COMET • Vol. 12, No. 18 – 14 October 2011


California STEM Summit 2011

Contact( Lauren Toler –
URL(Summit Resources):

On October 10-11, the California STEM Learning Network and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson hosted the “California STEM Summit 2011: Sparking Innovation in STEM” at the University of California (UC), Davis Conference Center. The conference sought to bring together leaders from business, government, education, and nonprofit/philanthropic groups to discuss new initiatives to engage more students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Specifically, the conference sought to provide a venue for participants to (a) learn about critical issues related to advancing STEM education, (b) help move forward key STEM initiatives and programs in California, and (c) foster new collaborations that strengthen in-school and out-of-school STEM teaching and learning in K-14 education.

Prior to the main conference, a two-hour informational session on innovative approaches to applying technology in the 21st century classroom was presented in partnership with Google.

The full conference agenda is available at provided live streaming of the conference and has posted videos of each conference session at has provided COMET with video links in an annotated agenda format available below (also see

= California STEM Summit Agenda = 

Monday, October 10

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pre-Conference Workshop hosted by Google: “Innovative Approaches to Applying Technology in the 21st Century Classroom”
– URL (Part 1):
– URL (Part 2):

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
“Welcome & Introductions”
– Linda Katehi, Chancellor, UC-Davis
– Warren Baker, Chair, California STEM Learning Network
– Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of Public Instruction

2:00 – 2:15 PM
“California’s Challenge: Sparking Innovation in STEM”
– Chris Roe, CEO, California STEM Learning Network

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.
“STEM Education is Job One” 
      Despite record unemployment, California employers widely report being unable to find qualified candidates for science, technology, engineering and math-related jobs. Join Matt Lonner in conversation with California business and education leaders about evolving workforce needs and strategies for advancing STEM education so that all California students have the requisite skills to succeed in postsecondary educational, careers, and their daily lives, while meeting our state’s workforce needs and contributing to California’s innovation-based economy.
– Session Moderator: Matt Lonner, East Bay Cradle to Careers Gateway/Chevron Corporation
– Panelists:
     – Linda Katehi, Chancellor, UC-Davis
– Van Ton Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor, CA Community College System
– Roberta Gotfried, Director, Engineering Learning & University Relations, Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
“The Policy Horizon in STEM: From Barrier to Breakthrough?”
      Advancing STEM teaching and learning requires the development and implementation of policies that knock down barriers to learning, support teachers, and provide all students with access to high-quality STEM curriculum, facilities and technology. Join the Exploratorium’s Executive Director Dennis Bartels in a discussion with local and state policymakers and national experts about how key state and federal education policy issues such as the Common Core, the new science standards and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will impact STEM education locally and throughout the state.
– Session Moderator: Dennis Bartels, Executive Director, Exploratorium
– Panelists:
– Lupita Cortez Alcala, Branch Deputy, California Department of Education
– Susan Hackwood, Executive Director, California Council on Science and Technology
– Linda Roberts, Independent Technology Consultant
– Steve Schneider, Senior Director, WestEd
– Sue Stickel, Assistant Superintendent, Sacramento Co. Office of Education

4:15 – 5:00 p.m.
“STEM Learning 24/7: Advancing STEM in Out-of-School Time”
     With so many California students lacking access to quality STEM education during the traditional school day, out-of-school time programs provide valuable opportunities to spark the creativity, interest and engagement of students in STEM. Join George Lucas Foundation Senior Fellow Milton Chen and a panel of educators, philanthropic leaders, and award-winning students as they discuss how new partnerships and collaborations can leverage these opportunities and help to bridge learning from informal settings with the classroom.
– Session Moderator: Milton Chen, Senior Fellow, George Lucas Foundation
– Panelists:
– Andee Press-Dawson, Executive Director, California Afterschool Network
– Onda Johnson, California Department of Education
– Ron Ottinger, Executive Director, Noyce Foundation
– Julia Roche, student, BE WiSE Program, San Diego Science Alliance
– Homin Kwark, student, Northwood High School, Irvine

Tuesday, October 11

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.
The Honorable Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom

10:15 – 10:45 a.m.
“Forging a State STEM Policy Agenda”
– Sue Burr, Executive Director, State Board of Education

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch & Keynote Speaker: Bob Tinker, President Emeritus, The Concord Consortium

1:30 – 2:00 p.m.
“Reports from Breakout Sessions by Session Chairs”

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
“The Role of New Media and Technologies in Bolstering STEM Education”
     Leveraging new technologies and the dynamic and transformative power of new media is an integral part of sparking innovation in STEM education. EdSource’s Louis Freedburg leads a conversation with leading technology experts from industry and schools who are developing and using these tools to transform and catalyze breakthroughs in STEM teaching and learning.
– Moderator: Louis Freedburg, Executive Director, EdSource
– Panelists:
– Tony DeRose, Research Group Lead, Pixar
– Jon Pearce, Professior and Chair, Computer Science Dept., San Jose State University
– Kami Thordarson, Teacher, Santa Rita Elementary School, Los Altos School District
– Jim Vanides, Program Manager, Hewlett-Packard

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
“Creating and Sustaining Inter-Segmental, Regional STEM Networks”
     ISKME’s Amee Evans Godwin facilitates a discussion with STEM champions who are leading regional STEM networks in the Silicon Valley, the Sacramento region, San Bernardino and the Inland Empire, San Diego, Orange County and the East Bay about how to create and sustain inter-segmental, public-private partnerships that are responsive to the unique needs of their local economies and preparing California’s future STEM workforce.
– Moderator: Amee Evans Godwin, Director, Strategic Initiatives, ISKME
– Panelists:
– Muhammed Chaudhry, Silicon Valley Education Foundation
– Matt Lonner, East Bay Cradle to Careers Gateway/Chevron Corporation
– Harold Levine, UC-Davis
– Leslie Rodden, San Bernardino Alliance for Education
– Nancy Taylor, San Diego Science Alliance
– Gerald Solomon, Samueli Foundation

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
“Continuing the Dialogue – Taking Action”
– Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction
– Chris Roe, CEO, California STEM Learning Network


Webinar on October 26: STEM Alignment with After-School Learning

Source: SchoolsMovingUp, WestEd

On October 26, from 10:30 a.m.- noon PT, WestEd’s SchoolsMovingUp initiative will present a panel of national experts discussing how alignment between after-school programs and the core instructional day can support STEM learning in a district or school. This is the second webinar in a three-part series co-sponsored by The California After-School Network, the U.S. Department of Education’s website Doing What Works, and California State University. The goal of the series is to facilitate conversations on the impact of after-school programs on closing achievement gaps and readying students for college and/or careers.

Additional Details: The webinar focuses on setting a vision for after-school learning, reviewing strategies for alignment, developing capacity in program leaders, and profiling resources for educators to use immediately following the webinar. Milton Chen, Executive Director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, will be the discussant for a panel of experts who bring a range of experiences as school administrators, informal science educators, and after-school professionals. They will share successful concrete strategies and promising practices about alignment that furthers STEM learning. Special attention will be given to inquiry-based approaches, project-based learning, real-world investigation, discovery, and invention.

To register for this webinar, please visit  Please submit any questions that you have in advance to

This webinar will be archived and available at on October 27.

For more information, email or call (510) 302-4248.


Governor Brown Approves Legislation Pertaining to Mathematics and Science Education

URL(AB 250)
URL(SB 140)
URL(SB 300) 

Governor Jerry Brown considered a number of education-related bills last weekend to meet an October 9 deadline (see list of bills signed and those vetoed at He signed several bills that are of particular interest to mathematics and science educators: AB 250 (adopt revised frameworks, instructional materials, and assessments aligned to California’s new Common Core Academic Content Standards), SB 140 (permits the state/districts to adopt supplemental instructional materials aligned with the new standards), and SB 300 (authorizes the development of new state academic content standards for science). For details on these three bills, visit the Web sites above. Some information about each is included below (excerpted from the bill text, with boldface added):

