By Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Anais Wenn
At the end of 2015-16 school year, The Governing Board approved LCUSD’s Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) implementation plan. It was designed by the LCUSD NGSS Steering Committee comprised of teachers and administrators under the guidance of the K-12 Alliance at WestEd. The K-12 Alliance at WestEd is a premier professional learning organization for science and mathematics education. The NGSS Steering Committee received a four day training and at the last training designed a 5 year implementation plan for the District. The implementation plan is posted on LCUSD’s website for your reference and edification.
One of the biggest changes resulting from the NGSS implementation is the sequence of the science courses offered at LCHS in grades 9-12. Starting 2017-18 school year the pathway below will be implemented with the incoming 9th grade students. Students in grades 10-12 will matriculate through the previously established science pathway.
9th grade: Physics in the Universe
10th grade: Chemistry in the Earth System
11th grade: The Living Earth: Integrating Life and Earth Sciences
12 grade: Elective science courses, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, AP Physics, Geology or another Earth and Space Science course
As per the implementation plan, all teachers and administrators are being trained to effectively implement the NGSS standards in their instruction. Science Parent Nights were provided to TK-6 parents on February 7, 2017 and 7-12 parents on February 28, 2017. During these meetings parents heard about the instructional shifts associated with the implementation of NGSS and their impact on our instructional program. Earlier this year, principals asked for parent volunteers to join and serve on the NGSS Steering Committee. The rationale was to include parent voice and to benefit from their expertise in the field of science. Five parents were selected to serve on this committee and participated in the first two meetings on October 20, 2016 and January 26, 2017. Two more meetings will be held throughout the year to monitor the implementation of the NGSS plan and provide feedback to improve the plan design and processes.
As part of its plan, LCUSD has hired five science lab aides (one at each site) to support Science teachers with labs and has created science coordinator positions at TK-6 and 7-12 levels to serve as liaisons between the schools and the community. The role of the Science Coordinator is to communicate the plan to families and access resources to support science education at all sites. Amy Nespor (firstname.lastname@example.org) is LCUSD’s Science Coordinator at both the TK-6 and the 7-12 level. If you have any suggestions or ideas on bringing real life learning experiences to our classrooms, please email Amy.