COMET • Vol. 13, No. 10 – 19 September 2012


STEM and Common Core Resources from the California Department of Education


The California Department of Education’s STEM Resources Web site ( ) continues to expand with useful links in categories such as STEM-related Classroom Resources, Initiatives and Networks, Career Preparation/Readiness, Online Libraries and Centers, Professional Organizations, Programs of Study, and Publications. 
The most recent version of the “Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Systems Implementation Plan for California” that is posted on the California Department of Education CCSS Web site “identifies major phases and activities in the implementation of the CCSS throughout California’s educational system.” Download this document from 
CDE recently updated its CCSS “Frequently Asked Questions” Web page:  A number of questions are answered regarding the implementation of the CCSS, professional learning, curriculum frameworks and instructional materials, assessment, career and college readiness, and technology. 
In addition, CCSS information and resources for students, parents, and guardians can be found at  Numerous CCSS resources for educators, administrators, and higher education faculty can be found at 

Related Documents

“Transitioning to the Common Core State Standards” by Sue Gendron


K-12 Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core Standards for Mathematics



Brokers of Expertise: California’s Virtual Center for Teacher Collaboration and Resources


The California Department of Education (CDE) sponsors the Brokers of Expertise (BoE) website ( and invites you to be part of its growing community! BoE seeks to be a “one-stop-shop” for educational resources as well as a major collaboration center for California’s teachers. Its success will be largely dependent on the active engagement and contributions of teachers, administrators, and other education professionals. 
The BoE website is comprised of three primary areas: Resources (“Find lessons and Web activities, videos and other resources for use in your classroom”), Community (“share a wealth of expertise and best practices”), and Training (professional development opportunities). An informative webinar on the features of the BoE website is available at   
Although registration isn’t required to access most of the features of the BoE portal, registration is a simple process and is recommended in order to take advantage of all of the site’s features such as contributing comments and participating in Community Groups, a primary site feature. (Visit to join the STEM Community Group, for instance.) When he unveiled the portal two years ago, then-State Superintendent Jack O’Connell said, “The Brokers really will create a virtual community for our professional educators, much like Facebook. They will be able to utilize and take charge of their own professional development from now and into their future” ( ).
BoE has recently linked its database of resources to the Common Core State Standards. Visit and for the CCSS-Mathematics links. In addition, a new CCSS Community Group has been added at   The main collection of standards is available at
Of particular interest to COMET readers is an invitation by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to “share your vision” for both education technology and for STEM education in California schools. Please see below:
Education Technology:
“The California Department of Education is rewriting the Education Technology Plan. Here is how you can contribute to this important work:
1. Review the recommendations received in August 2012 from the Superintendent’s Education Technology Task Force (available online at )
2. Comment on the recommendations
3. Attend a briefing on the recommendations (schedule available on BoE website above) or view an archived briefing posted on the BoE website
4. Submit research, case studies, and other information for consideration.”
STEM Education
URL (STEM Task Force on the BoE website):  
“We want to hear from you. Share your vision for STEM education in California schools. Tell us what you want the future to look like for our students and teachers. Also share information on existing K-12 STEM programs and resources in California. Feel free to post URLs too.”
For information about the draft Career Technical Education (CTE) Model Curriculum Standards, please visit  The BoE website contains links to resources supporting the 15 industry sectors at


High School Mathematics Teachers Sought for CAHSEE Data Review


Educational Testing Service (ETS), the contractor for the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), is inviting California educators to review the performance of writing prompts and multiple-choice items that have been field-tested. The date and location of the Data Review for math teachers is Tuesday, November 13, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the ETS Office: 1600 K Street, Suite 4A in Sacramento, CA 95814 (phone: 916-403-2402). This review can give teachers unique insight into the general processes of the CAHSEE program.
ETS will reimburse any substitute teaching payment required in order to attend this meeting. ETS will also arrange for air travel, meals, and hotels. For more information and to apply, please visit the Web site above. 
The deadline for submitting an application and resume is this Friday, September 21.


California Mathematics Council Conferences for Fall 2012

*  California Mathematics Council – South (Palm Springs) Conference
Dates: November 2-3, 2012
Location: Palm Springs Convention Center; 277 N. Avenida Caballeros; Palm Springs, CA 92262
Student Hosts: Students who serve a 4-hour shift as a Student Host will receive free registration and a free one-year membership in CMC:  
*  California Mathematics Council-North (Asilomar) Conference
Dates: November 30-December 2, 2012
Location: Asilomar Conference Grounds; 800 Asilomar Ave.; Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Student Volunteers: Preservice teachers who serve as volunteers receive free registration and other benefits. Visit the website below toward the end of September or the first part of October for information about this opportunity.


