COMET • Vol. 17, No. 04 – 7 July 2016



Register Today for the California Teachers Summit—A Free Statewide Professional Learning Event!

Source: Joan Bissell, Director, Teacher Education and Public School Programs, Office of the Chancellor, California State University

All California teachers are invited to attend the second annual “Better Together: California Teachers Summit” on Friday, July 29.

More than 8,000 educators are already registered for this free event! Locations are filling quickly, so it’s important to register soon. Pick the site (out of 38 statewide) that is closest to you: If this location is sold out, you can either register at another site nearby or add your name to the waiting list; you’ll be the first to find out when spots open up.

The program will feature keynote addresses by education leaders, including acclaimed teacher and author Kelly Gallagher, as well as TED-style EdTalks presented by local teachers and Edcamp discussions on topics such as the California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers will walk away with access to new resources and concrete tools that are working in classrooms across the state.

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided free of charge at this day-long event.

Follow the Summit on Facebook and Twitter for updates, and join the conversation using the hashtag #CATeachersSummit.

The Summit is organized by the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), the California State University (CSU), and New Teacher Center (NTC).

LeadLearn2016 Forum to Highlight Leadership for Effective Instruction

Source: Kyndall Brown, Executive Director, California Mathematics Project

Registration is now open for a unique professional learning and leadership forum for educators to be held at UCLA on October 4-5, 2016. The California Subject Matter Project (CSMP) is hosting the LeadLearn2016 forum, an event designed to highlight how strategic teacher leadership development can support and expand school-wide and district-wide reform efforts, improve instruction, student learning, and literacy.

LeadLearn2016 will focus particularly on instructional practices, professional learning, and partnerships that support educational equity and access to rigorous academic content for California’s diverse students, including English learners, students with low academic literacy skills, urban and rural poor, and students underrepresented in postsecondary education. A main focus will be curriculum, instruction, and assessments aligned with California’s Academic Content Standards.

To register or learn more, visit Space is limited, and registration closes on 15 September 2016.

Free Live, Online CSET Mathematics Subtest I Review Begins Today (July 7) at 5 p.m.

The Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) at California State University, Fresno is pleased to announce this summer’s live, interactive, online CSET: Mathematics Subtest I and Subtest II content reviews. The instructor for these free mini-courses is Dr. Stefaan Delcroix (, a former Mathematics Department Chair at Fresno State. They are presented by MSTI as a service for anyone who needs to pass these tests or for teachers who may wish to review the math content covered in the classes.

Participants also receive links to the archived sessions for review. MSTI will reimburse the cost of the mathematics CSETs and credential application fee for credentialed classroom teachers.


CSET: Mathematics Subtest I Overview (Algebra)
Dates: July 7-8, July 11-14 (The URL for the July 7 class is
Time: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

CSET: Mathematics Subtest II Overview (Geometry; Probability/Statistics)
Dates: July 15, July 18-22 (The workshop links will be sent by July 14 to all who register.)
Time: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

To register, please email Alyssia Aguilar at for details.

MSTI-Fresno State also provides free online reviews for the CSET subtests for science. See for this month’s workshop dates. When scheduled, information about MSTI’s 2016-17 workshop offerings will be posted at

These online courses/workshops are sponsored by MSTI and offered in partnership with, which provides an easy-to-use online instructional platform for the reviews.

Your Comments on the Draft Science Framework are Invited

Source: California Department of Education

The Instructional Quality Commission and the State Board of Education welcome your comments on the Draft Science Framework for California Public Schools. The second 60-day public review period will end on 29 August 2016. All chapters and appendices are available on the website above for review. Please submit all comments to

A link to a downloadable ( collection of useful science education resources is also included on this page.

