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Next Generation Science Standards: Empowering Teachers to Empower Students for the Future of STEM

Posted March 1, 2019 by Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE) at CSUDH

Written by CISE and provided to LA2050 as part of its mid-year report.

As part of the LA2050 Activation Challenge, the Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE) at CSU Dominguez Hills is empowering teachers and providing dynamic training and mentoring on the state adopted, industry recognized Next Generation Science Standards.

We are pleased to report that the first cohort of 55 teachers were trained in fall 2018. Following is a snapshot of the teachers served:

• 56% of participants were teachers from LAUSD.

• 19% of participants were teachers from Compton USD.

• 17% of participants were teachers from Inglewood USD.

• 8% of participants were teachers from other local districts.

• 83% of participants indicated that they had been teaching for three or more years.

• 51% of participants taught multiple subjects.

• 40% of participants taught science.

• 9% of participants taught mathematics.

The CISE team has met several project goals in the first six months of the grant implementation. The team recruited teachers, held a Kick-Off event, completed training for the first cohort of NGSS Super Training, and conducted classroom observation and Lesson Study Cycles. One of the primary focuses of the training was establishing the foundation for the Next Generation Science standards. Participants learned about NGSS, Performance Expectations (PE), Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Cross-Cutting Concepts (CCCS), and how they compare to the previous set of standards. Teachers then explored how three-dimensional learning better prepares students for college and career readiness.

NGSS Super Training participants were also offered the opportunity to obtain the Beginner Level Certification in Fabrication Technology which certifies teachers as "basic," "proficient," and "advanced" in the use of fabrication laboratory equipment for curriculum design and delivery. Every participant was successful at meeting the requirements for the Beginner Fabrication Technology Certification.

Prior to the classroom observations, an NGSS expert met with teachers to agree on the observation focus and review the lesson plan; the NGSS expert reviewed and documented evidence of good teaching practices, and provided formal feedback. During the Lesson Study Cycles, teams of teacher trainees engaged in collaborative planning-teaching-observation of learning, followed by lesson evaluation and refinement.

Based on a survey administered as a follow-up to the training, participants found the training to be a valuable experience. Each teacher had an opportunity to demonstrate mastery and an ability to integrate the Next Generation Science Standards and the Fabrication Technology into a unit of instruction, which was submitted into a shared Google Drive folder.

We are excited to report:

• 100% of those that completed the training stated that they will be able to facilitate at least 1 NGSS Professional Development at their school site, for colleagues, after completing the NGSS Super Training.

• 63% increase in the number of participants who felt comfortable or very comfortable operating the 3D printer from the first to the final day.

• 67% increase in the comfort levels for the number of participants who felt comfortable or very comfortable operating the vinyl cutters from the first to the final day.

• 86% of participants indicated that they would be interested in receiving additional certification if provided the opportunity.

• 100% of participants indicated that they would recommend this training series to other teachers.

Overall, those that completed the training acquired the knowledge about NGSS, thus contributing to the national effort as well as our local effort to implement the new standards one school at a time. We are currently in the training evaluation and revision phase of the project and participants for Cohort Two are being recruited for training during the March - May 2019 cycle.

Recruiting Cohort One was somewhat challenging due to the short timeline for recruitment. However, once the recruitment phase ended, over 90 teachers expressed an interest in participating and 55 were selected and completed the entire training, thus exceeding the target number set for Cohort One by five teachers. Based on the success with the first cohort and their enthusiasm about the training, our team is confident about being able to meet the target number for Cohort Two and will make the necessary adjustments to some parts of the program based on feedback from all involved.

While we are still a few years away from being able to measure and evaluate the impact on college and community college completion and matriculation rates, we feel confident about the impact our program has had on increasing students' immersion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Each of the 55 teachers who completed our program teaches about 150 students each year, impacting over 8,000 students per year. Over five years, these 55 teachers will reach 40,000 students! That means 40,000 more students excited and inspired about STEM and fabrication technology. That's 40,000 more individuals who will contribute to making Los Angeles not just a better place, but the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live by the year 2050!