AB 250 – Brownley. Instructional materials: pupil assessment
…This bill would require the state board to adopt revised curriculum frameworks and evaluation criteria that are aligned to the Common Core Academic Content Standardsdeveloped by the consortium and adopted by the board for mathematics and English language arts no later than May 30, 2013, and May 30, 2014, respectively…
This bill would rename the [Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission] the Instructional Quality Commission…   The bill would state the intent of the Legislature to ensure that school districts are provided with as many standards-aligned instructional material options as possible…

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this act, to do all of the following:
(1) Develop a curriculum, instruction, and assessment system to implement the Common Core State Standards that intentionally does both of the following:
(A) Focuses on integrating 21st century skills, including critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation, as a competency-based approach to learning in all core academic content areas, including English language arts, mathematics, history-social science, science, health education, visual and performing arts, and world languages.
(B) Promotes higher order thinking skills and interdisciplinary approaches that integrate the use of supportive technologies, inquiry, and problem-based learning to provide contexts for pupils to apply learning in relevant, real-world scenarios and that prepare pupils for college, career, and citizenship in the 21st century.
(2) Start a process for the development and adoption of curriculum frameworks that are aligned to the state’s common core academic content standards, build upon the state’s previous accomplishments, and integrate successful practices from other state initiatives implementing the common core academic content standards.
(3) Create and sustain professional development training opportunities that support teachers and administrators in delivering to all pupils curriculum and instruction that are aligned to the state’s common core academic content standards.
(4) Extend the operative date of the state’s assessment system by one year [(i.e., to become inoperative on July 1, 2014)] and position the state’s assessments in a manner that will give the state flexibility to adapt to changes in federal law and transition [in 2014] to high-quality assessments that are aligned to the common core academic content standards [(currently those in development by the SMARTER Balanced Consortium–].


SB 140:  Lowenthal. Instructional materials.
… Existing law requires the State Board of Education to adopt basic instructional materials for use in kindergarten and grades 1 to 8, inclusive, and authorizes the state board to establish criteria for that purpose… This bill would require the State Department of Education to recommend, and the state board to approve, evaluation criteria to guide the development and review of supplemental instructional materials. The bill also would require the department, on a one-time basis, to develop a list, on or before July 1, 2012, of supplemental instructional materials for use in kindergarten and grades 1 to 8, inclusive, that are aligned with the California common core academic content standards for language arts and for use in kindergarten and grades 1 to 7, inclusive, that are aligned with the California common core academic content standards for mathematics. The bill would require the state board to perform specified reviews and to approve or reject all, or a portion, of the list of supplemental instructional materials proposed by the department and would authorize the state board to add an item to that list, as specified. The bill also would permit the governing board of a school district to approve supplemental instructional materials other than those approved by the state board if the governing board performs specified reviews and determines that other supplemental instructional materials are aligned with the California common core academic content standards and meet the needs of the pupils of the district. The bill would require supplemental instructional materials approved by the state board and the governing board of a school district in the subject areas of mathematics and English language arts to be reviewed by content review experts, as specified. The bill also would require supplemental instructional materials to comply with specified social content review requirements. The bill would require the department to maintain on its Internet Web site a list of supplemental instructional materials approved by the state board…


SB 300: Hancock. Pupil instruction: instructional materials: content standards.
…This bill would require the state board to adopt science content standards pursuant to specified requirements. The bill would require the Superintendent to convene a group of science experts with whom the Superintendent would be required to recommend science content standards for adoption to the state board. The bill would require the Superintendent to hold at least 2 public meetings to provide public input on the science content standards. The bill would require the Superintendent to present the recommended science content standards to the state board by March 30, 2013, and would require the state board to adopt, reject, or modify those standards, as specified, by July 30, 2013…  [See for more information about the Next Generation Science Standards, which will inform the development of California’s new science standards.]


State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces New 
Web Tools for Online Education Programs and Schools

Source: California Department of Education
URL(County Map): 

Last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled a new interactive California Directory of Online Schools and Programs. The Directory is designed to help people make more informed decisions about online K-12 educational options throughout the state.

“The Internet has made a world of educational options available to students across California,” said Torlakson. “But online learning is expanding rapidly. To help parents make informed decisions about the best online options for their children, we are offering our new California Directory of Online Schools and Programs.”

Online education is teacher-led instruction that takes place over the Internet where the teacher and student are separated geographically. Students can receive personalized learning and specific, almost instant feedback in a digital environment.

Also debuting along with the interactive Directory were two Web pages: “A Glossary of Terms Related to Online Education,” which will help parents sort through the jargon and terminology of online learning, and “Frequently Asked Questions about Online Education in California,” which will help answer some of the more common inquiries about e-learning.

The Directory is accessible by clicking on a map of California or is searchable by county (see When users download a report, they will receive a list of online programs and schools in the county they select. Each listing will tell the user whether the program or school is tracked by the California Department of Education, which grades are served, whether it is accredited, whether its courses meet the “A-G” subject requirements for admission to the University of California, enrollment information, curriculum and programs offered, and which counties are served by the school or program.

“These wonderful new resources will help bring our schools into the digital age which is appropriate considering California is the home of Silicon Valley,” added Torlakson. “The new online directory fulfills part of the goals outlined in A Blueprint for Great Schools that call for the use of digital technology to support learning. While online learning will never replace teachers and the classroom, this is just one more tool we can use to help our children succeed.”

To access the California Directory of Online Schools and Programs, “A Glossary of Terms Related to Online Education,” and “Frequently Asked Questions about Online Education in California,” please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site at  For A Blueprint for Great Schools, please visit


California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) Online Course Reviews


The California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) has launched an online course review project to provide K-12 educators, students, and parents with detailed information about online courses.

Each review will include complete information about the course’s alignment to either the Common Core State Standards or California’s original content standards. CLRN will also apply national standards of quality for online courses that look at rigor, active engagement, higher order thinking skills, student-teacher interaction, and professional development. The online course standards, originally created by the Southern Regional Education Board and adopted by the International Association for K12 Online Learning, were completely updated by a CLRN with a California and a national stakeholder group. The 52 standards are organized in five areas: content, instructional design, student assessment, technology, and course evaluation and support.

Besides a comprehensive review of each course’s curriculum and its alignment to online course standards, CLRN’s customers may participate by providing their feedback. Two separate user feedback surveys, one for educators and one for students, will provide CLRN’s customers an opportunity to voice their recommendations. Educators and students will also be asked to rate the degree to which the course meet their overall expectations and the degree to which the course engaged and maintained student interest.

Find more information about online course reviews at


CAPP Highlights New Study Showing Effectiveness of Project that Increases Students’ Math Success

Source: California State University Chancellor’s Office – 11 October 2011

On Tuesday, the California Academic Partnership Program (CAPP; highlighted a new report released by the Public Policy Institute of California ( that measures the effectiveness of the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) as a tool to improve student learning.

MDTP is a joint statewide project of the California State University (CSU) and The University of California (UC). The MDTP is an example of inter-segmental work of K-12, community college, UC, and CSU faculty in developing tools for secondary classroom teachers to help improve student learning.

MDTP develops, distributes, scores, and reports the results of diagnostic tests that measure student readiness for mathematics courses ranging from Prealgebra to Calculus. Diagnosing a student’s mathematical strengths and weaknesses helps teachers focus on areas needing review to increase students’ chances of success in mathematics, better prepares students for further study in mathematics, and keeps open many career paths.

Bruce Arnold, Director of MDTP, noted that MDTP offers teachers timely and detailed feedback about what their students know, don’t know, and misunderstand about essential mathematics content required for success in their course. Teachers can then adapt their instruction and modify learning activities based on this diagnostic data.

CAPP supports MDTP’s services to California’s K-12 schools. CAPP’s newest grant program will incorporate the use of MDTP with collaborative learning communities of middle and high school teachers to develop common formative assessments so that teachers can immediately learn and then address students’ needs. CAPP also supports the use of MDTP materials and services by university and college outreach programs.

For more information on MDTP, visit