COMET • Vol. 14, No. 02 – 12 February 2013


Subject-specific Pedagogy Course to be Required for Additional Credentials


At its meeting on January 31, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved the following policy changes:

* An individual who holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and wants to add a Single Subject Teaching Credential (e.g., Foundational-Level Mathematics, Foundational-Level General Science, English, Physical Education, etc.) will be required to take a departmentalized pedagogy course in the specific single subject content area to be added. Current policy requires a departmentalized pedagogy course (in addition to demonstrated subject matter competency in the new content area), but this course does not need to be in a particular subject matter area. 

An individual who holds a Single Subject Credential and wishes to add another Single Subject authorization will be required to complete a pedagogy course in that new content area. Current policy states that another pedagogy course is not required, only demonstration of subject matter competency (typically accomplished through passing specific CSET subtests). 

Commission staff will begin preparing changes to Section 80499 of Title 5, California Code of Regulations, and present the proposed changes at a future meeting. 

For more information, visit An audio recording of the discussion of this agenda item is available at

The California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators ( strongly supported these changes. Joanne Rossi Becker delivered a statement on behalf of CAMTE that stressed the importance of prospective Single Subject mathematics teachers taking a pedagogy course that delves into the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, incorporates technology specific to learning and teaching mathematics, utilizes manipulative materials and concrete models to exemplify mathematical concepts, and demonstrates how to effectively teach mathematics to English learners. 


State’s Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel Recommends Changes in Grade Level Authorizations for Multiple and Single Subject Credentials 


On February 1, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing heard a summary of the work completed by the Teacher Preparation Advisory (TAP) Panel since the last update was presented to the Commission in June 2012 ( The agenda item (4F) provided information on a selected set of draft recommendations from the Panel, which was convened to provide expert advice to the Commission regarding changes that might be appropriate to improve California’s system of educator preparation. The TAP website ( provides background documents reviewed by the Panel and other information helpful to the work of the Panel. 

Foundational draft recommendations on which the panel has come to consensus were presented for discussion; these were accompanied by a summary of the rationale for each recommendation. The recommendations will be discussed further at the committee’s meeting later this month. Two of these recommendations follow below: 

* Panel Consensus Recommendation Concerning Credential Structure, Grade Levels and Subjects: The Multiple and Single Subject credentials should be restructured so that the Multiple Subject credential authorizes teaching in grades K-8 self-contained settings, and the Single Subject credential authorizes teaching in grades 5-12 in departmentalized settings and for adults for the four core academic subjects of English, Mathematics, Social Science, and Science; the current credential system should remain as is for the non-core subject areas. 

* Panel Consensus Recommendation Concerning a New Recognition of Study (ROS) Certificate: The Commission should develop policy regarding aRecognition of Study (ROS) certificate in a variety of content and/or instructional areas. This process would allow approved institutions to develop programs of recognized courses of study that could be applied towards a certificate in the specified areas such as, for example, early childhood education, middle school, online teaching, and/or teacher leadership, all of which are areas discussed by the panel in relation to this recommendation. While there was support for the ROS certificate proposal, Commissioner Beverly Young (a member of the Panel) noted that CSU deans of education were almost unanimous in their rejection of the concept of an ROS certificate. Discussion will continue later about the proposed certificate. 

The Panel also recommended that there be no more than four Single Subject credentials in science (there are currently nine:, including the Foundational-Level General Science credential. 

There were three public comments offered at the Commission meeting in support of reinstating an Early Childhood Education teaching credentialin California. This will be a topic that will be discussed further by the panelists and Commissioners. 


