- ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)
- Second Annual California STEM Symposium — Speaker Proposal Deadline: June 10
- Free 90-Minute Web Seminar on the Next Generation Science Standards
- State Board of Education Addresses Draft Implementation Plan for the Next Generation
- Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Teacher Preparation
- California CEOs, Educators, and Community Leaders Call on Governor Jerry Brown to Expand Computer Science in K-12 Public Schools
- California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to Discuss Revised Teaching Performance Assessments and Computer Science Bills at June Meeting
- California Education Technology Blueprint Released
- Run-off Election Required this November for Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)
The Second Annual California STEM Symposium will be held at the San Diego Convention
Center on September 22-23, 2014. Speaker proposals are due on Tuesday, June 10. However,
the deadline to submit “Share Fair” displays–where student work, program highlights, and
best practices can be showcased–has been extended to June 30. For information about the
symposium, visit http://cdefoundation.org/stemsymposium/
Source: California Science Teachers Association
Kathy DiRanna serves as director of the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, which is an important
partner in helping to prepare California’s educators for the Next Generation Science
Standards (NGSS). On Tuesday, June 17, DiRanna and Cynthia Passmore, Associate
Professor at UC Davis, will host a free 90-minute web seminar on the NGSS beginning at
4:30 p.m. PT. This online seminar is designed to help teachers learn how NGSS and Common
Core will move students from “knowing about” to “figuring out.”
To register for “Shifting Instruction Through Practices: NGSS and Common Core in
California Schools: Getting Started,” visit
(Note: You may have to register for the National Science Teachers Association Learning
Center if you don’t already have an account. Once registered, you will have access to dozens
of free webinars on NGSS implementation.)
Science Standards for California Public Schools, K-12 (CA NGSS)
URL (CDE NGSS): www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ca/sc/ngssstandards.asp
Karen Shores, Administrator of the STEM Office in the Professional Learning Support
Division at the California Department of Education (CDE), presented a status report of the
“State Implementation Plan for the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public
Schools, Grades K-12” (Item 5) at the May 7 State Board of Education (SBE) meeting. A video
of her presentation, which is accompanied by a PowerPoint file
(www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr14/documents/may14item05slides.pdf) is available at
http://cde-ca.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=135. Details of her
presentation may be found in the Agenda Item 5 document:
The NGSS Strategic Leadership Team (SLT), facilitated by the K-12 Alliance/WestEd in
collaboration with the CDE, has met three times this year, including once following the May
SBE meeting. SLT members surveyed/interviewed numerous constituents and presented this
information at the meetings. The final draft of the implementation plan will be presented to
the SBE at its July meeting.
Shores presented the following strategies for NGSS implementation at the SBE meeting (see
Agenda Item 5 document referenced above for more details):
1. Facilitate professional learning.
2. Provide aligned instructional resources.
3. Develop aligned assessment systems.
4. Collaborate with parents, early childhood, and extended learning.
5. Collaborate with post-secondary, business, and stakeholders.
6. Disseminate supporting resources.
7. Establish communication systems.
8. Build coalitions.
A proposed implementation timeline was also shared, which includes the schedule for the
seven California NGSS rollout workshops, co-led by the California Department of Education,
California Science Project, California Science Teachers Association, K-12 Alliance/WestEd,
and County Offices of Education. So far, two-day rollout workshops have been given in
Stockton, Long Beach, and Yucaipa. This fall, workshops will be given in Fresno (Oct. 13-14),
San Diego (Oct. 16-17), Oakland (Oct. 20-21), and Red Bluff (Oct. 23-24). For more
information, visit http://tinyurl.com/ngss-rollout
According to the draft timeline, science framework development meetings will be held
between September 2014 and February 2015, with a draft framework being released for
public review in April 2015 and anticipated adoption by January 2016. Selection of a science
assessment and instructional materials will follow the framework adoption.
Jessica Sawko, Executive Director of the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA),
addressed the Board to express CSTA’s support of the work of the SLT but also concern that
many districts are not including NGSS in their LCAPs (Local Control and Accountability
Plans). Board Member Trish Williams responded that the LCAP guidelines direct districts to
include current academic standards in the plans, thus the NGSS should be included. She
suggested that some districts might have the misconception that the NGSS are part of the
Common Core, and also said that that while detailed plans are not currently expected, NGSS
should not be ignored in a district’s LCAP.
At the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s meeting on April 9, CCTC
consultants Katie Croy and Roxann Purdue presented Agenda Item 4F: “Overview of the
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California with a Focus on Implications
for Teacher Preparation.”
