Next Generation Science Standards Rollouts

Spotlight 2.10.16

NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS  ROLLOUTS

Our state is in the midst of an exciting time for science education.  With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013, California took a significant step to help align what is being taught to students with the needs of industry and the cross cutting concepts that bridge the different areas under the umbrella of science and engineering.

Using a “train the trainers” model, a collaborative of NGSScontent and professional development experts have begun conducting trainings across California to bring teachers and administrators up to speed on the NGSS and the suggested roadmap to implementation.


The new standards, rich in content and practice, are designed to be taught in context and to integrate with the core curriculum in a way that allows students to apply the material they learn.

“We’re working to get NGSS into the schools long before it gets tested,” said Jane Steinkamp, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE). “It’s an effort to infuse the language of NGSS into the schools so it becomes part of a school’s culture.”
 
The collaborative that created the trainings includes CCSESA’s Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC), the California Department of Education, the California Science Project, California Science Teachers Association and K-12 Alliances/WestEd.
 
Steinkamp participates in the collaborative as the Lead of the Science Subcommittee for CISC.  She said the collaborative created the vision and structure for the trainings.
 
Groups within the collaborative designed the lessons, which are “sent out to content experts in the field for review and editing,” Steinkamp said.
Each lesson is then presented by its writers to the other content experts for feedback. Finally, they teach the lessons to those who would be out in the field conducting the trainings at the region rollouts.
 
Each region of the state (Northern California, Southern California, Central Valley, and Bay Area) has a training team made up of a lead presenter from a county office of education and a local teacher as a co-presenter.
 
The teams are deployed at the regional level “to build capacity so county offices of education can take the model and use it with their districts,” Steinkamp said.

“The idea is not only to advance NGSS, but also support county offices by giving them training modules so they don’t have to create them from scratch,” she said.

Districts are encouraged to send teams made up of a district-level administrator, site-level administrator, and a teacher leader from grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 to the NGSS rollout trainings.
NGSS_Phases_Implementation
Phase 1 of the training, which was designed to build general awareness of the NGSS, began in April 2014 through January 2015 and had over 1,800 educators in attendance.  Phase 2, the “transition” phase, took place from April 2015 through January 2016, and Phase 3 (implementation) will begin this April and continue through January 2017.
 
Final NGSS student assessments aren’t scheduled until 2018-19, and Steinkamp said the collaborative hopes to continue its work at least until then.
 
In the April 2015 trainings, participants deepened their understanding of the new standards, used tools to design a learning sequence based on the standards, experienced what learning would look like in a classroom over a multi-day lesson, and much more.
 
Kirk Brown, SJCOE’s Director of STEM, said they have been following up with schools to see how the tools learned in the trainings are being used in the classroom. Teachers started shifting their practice after the Phase 1 rollout, he said. “We’re giving them tools they’re really using.”
 
Brown said, “The worst thing that could happen during a rollout of new standards is that teachers hear different things from different people. We’re ensuring teachers receive a coherent message, and that they deploy the standards as they’ve been envisioned. And we’re seeing that when we go out to districts.”
 
This is especially important given the extent of the shifts NGSS will bring, he said. “I taught for 25 years, and this is the biggest change in science that’s ever happened.”
 
Steinkamp said it’s also gratifying to see how the new standards enable students to “make sense of things themselves. This takes a lot of forward planning, but when kids are actively involved in their learning it’s exciting for teachers and for students.”
 
Phase 2 rollout trainings had over 1,600 participants and were held in nine locations across the state, including San Joaquin, Long Beach, Chino, Hayward, Fresno, San Marcos, Red Bluff, San Jose and Camarillo.
 
“I’m very grateful for the support of CCSESA, CISC and all the other partner organizations,” Steinkamp said.  “This content model shows how professional development really should be deployed.”
standards

FOR MORE INFORMATION

• Interested in attending Phase 3 of the NGSS Rollouts?  Please contact Efrain Mercado, CCSESA Policy Director – emercado@ccsesa.org 
• The NGSS website features everything you need to know about the standards, including its framework, the development process, partners, and the standards themselves.
• The California Department of Education provides information about our state’s adoption of the standards, including a breakdown by grade level and by topic.
• The California Science Teachers Association offers its own take on the standards and features timelines, news updates, professional development events and more.

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