New California State University Initiative Supports Innovations to Prepare Future Elementary School Teachers to Teach Science 

Source: Joan Bissell, Director of Teacher Education, California State University Chancellor’s Office
URL (Webinar): 

The California State University (CSU) system, with support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, has initiated a project aimed at fostering excellence in the preparation of future elementary school teachers in science. The goal of the project is to enhance future elementary teachers’ knowledge, confidence, and excitement about the teaching of science and its integration with other subjects. The project will provide funding for as many as 10 CSU campuses to enhance undergraduate coursework and practicum experiences in science and aligning courses and experiences with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The project website,, was developed to serve as a community for CSU faculty participating in reforms of undergraduate science preparation for future elementary teachers. The resources on this website would be useful for everyone interested in K-6 science education. Pages on this website include the following: 

– National Research Council’s K-12 Science Education Framework

– Next Generation Science Standards 

– Science and Literacy Learning 

– Engineering Design and Applications 

The CSU Chancellor’s Office partnered with WestEd to present a webinar last Friday (2/8/2013) that featured presentations by CSU faculty about model programs, courses, and strategies that are being used to prepare K-6 teacher candidates in science. The webinar has already been archived and can be accessed on the webinar Web page: Presentation slides are also available for download from this page. (The webinar will open directly from Presentation titles, presenters, campuses, and video time markers for the beginning of each presentation are included below: 

– “Integrated Science Courses and Labs at CSU Long Beach” (Danika LeDuc; 00:15:02) 

– “Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) Curriculum and the NGSS: Content Emerging from the Practices of Science” (Fred Goldberg – San Diego State University, 00:24:28) 

– “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers in a Campus-Based Hands On Lab at CSU Chico” (Bev Marcum, 00:37:15)

– “Learn by Doing Labs–Turbines and the Engineering Design Cycle” (John Keller and John Oliver – Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 00:45:04) 

– “Science and Literacy Integration at CSU Fullerton” (Ruth Yopp-Edwards, 00:56:14) 

– “Interdisciplinary Partnerships: Envisioning a Liberal Studies STEM Concentration; Physics Pedagogy and Outreach Course Overview” (Carol Fry Bohlin and Don Williams, Fresno State, 01:05:24) 


Webinar on February 27: “Comprehensive, Equitable Induction of Beginning Science and Mathematics Teachers”

Source: WestEd

WestEd will host a webinar on Wednesday, February 27, from 10:30 a.m.-Noon PT, that features Ted Britton, the lead author of a WestEd report that provides an international comparison of countries’ support for new STEM teachers, as well as U.S. case studies. Download this report, “Addressing Challenges Faced by Early-Career Mathematics and Science Teachers: A Knowledge Synthesis,” from

Ted Britton, who serves as Associate Director, STEM Programs at WestEd (, will be joined by Rose Owens-West, Director, Region IX Equity Assistance Center ( The webinar addresses a key area of work in WestEd’s new Region IX Equity Assistance Center–college and career readiness by improving teachers’ STEM content knowledge through professional development. Rose Owens-West will discuss equity aspects of the featured topic and briefly familiarize participants with the Center’s services. 

For more information or to register for this webinar, visit


Webinar on March 7: “Clinical Designs Advancing STEM Teacher Preparation and Linked Learning” 

Source: WestEd

On March 7, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. PT, WestEd will host a webinar that explores successful strategies for advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in clinical teacher preparation, including examples of STEM-rich elementary schools, middle school math and science teacher preparation, and High School Linked Learning partnership designs. Presenters include faculty and administrators from California State University campuses, as well as district and ConnectEd leaders. Visit the Web site above for more information and to register for this webinar.


“California Districts Team Up to Push School Improvements” by Lesli A. Maxwell 

Source: Education Week – 25 January 2013

Frustrated by their own state’s pace and direction of school improvement, eight California districts have banded together to move ahead on rolling out the Common Core State Standards and designing new teacher evaluations based in part on student performance. 

The districts, which include the Los Angeles and San Francisco school systems and enroll more than 1 million students altogether, are also mounting a major breakaway from California in seeking their own waiver from mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. 

The U.S. Department of Education has already issued similar reprieves to 34 states and the District of Columbia, but last month rejected California’s waiver bid, which ignored one of the department’s key criteria: teacher evaluations that include student outcomes. If approved by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan–a possibility that the Education Department has signaled could be strong–the district-level waiver could dramatically alter the relationship between the districts and the state education department when it comes to federal accountability. 

