile device at http://m.cde.ca.gov/. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cadepted and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CAEducation.

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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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.