Invited speaker Kathy DiRanna (WestEd) provided an informative overview of the NGSS
and the state’s implementation timeline. She noted that shifts in the preparation of teachers
need to take place and that questions such as the following need to be addressed:
– What does it mean to teach content through the NGSS practices and cross-cutting concepts?
– How is engineering incorporated into the classroom?
– How do NGSS’s performance expectations inform classroom assessment?
Croy and Purdue noted that the Commission’s tasks will include revising the SMRs (Subject
Matter Requirements) for teacher preparation programs and assessments, aligning the CSET
Science exams with the NGSS, revising the TPEs (Teaching Performance Expectations) and
TPAs (Teaching Performance Assessments), requiring that subject matter programs submit
revised program matrices, and possibly re-examining/streamlining the current science
credential structure from the current nine science credentials to five (four specific subject
matter areas plus the Foundational-Level General Science credential). It was noted that over
19% of the science credentials issued in 2012-13 were FLGS credentials and that this continues
to be an important credential for middle grades instruction.
COMET readers interested in this topic are encouraged to listen to an audio-recording of this
item: www.ctc.ca.gov/audio/agendas/2014-04/2014-04-4F.mp3 DiRanna’s overview of the
NGSS, which begins 5 minutes into the recording, was accompanied by an informative
PowerPoint file available at www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2014-04/2014-04-4FNGSS.pdf
California CEOs, Educators, and Community Leaders Call on Governor Jerry Brown to
Expand Computer Science in K-12 Public Schools
On 7 May 2014, a letter was sent to Governor Jerry Brown by leaders in business, education,
and the nonprofit sector encouraging him to “collaborate on a plan to expand access to
computer science in K-12 public schools.” The letter appears on the code.org website, which
was established by leaders in the technology industry to promote coding and computer
science in schools. The code.org website contains a variety of resources for teachers,
including a free online K-8 “Intro to Computer Science” course (visit http://learn.code.org/
and also see http://learn.code.org/unplugged/unplug1.pdf).
Excerpts from the letter appear below:
Dear Governor Brown,
Thank you for working tirelessly to create opportunities for California’s students. We would
like to partner with you to help California become a leader in K-12 computer science
California is home to the computing revolution that transforms our lives and provides highpaying
jobs. But 90 percent of our K-12 schools do not teach computer science. The
Conference Board estimates 70,000 open computing jobs in California–roughly 16 jobs for
every computer science graduate in the state! Besides the jobs, a basic understanding of this
foundational field is relevant in every 21st century career. Lack of access in urban and rural
schools also creates inequity for students of color; in the entire state of California, only 74
African Americans and 392 Hispanic Americans took the AP Computer Science exam in 2013.
Our shared goal should be that every K-12 student has access to high-quality computer
There is unprecedented interest and action this legislative session aimed at expanding
computer science in California’s K-12 system…We want your support for a broader
statewide effort to increase student access. Real progress will require meaningful
In only 4 months, 34 million students have tried the Hour of Code, a campaign that launched
on the Google homepage and in every Apple store, accompanied by speeches from President
Barack Obama, US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Governor Jeb Bush, and US Senator
Cory Booker. Almost 1.5 million people have signed Code.org’s petition asking to expand
computer science education…
We would be grateful if you and your staff would consider meeting with a subset of us to
discuss how we can work together and make California a computer science trailblazer…
State Board of Education President Michael Kirst Raises Topic of K-12 Computer
Science as an Area for Future Board Focus
During the discussion of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at the May 7
meeting of the State Board of Education, Board President Michael Kirst expressed concern
about there being no mention of computer science in the NGSS and also referenced the letter
sent to Governor Brown that day regarding the need to expand computer science in K-12
public schools (see above).
Later in the meeting (Item 14–State Board Projects and Priorities), President Kirst raised the
issue again: “I just want to bring up the information and sources I’m getting about the need
for some kind of state policy thought and perhaps action on the area of computer science…
Maybe it fits under some of our curriculum efforts, but there’s a rising demand for this, and I
think the Board and the Department [of Education] need to get together…and think about
how we can form some sort of working group. This is a complex issue… There appears to be
no consensus on exactly what ought to be in courses in high school or what the sequence
ought to be. So while [computer science] is the most popular major at many universities, it
seems to be an undeveloped area in K-12, so this is just a preview of things we need to work
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to Discuss Revised Teaching
Performance Assessments and Computer Science Bills at June Meeting
The June 19-20 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) will
include two agenda items of particular interest to STEM educators. The first, Item 2C,
addresses the state’s next generation of teaching performance assessments, which are
mandated to determine a teacher candidate’s readiness to teach and as a way to evaluate and
improve teacher preparation programs.