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) Updates

Source: California State Board of Education

The first item on the agenda at next week’s meeting of the State Board of Education is an action item to seek approval of the California Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Alternative Assessment conceptual design. In addition, this item will provide a comprehensive update on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). To download, go to

A few excerpts from this agenda item follow below:

New Test Score Guide Web Page Now Available

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium developed, in collaboration with the California Department of Education, a Test Score Guide Web page that was launched on June 13, 2016. On this new interactive Web page, located at, parents can look up information related to their child’s performance on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. Parents can use the information from the CAASPP Student Score Report (SSR) to understand what an overall score means as well as how well a student performed in specific areas or claims. Several sample test items are currently available for both mathematics and ELA that reflect the types of items that may be encountered by a student who scored at a particular achievement level for a particular grade…

Resources for the Smarter Balanced Assessments Posted

Teacher Guides to the Smarter Balanced Assessments (Teacher Guides) were posted in June 2016, and can be found at

The Teacher Guides for ELA and mathematics are designed to assist teachers in understanding, interacting with, and utilizing the Smarter Balanced assessments (both interim and summative assessments), and thereby to serve as a bridge between the assessments and their corresponding instructional frameworks. The Teacher Guides are available for grades three through five, grades six through eight, and grade eleven…

– Mathematics, Grades 3-5:

– Mathematics, Grades 6-8:

– Mathematics, Grade 11:

Additional resources for parents and students can also be found on the CDE CAASPP Student Score Report Information Web page at Some of the additional resources found [on this page] include: (1) sample student score reports in both English and Spanish, (2) brief videos in English and Spanish that highlight the features of the student score report, and (3) a two page informational flyer called Understanding Your Student Score Report that is available in English, Spanish and seven other languages…

Governor Brown Signs 2016-17 State Budget, Funds a Number of Education Initiatives

Last Monday (June 27), Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2016-17 State Budget. The highly readable and informative summary of the enacted Budget is available online at

Descriptions of K-12 program support can be found on pages 11-15. Summaries of programs supporting higher education are included on pages 17-23. Separate documents containing this information are located on the following webpages:


Higher Education:

Below are a few programs and initiatives that may be of interest to COMET readers.

Budget Summary (K-12), pp. 12-13:

Teacher Workforce:…Fund several programs aimed at recruiting additional teachers and streamlining teacher preparation programs:

• Integrated Teacher Preparation Grant Program:…Provide competitive grants to colleges and universities to develop or improve four‑year integrated teacher credential programs enabling credential candidates to receive both a teaching credential and a bachelor’s degree. [In the Education Omnibus Trailer Bill–see below–priority is given to four-year integrated programs in the teacher shortage areas of mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education.]

• Classified School Employees Credentialing Program:…Provide grants to K‑12 local educational agencies to support recruitment of non‑certificated school employees to participate in a teacher preparation program and become certificated classroom teachers in California public schools.

• California Center on Teacher Careers:…Multi‑year competitive grant to a local educational agency to establish and operate the California Center on Teaching Careers to recruit qualified and capable individuals to the teaching profession. The center will host a referral database for teachers seeking employment, develop and distribute recruitment publications; conduct outreach activities to high school and college students; provide statewide public service announcements related to teacher recruitment; and provide prospective teachers information on credential requirements, financial aid, and loan assistance programs.

[Note: SB 828 states that “the California Center on Teaching Careers shall prioritize its efforts to recruit both of the following:

(A) Teachers possessing, or candidates interested in possessing, education specialist credentials, single subject teaching credentials in the areas of science or mathematics, or teaching in the area of bilingual education.

(B) Candidates into schools in which over 85 percent of the student body is eligible for free or reduced-price meals.”]

Budget Summary (Higher Education), page 18

• Mathematics Readiness Challenge:…Federal funds on a one‑time basis for a competition to create 12th-grade mathematics courses that better prepare students for college‑level mathematics [and thus help reduce remediation rates in college]. [See legislative text below.]

• A‑G Success Initiative: …Expand [the University of California’s] existing Scout program and provide free online classes and curriculum approved by the University to meet the “a‑g” subject requirements–making college preparatory courses more accessible for students. [See Over a dozen math and science courses are currently available.]


Related information: 

Legislation Supports Creation of Four-Year Undergraduate Mathematics and Science Teacher Preparation Programs


When he signed the State Budget, Governor Brown also signed SB 828, the education omnibus trailer bill that serves to fund education-related items in his Budget. Below is an excerpt from the bill regarding the creation of 4-year undergraduate programs of teacher preparation:

(e) (1) The [Commission on Teacher Credentialing] shall develop and implement a program to award grants of up to $250,000 each to postsecondary educational institutions for the development of transition plans to guide the creation of four-year integrated programs of professional preparation including student teaching.

(2) A postsecondary educational institution awarded a grant under this subdivision may use the transition plan to create a new four-year integrated program of professional preparation or to adapt an existing integrated program of professional preparation to a four-year integrated program of professional preparation…

(4) In awarding grants pursuant to the program, the commission shall grant priority to proposals [emphasis added] for the establishment of four-year integrated programs of professional preparation designed to do both of the following:

(A) Produce teachers with either an education specialist instruction credential authorizing the holder to teach special education or a single subject teaching credential in the areas of mathematics or science [emphasis added] or teaching in the area of bilingual education.

(B) Partner with a California Community College to create a four-year integrated program of professional preparation…


Mathematics Readiness Challenge: Program to Develop Grade 12-Level Mathematics Courses

The following description of the Mathematics Readiness Challenge is contained in the text of SB 828, the education omnibus trailer bill (

Article 2. Mathematics Readiness Challenge

51710. (a) The Mathematics Readiness Challenge program is hereby established.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the program support the implementation and evaluation of grade 12 experiences that are designed to prepare pupils for placement into college-level courses in mathematics…

(2) The [California Department of Education] shall make awards to eligible partnerships selected by a committee consisting of three representatives, with one from each of the following:

(A) The department.

(B) The California State University.

(C) The California Mathematics Project…

(e) A grant made pursuant to this article shall only be made to an eligible partnership that includes participation by each of the following entities:

(1) At least one division of a postsecondary educational institution that prepares teachers and principals.

(2) At least one school of arts and sciences of a postsecondary educational institution.

(3) At least one high-need local educational agency.

(f) The department shall award grants of $1,280,000 each to five eligible partnerships selected by the committee.

(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that all of the following occur:

(1) These funds support different kinds of grade 12 experiences to allow for the evaluation of the effectiveness of various experiences.

(2) The grade 12 experiences focus on the needs of pupils who have completed three years of college-preparatory mathematics courses but are not expected to be deemed ready for college-level mathematics courses upon matriculation to a postsecondary educational institution.

(3) The grade 12 experiences be implemented by no later than the 2017–18 school year.

(h) The committee shall select eligible partnerships such that each eligible partnership that receives a grant would implement a grade 12 experience sufficiently different from those that would be implemented by other eligible partnerships that receive awards. The committee shall give preference to partnerships that include local educational agencies whose high school graduates have high mathematics remediation rates based on California State University freshmen enrollment data.

(i) Grants awarded pursuant to this article shall be used for professional development for teachers, paraprofessionals, and principals for purposes of this article and for the development and provision of assistance necessary for the professional development of those individuals, consistent with federal law.

(j) As a condition of receiving a grant award, eligible partnerships shall commit to both of the following:

(1) Making any new course materials, including curriculum, widely available or available as open educational resources.

(2) Sharing information about their policies and practices and evidence regarding the effectiveness of those policies and practices in preparing pupils for college-level courses in mathematics with other entities within their regions and across the state…

“Cal State University May Require Four Years of High School Math for Admission” by Pat Maio

Source: EdSource – 30 June 2016


Nominations for 2016 STEM Innovation Awards due August 31


Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s (SVEF’s) STEM Innovation Awards recognize pioneering people and programs in STEM education at SVEF’s annual “Pioneers & Purpose: A Celebration for Education” event. Awards are given to programs and practices that set new benchmarks for innovation in STEM. Non-profit winners will receive a $5000 grant for their work.


(1) Use of innovative technology, concepts, programs or materials to excite students about learning, increase subject interest, and improve academic performance.
(2) Use of technology to promote digital learning and/or digital access to educational content.
(3) Educational programs that have the potential for wide impact by an entire school, a district, or a larger audience.
(4) Use of project-based, challenge-based learning.

For more details, please visit

The deadline for applications is August 31 at 5:00 PM PDT.

Please contact with any questions.

A Framework for Computer Science Education

URL (EdSource): 

As interest and growth in K-12 computer science (CS) education spreads, states and school districts are asking a common question: What do students need to know and be able to do in K-12 computer science? The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA),, the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC), and the National Math+Science Initiative (NMSI) have joined forces with more than 100 advisors within the computing community (higher education faculty, researchers, K-12 teachers), several states and large school districts, technology companies, and other organizations to steer a process to develop conceptual guidelines for states and districts creating a K-12 pathway in computer science., ACM, and NMSI are providing funding for this effort. California is one of the lead states, and San Francisco is one of the large school districts that is involved. The vision follows below:

The framework of computer science concepts and practices will empower students to…

· be informed citizens who can critically engage in public discussion on CS-related topics

· develop as learners, users, and creators of CS knowledge and artifacts

· better understand the role of computing in the world around them

· learn, perform, and express themselves in other subjects and interests

Intended outcome:

The goal is to generate a high level framework for computer science instruction. The framework would identify the core concepts and practices of K-12 computer science, and include statements that detail powerful ideas in computer science for students exiting grades 2, 5, 8, and 12. The framework will provide guidance to states or districts that want to design their own standards, curriculum, assessments, or teacher preparation programs…The CSTA and are collaborating to align the development of the framework and the current revision of the CSTA standards.

The framework is slated for release in September 2016. If you are interested in being kept apprised of the latest developments, please register here:

For more information about this effort, as well as related computer science education efforts in California, visit to read Pat Maio’s EdSource article entitled, “California Moves to Catch up on K-12 Computer Science Curriculum.”


National Science Foundation Funding Opportunities for Educational Research and Development Programs: Archived Webinar

STELAR ( hosted a webinar led by Bob Russell, Program Director for the Division of Research and Learning at the National Science Foundation (NSF) last Thursday. The webinar, entitled “National Science Foundation Funding for Educational Research and Development Programs,” provided an informative overview of NSF funding opportunities for educational research and development projects that focus on STEM learning and learning environments, STEM workforce development, and broadening participation in STEM.

The webinar covered some basics on developing and submitting an NSF proposal, provided overviews of relevant funding opportunities, and highlighted program resource websites that provide a wealth of information on funded projects, research reports, project videos, and other information.

Featured programs included the following:

– Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)

– Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12)

– Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)

– Cyberlearning

– STEM+Computing Partnerships (STEM+C)

– EHR Core Research (ECR) programs

The PPT slides from this webinar can be found at

A recording of the webinar is located at


LinkEngineering Supports PK-12 Engineering Experiences

Source: California Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards (CA4NGSS) Newsletter – June 2016 

The National Academy of Engineering’s LinkEngineering ( website is an online community of educators interested in providing engineering experiences to all PreK-12 students. Membership is free (

Mathical Youth Book Prize


The Mathical Book Prize aims to inspire young people to engage with mathematics in the world around them. The prize is a joint project of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC).

Each year, the winning list is promoted nationally among librarians, PK-12 teachers, mathematicians, and science museums, as well as via the National Math Festival website.

Anyone is welcome to suggest titles for the 2017 Mathical Book Prize, and MSRI will reach out to publishers of qualifying titles.

The selection panel looks for (a) literary quality, (b) well-presented books that contain substantial and/or inspirational math content, and (c) books that are clear, accurate, and inviting in their approach to mathematics. Some books will teach easily recognizable math skills through a well-told story. Others will simply suggest or encourage an enjoyment of mathematics in the broadest sense, by a variety of different approaches.

The 2017 Prize submission period begins on 1 August 2016.

Books honored in 2015 and 2016 can be found here:

Spacecraft Juno Reaches Jupiter


After an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn. Confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 8:53 pm. PDT on July 4.

NASA Television aired live coverage of the solar-powered Juno spacecraft’s arrival at Jupiter: See time marker 1:23:30 for the moment confirmation is received and excitement fills the rooms.

“Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America’s birthday another reason to cheer–Juno is at Jupiter,” said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. “And what is more American than a NASA mission going boldly where no spacecraft has gone before? With Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter’s massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet’s interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved.”

Confirmation of a successful orbit insertion was received from Juno tracking data monitored at the navigation facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena as well as at the Lockheed Martin Juno operations center in Denver. The telemetry and tracking data were received by NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas in Goldstone, California, and Canberra, Australia.

“This is the one time I don’t mind being stuck in a windowless room on the night of the Fourth of July,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “The mission team did great. The spacecraft did great. We are looking great. It’s a great day.”

“The spacecraft worked perfectly, which is always nice when you’re driving a vehicle with 1.7 billion miles on the odometer,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager from JPL. “Jupiter orbit insertion was a big step and the most challenging remaining in our mission plan, but there are others that have to occur before we can give the science team members the mission they are looking for.”

Over the next few months, Juno’s mission and science teams will perform final testing on the spacecraft’s subsystems, final calibration of science instruments, and some science collection. Juno is the first spacecraft to orbit the poles of the solar system’s most massive planet. It will circle the Jovian world 37 times during 20 months, skimming to within 3,100 miles above the cloud tops, providing new answers to ongoing mysteries about the planet’s core, composition and magnetic fields.

“Our official science collection phase begins in October, but we’ve figured out a way to collect data a lot earlier than that,” said Bolton. “Which when you’re talking about the single biggest planetary body in the solar system is a really good thing. There is a lot to see and do here.”

Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. With its suite of nine science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras. The mission will also facilitate an understanding of how giant planets form and the role they played in assembling the rest of the solar system. Jupiter also can provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.

More information on the Juno mission is available at A video of the very informative press briefing held hours before Juno arrived at Jupiter is available at


Related Information:

Free STEM Education Webinars From NASA Educator Professional Development

Source: NEON – NASA Educators Online Network – 5 July 2016

The NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative (EPDC) at Texas State University is presenting a series of free webinars open to all educators. Join NASA education specialists to learn about activities, lesson plans, educator guides and resources that bring NASA into your classroom. Visit to view upcoming events.

Today (July 7) at 3:30 p.m. PDT, the following webinar will be held: Engineering Your Summer — Technology Drives Exploration: NASA BEST Satellite (Grades K-12) – Participants will learn about how technology drives exploration. Using the Beginning Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) curriculum, participants will learn how to use the engineering design process to build and launch a satellite. Participants will also learn about current research at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. Register online to participate:

(b) NASA Space Place

Visit, a website for teachers and students that contains games, crafts, Q&A, and classroom resources related to space science.

“Teens Like Science, Not Science Class, Study Finds” by Jackie Zubrzycki


A new report from the AmGen Foundation and Change the Equation, both of which advocate for STEM education, finds that while teenagers are interested in subjects like physics, biology, and engineering, they tend not to enjoy their in-school classes.

The report’s authors argue that this discrepancy means that there is room both in and out of school to dramatically improve STEM education offerings for teens, mostly by making them more hands-on and engaging.

The report is based on an online survey of more than 1,500 teens from around the country…

To read the report, visit

Related article:

Hands-On Science in the Classroom Boosts STEM Retention Almost 25 Percent

Source: Photonix Media – 7 June 2016


A Simple Numbers Game Seems to Make Kids Better at Math

Source: Johns Hopkins University – 15 June 2016


Amazon Launches Inspire, a Free Online Education Resources (OER) Platform for Teachers

Source: CIOL – 28 June 2016
URL (Inspire): 


“3 Ideas for High School Math Teachers to Explore This Summer” by Alexandra Pannoni

Source: U.S. News and World Report


“Girls Outperform Boys on First NAEP Technology, Engineering Test” by Jackie Zubrzycki

Source: Education Week – 17 May 2016 


 “UCSD Tops List for Female STEM Students” by Gary Warth

Source: The San Diego Union Tribune – 29 June 2016 


“Caltech Bioengineer is First Woman to win $1.1-Million Tech Prize” by Amina Khan

Source: Los Angeles Times 

“Majoring in Making: ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder Launches Nation’s First Undergraduate Degree in Making”

Source: National Science Foundation

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

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    • Professor, Mathematics Education
    • California State University, Fresno
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