Ringing in a New Year is an event that brings about reflection on the major events of the past year and inspiration to set some new goals for the unchartered territory of the year ahead. Science education in California experienced some major happenings in 2016, priming 2017 to be the beginning of a truly new era for students in our schools.
The Next Generation Science Standards may have been adopted a few years ago, but relatively few districts took immediate steps to plan for a transition to implementation. Those that did took action in a variety of program and policy areas, including: collaboratively creating mission and vision statements for science education, brainstorming ways to ensure adequate instructional time for science in K-5, developing leadership teams to help identify needs, innovate, and take steps to move implementation along, and more. These trailblazers had a variety of factors motivating their work as early implementers; however, in 2017 it becomes imperative that ALL districts begin the important work of NGSS implementation.
A new assessment system and “dashboard” of school performance indicators (in which science counts!) is on the horizon and our students deserve a core educational program that includes quality instruction in science - no matter their English Language status, reading level, mathematics proficiency, socioeconomic status, school size, or any other factor that’s traditionally affected access in past years. Science, done the NGSS way, can allow all students to shine. Embrace it as a means to disrupt some NCLB-era policies and programs that remain unchanged or modestly altered despite a drastically different vision for standards and performance. I urge all of us in education to collaborate and do the tough problem-solving around helping schools truly move toward 21st Century goals: collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity and innovation in all content areas - or even better - within authentic, interdisciplinary learning.
@NGSS_tweeps is a community Twitter account: each week a different educator tweets about NGSS, providing a window into their classroom