Known as CORE–the California Office to Reform Education (–the member districts also include Long Beach, Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland, [Garden Grove, Santa Ana,] and Clovis and Sanger in the Central Valley… 

The unusual, large-scale collaboration began among the districts’ superintendents and has since trickled down to upper-level administrators and teachers. It started more than two years ago as an initiative to help state officials write a second Race to the Top application for California. The state fell short of winning in the first round of the federal education reform grant sweepstakes. 

Since that time, CORE has evolved into a well-funded nonprofit that is focused on two commitments its member districts made in the state’s second (and also unsuccessful) Race to the Top bid: crafting formative assessments and other tools for teachers to strengthen their instruction in the common-standards era and overhauling accountability for teacher and administrator performance largely through the design of new evaluation systems…[Please visit to read the rest of this comprehensive article about CORE’s origins and priorities: “preparing educators to effectively teach the more rigorous common-core standards in mathematics and English/language arts and improving the educator talent pool in part by using student outcomes to measure performance”). 


Related Story:

“Districts to Seek NCLB Waiver Whether or Not They’re Invited” by Kathryn Baron

Source: EdSource Today – 10 February 2013

This in-depth article complements the Education Week article above in describing the goals, activities, and leadership positions of the CORE districts.


“Long Beach Unified School District Named Among Top Districts in the World” 

Source: California Department of Education – 7 February 2013

Last Thursday (2/7/2013), Tom Torlakson congratulated Long Beach Unified School District for being named among five of the world’s highest-performing school systems in the Global Education Study conducted by the Ohio-based nonprofit organization Battelle for Kids. See for more details. The district joined Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Ontario (Canada) in receiving this honor. 

“Hats off to Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser and the teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and students of Long Beach Unified School District for this well-earned recognition as one of the highest-performing school systems in the world,” Torlakson said. “Their work to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century by providing them with the real-world skills they need for college and the workplace has made Long Beach a shining example of the success that comes from teamwork, focus, and commitment.” 

See for more information about this honor. To download the monograph, “Six Drivers of Student Success: A Look Inside Five of the World’s Highest-Performing School Systems,” visit


February 17-23 is National Engineers Week 


The National Engineers Week Foundation is a formal coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations, and government agencies dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers among young students and by promoting pre-college literacy in math and science. 

The Foundation’s signature program, Engineers Week, is held during the third full week in February (this year, February 17-23). It celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and serves as a catalyst for outreach across the country to both students and adults. Engineers Week is part of many corporate and government cultures and is celebrated on many college campuses that have engineering programs. 

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day 2013 is celebrated during Engineers Week on Thursday, February 21. For a list of planned events,

Visit to order free materials for Engineers Week and to learn more about the organization. Visit for information about the programs sponsored by the Foundation, as well as related resources. 


UCLA Curtis Center Conference for Mathematics and Teaching 

Source: Mary Sirody (

Mary Sirody (Site Director, Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project at UCLA) writes the following:

Once again it is my privilege to invite you to the seventh annual UCLA Mathematics Department’s Philip C. Curtis Jr. Center for Mathematics and Teaching Conference. The conference will be held on March 2, 2013 and take place on the UCLA campus.

The focus of this year’s conference is on mathematical modeling and is composed of two plenary sessions and two sets of breakout sessions. This year’s plenary session speakers are Fields Medalist David Mumford, Professor Emeritus at Brown University, and Dr. Patrick Traynor, Director of the Assessment Development and Administration Division within the California Department of Education. In addition, an outstanding group of mathematics educators, teachers, and mathematicians have agreed to present in the breakout sessions. 

For more information, visit


Public Library Resources 


California public libraries provide excellent online support for educators, students, and parents. A wide variety of reference materials are available, as are links to grants/foundations, science topics (e.g.,, audiobooks, homework assistance (including live tutoring), and more. Any California resident may apply for and receive a free library card by visiting any library location or bookmobile. The library card number is required to access many of the online databases. 

Visit for a list of the state’s libraries, including links to many libraries and their offerings. (Libraries in larger cities such as Los Angeles tend to have extension online presences.)