Item 2C notes “the Commission has already revised the TPEs [(Teaching Performance
Expectations)] to be consistent with the CCSS [(Common Core State Standards)], and has also
revised the subject matter requirements for Multiple Subjects, Single Subject English and
Single Subject Mathematics to be consistent with the CCSS.”
The Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) system requires all teacher candidates (i.e.,
students in teacher credential programs) to include current state-adopted standards in their
lessons, instruction, and assessment. Accordingly, one of the 2014-15 TPA implementation
policy issues is “addressing the CCSS and the NGSS [(Next Generation Science Standards)]
within the TPA.” For more details, visit www.ctc.ca.gov/commission/agendas/2014-06/2014-06-5A.pdf
Also at the June meeting (Item 5A) will be an update on legislation that the Commission
supports and other bills that are of interest. In the latter category are a number of computer
science bills that the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet) is also following, most of
which are moving steadily through the approval process with strong support:
SB 1200 — Public postsecondary education: academic standards: computer science
Summary: This bill would require the Trustees of the California State University (CSU) and
would request the Regents of the University of California (UC) to develop guidelines for high
school computer science courses to be approved for purposes of recognition for admission to[CSU and UC], respectively, and would encourage [UC] to ensure that computer science
courses that satisfy the mathematics subject area requirements for admission build upon
fundamental mathematics content provided in courses that align with [the CCSS].
AB 1539 — Content standards: computer science
Summary: This bill would encourage the Instructional Quality Commission to develop and
recommend to the State Board of Education, computer science content standards pursuant to
recommendations developed by a group of computer science experts, on or before July 31,
AB 1764 — School curriculum: mathematics: computer science
Summary: …This bill would authorize the governing board of a school district that requires
more than 2 courses in mathematics for graduation to award a pupil up to one mathematics
course credit for successfully completing an approved computer science course, as provided[as long as the course isn’t also used to satisfy the graduation requirement in science].
AB 2110 — Pupil instruction: computer science
Summary: … This bill would require the commission to consider incorporating computer
science curriculum content into the mathematics, science, history‐social science, and language
arts curriculum frameworks, as it deems appropriate, when those frameworks are next
In addition to the computer science bills above, CSLNet is also following these two related
AB 1530 — Model curricula: computer science
Summary: It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the establishment of programs of
instruction in computer science, with instruction beginning as early as feasible for each
AB 1540 — Concurrent enrollment in secondary school and community college
Summary: This bill would allow high school students to earn computer science credit
through a local community college.
Source: California Department of Education
In March 2012, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson convened a 48-
member Education Technology Task Force to recommend ways to bring 21st century tools
into K-12 classrooms to improve teaching and learning. The Superintendent charged the
group to review current research provided by the National Education Technology Plan:
Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology (see
www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010) and to use that model and conceptual framework to
develop a long-range education technology plan for the state’s schools.
Upon completion of this process on 16 August 2012, the Task Force delivered to
Superintendent Torlakson a memorandum outlining its recommendations, after which
Torlakson and his staff made presentations around the state and gathered comments from
the public. He and his staff reviewed other documents, and in April 2014, the final report was
released. Empowering Learning: California Education Technology Blueprint, 2014-2017 (Ed Tech
Blueprint) is available online at www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/documents/yr14bp0418.pdf
The report focuses on four key areas: learning, teaching, assessment, and infrastructure.
Recommendations include the following:
– California should work toward providing every student, teacher, and administrator with
access to at least one Internet-connected device.
– Create professional development and teacher certification programs in education
– Establish professional development programs and platforms for using technology in
formative learning assessment.
– Ensure school districts design school facilities with technology and the Common Core State
Standards in mind.
A list of all 19 recommendations is included on pp. 12-13 of the report.
“As California continues to move toward college and career readiness for every child,
education technology has to be part of what we do,” Torlakson said. “I’ve visited classrooms
up and down the state and seen everything from virtual science experiments to online group
projects. From Common Core to the new Smarter Balanced assessments, our state–which has
always led the way in innovation–is focused on preparing students with the real-world skills
they need. This new blueprint charts a smart course for getting us there.”
In Tuesday’s (6/3/2014) California statewide primary election, three candidates vied for the
office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction: incumbent Tom Torlakson, who garnered
46.9% of the vote; Marshall Tuck (28.7%); and Lydia Gutierrez (24.4%). Because Torlakson
did not receive a majority of the votes cast, a runoff will be held this November against Tuck.
The positions of these two candidates can be found on their websites: