COMET • Vol. 17, No. 03 – 15 May 2016



California Mathematics Framework Chapters Available Online

Contact: Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, California Department of Education – (916) 319-0881

Each of the chapters and appendices of the 2015 edition of the Mathematics Framework are available in separate and well-formatted PDF files on the “2016 California Mathematics Framework Chapters” webpage. The chapters were posted on May 13 and are available at

Reminder: Friday is the Deadline to Submit Proposals to Speak at the California STEM Symposium

The California STEM Symposium returns to the Anaheim Convention Center this year and will be held on October 9-11. To submit a speaker proposal, visit While the speaker proposal deadline is Friday, May 20, teachers may wish to consider participating in the “Share Fair,” which provides an opportunity to “display student work and showcase the learning in your STEM classes and programs via a visual display of student work, program highlights, and best practices.” The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Share Fair is August 12:

Two recently-announced keynote speakers for the Symposium are Sir Ken Robinson ( and Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code.

Better Together: California Teachers Summit to be Held on July 29


In 2015, the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), California State University (CSU), and the New Teacher Center (NTC) collaborated on a groundbreaking effort to create a day of professional learning for more than 10,000 educators across California. The second annual “Better Together: California Teachers Summit” will be held on July 29 this year. The Summit is expected to attract more than 15,000 teachers who will engage in a day of learning and collaboration with other educators across the state.

More details on the sites hosting the 2016 Summit will be shared via email later this month. If you would like to be notified when registration opens, visit

Free Forum on June 1: The State of STEM

On Wednesday, 1 June 2016 from 8:30 -11:00 a.m., the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) will host “The State of STEM,” a forum to discuss local and statewide efforts to advance STEM education.

Presenters will include the following leaders: Michael Kirst, President of the California State Board of Education and Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University; Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose; Carl Guardino, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; Muhammed Chaudhry CEO of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation; Tim Ritchie, President and CEO of The Tech Museum of Innovation; Nancy Albarrán, Superintendent, San Jose Unified School District; and Chris D. Funk, Superintendent, East Side Union High School District and Co-Chair of the East Side Alliance.

Forum location: San José City Hall Rotunda, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San José, CA 95113

To register for this free event, visit

Update on the Development of California’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan

Source: California State Board of Education

URL: (Item 5) 

Agenda Item 5 in last week’s meeting of the California State Board of Education (SBE) provided an update on the development of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan. The ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s federal education law, and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The ESSA was signed into law by President Barack Obama on 10 December 2015 and goes into full effect in the 2017-18 school year.

As part of California’s transition to ESSA, California must submit an ESSA State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education (ED). A PPT presentation available at provides an overview of the plan requirements, proposed timeline, and contact information. Also see the related article below for an opportunity to participate in an informational webinar.

The California Department of Education (CDE) has developed a comprehensive ESSA website with links to the ED ESSA webpage ( and much more: To subscribe to CDE’s ESSA listserv, send a blank message to

Related Articles: 

“The Every Student Succeeds Act: An ESSA Overview” by Alyson Klein

Source: Education Week

California ESSA Webinar for Education Stakeholders and the Public

Source: Amy Bubbico, California Department of Education –

The California Department of Education, with support from the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd, is pleased to announce an upcoming opportunity for education stakeholders and the general public to learn more about the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and what it means for California.

California Department of Education and State Board of Education staff have been studying the ESSA and considering the opportunities afforded by the new law to improve outcomes for California’s students. As noted above, California must submit an ESSA State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education. The plan will describe the State’s implementation of standards, assessment, accountability, and assistance programs. The CDE is committed to ensuring a transparent transition to the new law and developing an ESSA State Plan that is informed by the voices of diverse Californians.

As a first step, the California Department of Education is hosting an informational webinar to provide an overview of the ESSA and an update on the development of the ESSA State Plan. All interested members of the public are encouraged to participate. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, June 1, 4–5 p.m. PDT. To register for the event, please visit

Holders of Supplementary Authorizations are “Subject Matter Competent” Under New ESSA for 2016-17

Contact: California Department of Education

CDE’s third letter to County and District Superintendents on ESSA implementation included guidance regarding teacher subject matter competency (Title II, Professional Development section). Section 1119 of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act required all teachers of core academic subjects in the state to be “highly qualified.” This meant that every teacher of a core academic subject was required to meet the following three requirements:

– Hold a bachelor’s or higher degree;

– Hold an appropriate State authorization for the assignment; and

– Demonstrate subject matter competence for each core academic subject assigned to teach.

Under NCLB, there were various ways that a teacher could demonstrate subject matter competence. One option was to complete a minimum of 32 semester units (48 quarter units) of non-remedial coursework (e.g., earn a Subject Matter Authorization in Introductory Mathematics, which allowed a teacher to teach Gr. K-9 mathematics content at any grade level).

However, for the 2016-17 school year (transitional year for ESSA), states are not required to implement Section 1119. Thus, “the minimum unit requirement for verifying subject matter competence for the 2016-17 school year will be consistent with California state licensure, which requires a minimum of 20 semester units of non-remedial coursework. This will assist with the teacher shortage by allowing individuals to demonstrate subject matter competence with only 20 semester units (equivalent to a supplementary authorization) rather than the 32 (equivalent to a subject matter authorization) required by the NCLB Act, increasing hiring flexibility for employers.”

Related articles: 

“Number of New Math and Science Teachers Declining in California” by Pat Maio

Source: Education Week – 4 April 2016
URL (CTC–Teaching Credential Numbers by Institution for 2014-15):

“California State University Takes a Personalized Approach to Recruiting Minority Teachers” [CSU Teacher Corp] by Derek Johnson

Source: Education News – 26 April 2016

Multiple Measures and Continuous Improvement Define New Accountability System

Source: California State Board of Education
URL: (Item 2)

A set of indicators that form the foundation for California’s new multiple measures school accountability system was approved by the California State Board of Education (SBE) at its meeting last Wednesday (May 11). This first set of indicators aligns with priorities identified by the Governor and Legislature in California’s new school funding and accountability law. Additional indicators reflective of the state’s educational priorities will be considered by the Board at its July 13-14 meeting so all of the state’s priorities are addressed.

The indicators approved thus far are the following:

– Student test scores and individual student growth on English and mathematics tests, as well as science tests when available*

– Progress of English learners toward English proficiency

– Graduation rates

– Measures of student engagement, including suspension rates (and chronic absence when available)

* Note: At its 9 March 2016 meeting, the SBE approved the grades for which the CA Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) summative assessments will be administered and recommended that the SBE approve the development of three online CA NGSS summative assessments to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Grade 5 (consisting of Gr. 5 performance expectations and matrix sampling of performance expectations from grades K-4); Grade 8 (consisting of performance expectations for Gr. 6-8); and high school (Gr. 10, 11, or 12 assessment, consisting of high school performance expectations).

The SBE item also noted that “California’s new academic content standards, not only in English Language Arts and math, but also in science, require students to think critically and analytically and to solve problems. Many, if not most, future jobs will require these skills, which also are important to success in college…”

The SBE directed staff to provide an update in July about how to include comparable data on college and career readiness, school climate, and a composite measure of English learner proficiency in the new accountability system. The SBE will continue its work through the summer and early fall in order to meet the statutory 1 October 2016 deadline for the new accountability system.

The SBE’s goal is to establish an accountability system that provides the public a comprehensive picture of school performance and aligns local, state and federal accountability requirements. The new system will highlight areas of strengths and weakness in a top level summary data display so educators can respond quickly to areas that need attention. The new system also will lead to support and intervention for schools and districts that fail to improve outcomes overall as well as outcomes for specific student subgroups.

“The shift to a multiple measures accountability system focused on equity and continuous improvement reflects the policy direction set by the Governor and Legislature,” said Michael Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education.

In addition to approving the set of indicators, the board approved a method for calculating performance as a combination of outcome and improvement, allowing performance to be differentiated at the school, district and county office of education levels as well as for subgroups of students. (Although not currently available, the second year of CAASPP results will allow calculation of individual student growth.)

“The underlying goals of California’s new system are to elevate low-achieving students to be ready for college and career success and to narrow the achievement gap. It’s important that all of the selected indicators allow for the differentiation of progress so support and intervention are appropriately focused on improving outcomes for all students,” added Kirst.

Related article:

“Time to Begin Implementing New Science Standards in our Schools” by Michael Kirst and Trish Williams

Source: EdSource – 3 May 2015


California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) Votes to Reinstate CSET Waiver for Graduates of Commission-Approved Subject Matter Preparation Programs for Prospective Elementary School Teachers

URL (Agenda): 

At its meeting on 14 April 2016, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) considered Commission staff’s recommendation “to reinstate the option to complete an elementary subject matter program to meet the state subject matter requirement” (Agenda Item 4C: If approved, a prospective Multiple Subject credential candidate who completes a Commission-approved subject matter preparation program (SMPP)–typically within a Liberal Studies undergraduate major–would no longer have to take the three Multiple Subject CSET subtests currently required to demonstrate subject matter competency before the credential can be granted.

During the public comment period, Luz Ortega (Coordinator of Credentials for Los Angeles Unified School District, LAUSD) appealed to institutions of higher education to “take a serious look at developing programmatic changes that will address the need for more in-depth study in science and mathematics,” because teachers coming into LAUSD “have expressed concern about teaching mathematics and science, especially with STEM now being such a great focus. They do not feel that they have a strong enough foundation.”

David Simmons (Assistant Superintendent, Personnel Services, Ventura County Office of Education) agreed, stating that he has seen “a significant drop in math knowledge of our teachers” since 2003. He believes that reinstating the CSET waiver program would support the establishment of SMPPs for the Foundational-Level credentials in Mathematics and General Science.

Kathleen Harris (Vice Chair, CTC) read aloud a portion of a letter in Commissioner’s packets from the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE) that expressed strong support for the waiver program. “’Following the enactment of NCLB-related regulations, Liberal Studies programs no longer served as waiver programs for the Multiple Subject CSETs–all applicants for the Multiple Subject credential program had to pass these three Subtests. As a result, many campuses saw a drop in the number of Liberal Studies majors, and at some universities, the number of students in the related mathematics courses fell so low that sections had to be cut. Students selected other majors, many of which did not require as many mathematics courses as the Liberal Studies programs, a development which has been a source of strong concern for mathematics educators.’ Commissioner Harris noted that CAMTE pledged to ‘help facilitate communication among mathematics teacher educators to support the development of updated and powerful mathematics courses for future elementary teachers.’ CAMTE also expressed support for reviewing the Supplementary Authorization.

After discussion, Commissioners approved a motion to approve the staff recommendation for the subject matter program (CSET waiver program) option, thus initiating the rule-making process. (The item will likely appear on CTC’s June 2016 agenda.)

Related Item:

CTC Considers Extending Expiration Date of Teacher Credential Tests 


California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) Chair Linda Darling-Hammond made a motion to increase the term of validity for tests required of teacher credential candidates (e.g., CSET) from 5 years to 10 years, remarking, “[Over time,] people are getting more and more experience…and getting more knowledgeable, not less.” A related recommendation to “freeze” scores for those in a teacher credential program also met with support from Commissioners. CTC staff will bring back suggested Title 5 language for discussion, possible revisions, and action at the June Commission meeting.

These proposals could help teachers who, for example, have passed the first two mathematics CSET subtests and later decide to take the third subtest for a full math credential. Currently, if they have not applied for a Foundational-Level Mathematics Credential, they would have to retake any CSET subtests more than five years old. The proposed changes would also help undergraduates who take CSETs while the content knowledge is fresh in their minds, as they may take teaching credential coursework more than 5 years later.

Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces $100,000 Career Technical Education Grant to Expand Job Opportunities

Source: California Department of Education

In April, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) has received a $100,000 grant to develop a career readiness action plan and expand job opportunities for California students.

California is one of 24 states and the District of Columbia that won “New Skills for Youth” grants, part of a $75 million, five-year initiative developed by JPMorgan Chase. The effort includes a partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and Advance CTE, a national nonprofit that represents Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders in states.

The grants will increase career-focused education, starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or professional credentials focused on the skills that modern industries need.

“We are pleased to receive this grant because it will allow us to do additional analysis and planning in career technical education,” Torlakson said. “Improving and expanding career technical education is a top priority because these programs engage students and communities in so many different ways. They provide students with hands-on learning opportunities, internships, and mentorships with business leaders, and create pathways to 21st Century careers.”

This grant opportunity builds on CCSSO’s Career Readiness Initiative, launched in 2015 to help close the skills gap in the United States. The goal is to ensure that students are ready for college and graduate from high school prepared for careers.

Related article:

“Supply Lags Booming Demand for Career Technical Teachers” by John Fensterwald
Source: EdSource – 28 April 2016



“Long Beach Unified Offers Free SAT Tests to Level the Playing Field” by Phillip Zonkel

Source: Long Beach Press Telegram – 7 May 2016

For the foreseeable future, Long Beach Unified is offering the SAT test at no cost to all juniors and seniors in an effort to break down barriers that prevent students from taking the college-entrance exam and preparing for higher education.

This year was the first time the district offered the $54.50 test for free, and the number of students who took it in 2015 more than doubled – from 5,035 to 10,779. The district also scheduled the test on a school day instead of Saturday when it’s typically given.

Making the test free is an incentive for the district’s low-income students, which makeup about 70 percent of the student population, officials said.

“This is the new norm,” LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser said of the free SAT. “It’s our new board policy.”

The district has built the cost into its five-year budget, he said…

In addition to the free testing, Long Beach Unified offers free SAT practice tests through the Khan Academy. The online practice courses identify student weaknesses and devise personalized tutorial programs to help the student with those subjects.

Long Beach Unified is among 12 districts in the state offering the free testing thanks to a partnership with The College Board, the national organization that oversees the SAT, that allows the district to pay students’ costs for the SAT…

[The 12 unified school districts that offered the free testing were the following: Alvord, Chino Valley, Covina Valley, Fresno, Hemet, Long Beach, Lynwood, Norwalk-La Mirada, Oakland Unified, San Jose, Val Verde, and West Contra Costa. Source: 


“STEM for ALL” Video Showcase Begins on Tuesday

Source: National Science Foundation 

This coming Tuesday, May 17, is the first day of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) free week-long online Video Showcase, “STEM for ALL.” Over 400 presenters and co-presenters submitted 156 3-minute videos to showcase their NSF-funded projects. You’ll have an opportunity to view videos of interest, share your perspective in the discussion related to each video, and vote for your favorite.

For an overview, visit

Please share the following Showcase link with colleagues:

“Modeling and Model-Based Reasoning in STEM”

Source: Alejandra J. Magana, Purdue University –

The Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning and Education at Washington University initiated a series of national conferences around the theme “Integrating Cognitive Science with Innovative Teaching in STEM Disciplines.” On August 26-27, Purdue University will be hosting the fourth conference in this series, bringing together cognitive scientists, STEM educators, discipline-based educational researchers and learning scientists to learn and discuss how modeling and model-based reasoning come into play in undergraduate education in science and engineering, especially in regard to conceptual change. Although some of the talks will be devoted to the precollege years, the focus will be on undergraduate education.

The conference is limited to 100 participants with the goal of representing STEM fields broadly. Attendees are welcome to submit posters on any topic related to models and model-based reasoning in undergraduate education. To learn more, please visit (Applications are due on June 1.)

Northrop Grumman Foundation Seeks to Inspire the Next Generation of STEM Innovators with 2016 Fab School Labs Makeover Contest

The Northrop Grumman Foundation will provide grants of up to $100,000 to five middle schools for a science and technology makeover in its Fab School Labs contest. The submission window for applications closes 17 June 2016.

The contest is designed to drive students’ interest in science and technology by giving public middle school teachers and school administrators the chance to create the science or technology lab or classroom of their dreams and provide students with access to the latest learning tools and technologies that will stimulate as well as teach.

Visit to learn about the contest and submit an application with video and photos to help tell your story. Semifinalists’ videos will receive online votes of support to assist with the final selection process. The winning schools will then team up with Fab School Labs contest partner Flinn Scientific Inc. to design a state-of-the-art lab complete with all of the tools, resources, furnishings, and finishes needed. (In addition to this website, teachers are also encouraged to follow the competition on Facebook at



2016 White House Science Fair Student Participants

URL (Student project descriptions): Also see and 

“Countries with Higher Levels of Gender Equality Show Larger National Sex Differences in Mathematics Anxiety and Relatively Lower Parental Mathematics Valuation for Girls”

Source: PLoS ONE 11(4): e0153857 (Open source; entire article can be freely viewed)

URL: (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153857) 

“Current and Future Perspectives of Ethnomathematics as a Program” – Open source book by Milton Rosa, Ubiratan D’Ambrosio, Daniel Clark Orey, Lawrence Shirley, Wilfredo V. Alangui, Pedro Palhares, and Maria Elena Gavarrete


“Seeing as Understanding: The Importance of Visual Mathematics for our Brain and Learning” by Jo Boaler, Lang Chen, Cathy Williams, and Montserrat Cordero 


COMET is sponsored in part by a grant from the California Mathematics Project.

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