Financial Support for California Teachers Pursuing National Board Certification in 2012

Source: Kay Garcia, Outreach Director, NBPTS –

This is the final year of a federal fee subsidy program that provides 50% of the first-time candidate fee for California teachers and school counselors who are candidates for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification. If you are eligible to become a National Board candidate and have not received this $1250 federal subsidy in the past, then you will automatically receive the subsidy if you register to be a National Board candidate by December 31, 2012 (see eligibility requirements).
For additional information, read the 2012 “Overview of National Board Certification for California Teachers and School Counselors” at 


Common Core Implementation Video Series

Source: Council of Chief State School Officers

To aid states as they continue to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the Hunt Institute and the Council of Chief State School Officers commissioned a series of video vignettes to explain the CCSS.  Several of the key CCSS writers were asked to talk about how the Standards were developed and the goals they set for all students.  
The videos were developed to help educators, policymakers, and parents to understand the breadth and depth of the CCSS and how the Standards were designed to improve teaching, create shared expectations, and cultivate lifelong learning for all students. The videos are organized into separate Mathematics and English Language Arts sections and demonstrate critical concepts related to each. 


Free Webinar Series: Preparing for the Next Generation Science Standards–Major Practices

Source: National Science Teachers Association

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are expected to be released next year. The Standards are based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education, released in 2011 by the National Research Council (NRC). The Framework describes the major practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school.
The National Science Teachers Association is presenting a series of free Web seminars on the practices described in the Framework. Each webinar focuses on a particular practice outlined in the Framework and will provide information on the following:
– The key elements of the practice
– How the practice is part of the broader set of practices that work together (and how no practice is taught in isolation)
– How the practice can be used in combination with disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts to form performance expectations
– What the use of the practice really looks like in the classroom.
The practices included in the Framework (and eventually the NGSS) represent current research about how students learn best. Teachers are encouraged to learn more about these practices now in advance of the release of NGSS and begin incorporating them into instruction to provide students the skill sets they need to be successful in learning any content.
The webinars will be a valuable professional development experience for any science educator, but will be especially practical for those at the middle and high school level. They are offered free of charge and are designed so that participants can attend as many sessions as desired.
Dates and webinar topics follow below (all times are 3:30-5:00 p.m. PT):
September 25: Developing and Using Models
October 9: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
October 23: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
November 6: Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
November 20: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
December 4: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
December 18:  Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information


Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM): Catalyzing Change Amid the Confusion

Source: Center on Instruction
URL (Document)

URL (Webinar)

Last week, the Center on Instruction hosted a webinar that focused on its recently-released document, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM): Catalyzing Change Amid the Confusion, which offers an overview of the role of STEM in current educational improvement efforts. In the webinar, Craig Strang, Vanessa Lujan, and Lynn Barako of the Lawrence Hall of Science provided a brief history of STEM initiatives and important trends, with the goal of dispelling confusion about the goals and approaches of STEM initiatives (e.g., the perceived dichotomy of preparing a 21st century workforce or increasing STEM literacy for all citizens). Several views of what the term “STEM” refers to are also presented. Links to the archived webinar and to the accompanying PowerPoint presentation are available on the Web site above.


NSF DR K-12 Program Webinar

Source: Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE)


The National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) program supports projects that develop and study resources, models, and technologies for STEM education. All DR K-12 projects should be framed around a research question or hypothesis that addresses an important need or topic in preK-12 STEM education. 
Information about this program, as well the recently-released DR K-12 solicitation for grant proposals, will be shared during webinars on September 25 and October 18 from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. PT. To register for one of these sessions, please use this link:   Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible if interested in participating. 
– DR K-12 Letters of Intent are due on October 4, 2012 at 5 p.m. 
– Full proposals are due on December 6, 2012 at 5 p.m. 
CADRE, the resource network for DR K-12 grantees, is hosting the event. To learn more about CADRE, please visit the following website:


Online Mentors to Guide Women into the Sciences


WitsOn (Women in Technology Sharing Online) is a pilot program sponsored by Piazza and Harvey Mudd College that will run for six weeks beginning on October 1. The program will connect undergraduate students pursuing STEM degrees with female mentors from industry and academia who can speak from personal experience about issues of particular concern to young women.
Lead WitsOn mentors ( ) are at the pinnacle of their fields, while other mentors are at different stages in their careers. All have faced the challenge of balancing their careers with other commitments, including personal life, family, faith, and community… 
After the six weeks are over, it is hoped that students will see the value of mentorship and seek their own mentors offline.
By creating an online community of students and mentors, the sponsors of WitsOn hope that students (particularly, though not exclusively, young women) will be better able to envision themselves in STEM careers, thereby creating a larger pool of talented people who are ready to handle the challenges that humanity faces in the coming decades.
Please share this information with students who are majoring in or who are considering majoring in a STEM field.

Related Articles


Visit and to learn more about MentorNet, which seeks to “match thousands of students, postdocs, and early career researchers in engineering and science on hundreds of campuses to mentors in the professions for one-on-one guided relationships.”