IL School District Advances Area-Wide Initiative to Revise Science Curriculum

According to the New Lenox Patch, more than 50 science teachers from Lincoln-Way High School District 210 and area elementary and middle school districts recently came together  to continue their work to realign science curriculum to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This is the final in a series of workshops that is transforming science curriculum with a focus around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The realigned curriculum will be implemented by the fall of 2016.

“Schools across the country are making a shift in how science is taught to give students more critical thinking and problem-solving skills now required in STEM-based career fields,” said Tim Reilly, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.

“You don’t see this kind of unified curriculum-writing in most communities,” said Reilly. “We are fortunate to have such dedicated science teachers who are working together to ensure that our vision for science is implemented progressively across classrooms from kindergarten to high school.”

Click here to read the story in the New Lenox (IL) Patch (April 21, 2015)

State BOE Adopts Amended Climate Change Science Standards

Earlier today, the West Virginia Board of Education voted 6-2 to adopt an amended set of science standards for West Virginia schools. The amendments came at the request of Board member Wade Linger.

According to an article by West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Linger moved to amend the standards in the following three ways:

  • Moving a sentence from the body of the standards into their introduction for emphasis that reads, “There is deliberative sequencing of objectives (based on programmatic level) to ensure students will develop skills to acknowledge and distinguish claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, support arguments either claims or counterclaims with evidence, and communicate about science related topics/issues in a knowledgeable, clear and objective manner.”
  • Modifying standard S.6.ESS.6 to say “Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the change in global temperature over the past century,” rather than “rise in global temperature.”
  • Modify standard S.HS.ENV.17 to add “natural forces” as an area of study for the possible causes of the change.

Click here to read the full story by WV Public Radio.

Click here to read an article in the West Virginia Gazette.

Wyoming to resume reviewing science standards

An article in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the members of the Wyoming Board of Education are taking a middle road in their work to revise state science standards. Members of the board decided at their last meeting to move forward with a review process for the standards that builds off of earlier work, board Chairman Pete Gosar said. “We’re not going to try to start over again,” he said. “A lot of really good work had been done.”

Click here to read the full article in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (March 21, 2015)

 

 

Achieve and Teaching Channel Release New Videos about NGSS

Achieve and Teaching Channel have released four videos that provide an overview of key innovations in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The videos provide educators with a deeper understanding of the benefits of the NGSS, specifically the three-dimensional learning that the standards provide to students. Video topics include:

Click here to view the videos.

NGSS a Major Focus of NSTA National Conference

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was a major focus at NSTA’s National Conference in Chicago March 12-15. NSTA hosted an all-day forum on NGSS and numerous sessions were given to standing-room-only crowds.

Liana Heiten from Education Week filed a blog on a session given by Brian Reiser at the NGSS@NSTA Forum on Friday, March 13, where he describes the standards as “a shift from learning about something to figuring out something.” Click here to read her blog, Teaching the Next Generation Science Standards with ‘Mysteries.” 

NSTA will soon be posting slides and presentations of some of the NGSS presentations.

 

 

 

 

Wyoming Ends Ban on Teaching Climate Science

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead signed into law a bill to allow the Wyoming State Department of Education to consider Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), as well as other standards. The Legislature last year, in a budget footnote, prohibited the board from considering the NGSS because some lawmakers were concerned they emphasized a link between burning fossil fuels and global warming.

Click here to read the March 2 article in the National Journal

Click here to read the March 3 article in the Casper Star Tribune

 

NSTA Announces STEM Initiative for School and District Administrators

With a $500,000 commitment from Chevron, NSTA is launching a new initiative to support school administrators as they work to strengthen teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. The Chevron-supported NSTA Administrators Initiative will include face-to-face professional development opportunities, coupled with a suite of resources developed especially for school and district leaders that will build knowledge and understanding of science and engineering practices, a key component of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The program is geared for principals and vice principals as well as district leaders who provide instructional coaching for teachers.

NSTA will kick-off the initiative with a face-to-face workshop for administrators in conjunction with a broader effort to engage district teams at the NSTA National Conference in Chicago. On Thursday, March 12, administrators will participate in a four-hour workshop, Teaming Up for STEM: NSTA District Administrator Workshop.

For more information about the Chevron-supported NSTA Administrators Initiative, or to learn how to register for the March 12 District Administrator Workshop, click here. To read the full press release, click here.

State science exams for 3 grades axed in spring testing

According to the Chicago Tribune, the State of Illinois is negotiating with the U.S. Department of Education to eliminate science testing this Spring. Federal law requires testing at least once in grades 3 through 5, 6 thorugh 9, and 10 through 12.

State School Superintendent Christopher Koch told the Tribune that the state is planning to field-test new science questions this spring and hopes the field testing will satisfy the federal government.

NSTA Executive Director is quoted in the article raising concerns that eliminating science tests would mean less time devoted to science instruction.

“We’ve seen that happen,” more so in grade schools than high schools, said David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association. “It sounds trite, but what’s tested is taught, in our current environment.”

Click here to read the Chicago Tribune article.

Wyoming Takes First Step to Repeal Footnote Preventing State to Consider NGSS

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial support to a bill that would allow the state to consider Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) when updating K-12 science standards. According to the Casper Star Tribune, representatives voted in favor of House Bill 23, a bill that repeals last year’s budget footnote that prevented the state Board of Education from considering the K-12 standards. The bill must pass two more readings in the House before going to the Senate.

Click here to read the Casper Star Tribune article.

Wyoming Moves to Put NGSS Back on the Table

On Monday, January 19, the Wyoming House Education Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that would remove the budget footnote passed last year barring the State Board of Education from spending money to review or adopt the NGSS. The footnote was added despite a unanimous recommendation of the state’s standards revision committee (made up of Wyoming educators) to adopt the standards. The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Click here to read an article published by Wyoming Public Radio.