COMET • Vol. 17, No. 05 – 6 September 2016



Final Report of the California State University Quantitative Reasoning Task Force

On September 1, the chair of the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU), Christine Miller, distributed the final report of the CSU Quantitative Reasoning Task Force (QRTF) to members of the CSU Academic Senate with a request for senators to review the report prior to next week’s plenary meetings. She writes that Task Force Co-Chairs Steven Filling and Kate Stevenson will lead a discussion of the report at that time, and the Executive Committee will introduce a resolution asking the Senate to take action on it.

The 46-page report is available online at

The QRTF includes the following four recommendations on pages 2-3:

– Recommendation I. Formulate an updated quantitative reasoning definition based on CSU best practices and reflecting national standards. Current policy relies on the phrase “intermediate algebra” as shorthand for full college preparation through high school, and defines baccalaureate-level quantitative reasoning as the math that builds on this level. The Task Force recommends updating this definition to include other kinds of quantitative reasoning.

– Recommendation II. Revise CSU quantitative reasoning requirements, and adopt equitable, implementable requirements that articulate well with the other segments… The Task Force proposes flexible and appropriately rigorous definitions of quantitative reasoning at the foundational and baccalaureate levels to inform separate requirements at entry and at graduation.

– Recommendation III. Adopt implementable policies that ensure equitable access and opportunity to all CSU students. The Task Force recommends policy revisions to provide equitable treatment of community college transfer and native CSU students; improve access to quantitative reasoning classes relevant to a student’s major, interests, and career; and raise the CSU systemwide expectation for quantitative reasoning in high school from three to four years. [See] Also see this report, p. 42: “Not only is a fourth year of high school mathematics already recommended for all high school students intending to enroll in the CSU, but those students who are determined to be ‘Conditionally Ready’ for college-level mathematics coursework are provided with an additional incentive to continue taking mathematics in their senior year of high school: By taking an approved senior-year math course and earning a grade of ‘C’ or better, they do not need to participate in the Early Start summer program, nor will they need to take remedial mathematics courses at the CSU.” See]

In each case, the Task Force sought to make its recommendations equitable by balancing access and opportunity. For example, the recommendation to raise the CSU’s systemwide expectation for quantitative reasoning coursework in high school to four years emphasizes that the fourth year of instruction should include practice and application of prior learning in quantitative reasoning, as opposed to a new course of topics in math. (In operational terms this means the fourth year of high school quantitative reasoning might not be in area “c” of the UC “a-g” curriculum of college preparatory courses.)

– Recommendation IV. Create a CSU Center for Advancement of Instruction in Quantitative Reasoning. The Task Force appreciates the rapidly changing contexts of high school instruction, best practices in postsecondary education, and the skills in quantitative reasoning that CSU students will rely on after graduation. This report supports a recent resolution of the Academic Senate CSU calling for creation of such a Center [(see report Appendix F)], to act on these and subsequent findings and to continuously support the high-quality instruction and curriculum in the high schools, community colleges, and public universities that will better serve the state…

[p. 32] The Center should lead development of a quantitative reasoning course in the 12th grade analogous to the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) for high school seniors (Quantitative Reasoning-HS) in area c or g. Such development should be informed by the numerous very encouraging examples of such courses locally around the state in high school and postsecondary partnerships. The new, state-level course should be made available to high school teachers in modules that apply the skills and practices to be mastered in Algebra/Math I and many that are introduced and practiced in the full Common Core State Standards K-12 curriculum. Importantly, the course should have a strong focus on preparing students to engage in quantitative reasoning across a wide range of majors, interests, and careers, including, but not limited to teaching, nursing, law enforcement, information technology, sustainability, liberal studies, and social sciences…

California Students Make Progress on All State Tests

Source: California Department of Education

On 24 August 2016, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that California students made significant progress in the second year of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) online tests, with the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards increasing at every grade and in every student group. Nearly half of the students tested met or exceeded standards in English language arts, and nearly four in ten met or exceeded standards in mathematics.

More than 3.2 million students took part in CAASPP, which includes a number of different assessments. The most widely utilized are the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments in mathematics and English language arts/literacy, which are given in grades three through eight and grade 11.

Smarter Balanced tests consist of two parts. First, students take a computer adaptive assessment, which bases follow-up questions on a student’s answers in real time and gives a more accurate picture of a student’s progress than the paper and pencil test.

Students also complete a performance task that challenges their ability to apply their knowledge and skills to problems in a real-world setting. The two parts measure depth of understanding, writing, research, and problem-solving skills.

In mathematics, the largest gains were seen among third-graders, with 46 percent meeting or exceeding standards, an increase of 6 points from last year. Other grades posted gains of 2 or 3 percentage points (see

California State Universities and many community colleges consider high marks on these tests among 11th-grade students a reliable sign of readiness for college-level work. This year’s results indicate 59 percent of grade eleven students are ready or conditionally ready for college work in English language arts, with 33 percent ready or conditionally ready for college work in mathematics.

Torlakson said a number of factors may have helped scores rise this year, including an extra year of teaching the California state standards in English and math, more familiarity with taking an online test, continued improvements in technology, and the use of interim tests.

One concern remains with the continuing achievement gap, with significantly lower scores among students from low-income families, English learners and some ethnic groups compared to other students. “The achievement gap is pernicious and persistent and we all need to work together to find solutions that help all groups rise, while narrowing the gap,” said Torlakson, who has proposed an office within the California Department of Education devoted to coordinating and promoting efforts to address the achievement gap.

Individual student scores are reported to parents by mail. In addition, California provides a dedicated CAASPP Results website where parents and the public can view and compare aggregated results among schools, districts, and counties along with statewide results:

Also see the following website, which provides parents with grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject information at all levels of achievement; detailed online guides to use in analyzing results; and practice tests at every grade level in English:

Related articles:


Smarter Balanced Interim Assessment FAQs

Source: California Department of Education

“How PISA Is Changing to Reflect 21st Century Workforce Needs and Skills” by Patricia Gomes

Source: EdSurge


“Here’s What We Know About the Next Generation Science Standards Tests” by Liana Heitin

Source: Education Week – 31 August 2016

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards and many plan to officially start testing students on those standards in the spring of 2018.

But the tests are, for the most part, still in early development phases. And the question on many educators’ minds is: What will the final tests look like?

Last week, the American Institutes for Research, a research and evaluation nonprofit that is contracting with some states to design and implement NGSS tests, brought together psychometricians, science education experts, and state leaders for two days of discussion in Washington on how to turn the standards into state summative exams. The states represented included California, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia…

The meetings were closed to the press, but [writer Liana Heitin] spoke with Jon Cohen, the president of AIR assessment, and Gary Phillips, AIR’s senior vice president and an institute fellow, afterward about some of what the attendees decided at the gathering.

“The first thing you need to know is that although states are trying to collaborate and work together, the tests are going to differ across states,” said Cohen. That includes the form of the tests, how they’re structured, the questions used, and how they report scores.

For that reason, the results won’t likely be comparable across states. While two federally funded consortia were formed to create tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards, states are developing the NGSS tests for the most part on their own.

Even so, “there are going to be some things in common” across the tests, Cohen said.

Here’s some of what we know:

General Test Characteristics

— The tests are likely to be two hours maximum.

— They’ll be delivered online. Some states will use adaptive testing, meaning items will change in difficulty depending on how the test-taker is performing (like the Smarter Balanced assessments for the Common Core standards).

— The tests won’t have many (or any) multiple-choice items. There will be open-ended responses, essays, and equations for students to complete.

— Most states will only test once per grade band (3-5, 6-8, and high school), since that’s all the new federal education law requires. That means they will cover topics from several grades in a single test…

[Please see the full article at for information about scores/reporting, as well as the format of the test questions (e.g., computer simulations and virtual experiments), along with a sample test item.] ____________________________

Commission Approves NGSS-Aligned Science Subject Matter Requirements Along with Plan to Reduce the Number of Single Subject Science CSETs

At its June 2016 meeting, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Commission passed a motion to (a) approve the adoption of revised Science Subject Matter Requirements (SMRs) in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards (the SMRs have recently undergone a content validation study), (b) adopt the revised test design for CSET: Science-related examinations*, and (c) direct Commission staff to work with the subject matter programs. Visit (along with to view this agenda item.

Page 7 provides a summary of the proposed structure of the revised CSET: Science subtests for both Multiple Subject (which would remain very similar to the current test) and Single Subject:

“The structure…proposed for the single subject sciences examinations would alter the examinations from their current three subtest structure to just two subtests. In this design, Subtest I would be taken by all examinees seeking any of the science credentials and would measure general science concepts as outlined by NGSS using 100 multiple choice questions (MCQ) and 4 constructed response questions (CRI), all enhanced to specifically measure NGSS concepts… Subtest II would be specific to each of the single subject science disciplines and would include 50 multiple choice questions (MCQ) and 3 constructed response questions (CRI).”

Thus, for those who need to demonstrate subject matter competency via the CSET, candidates for the Foundational-Level General Science credential would only have to pass one CSET subtest, rather than two, and those pursuing a full science credential would only need to pass two subtests. Initial administration of the updated CSET: Science assessments is scheduled for summer 2017.

Commission on Teacher Credentialing Addresses Supplementary and Subject Matter Authorizations, Reauthorizing Elementary Subject Matter Programs, and Extending the Validity Period for Tests Such as the CSET

Source: California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing took action at its June 2016 meeting to approve extending “the validity period of examination scores [(e.g., CSET, RICA)] from five years to ten years. The Commission determined the extension to a ten-year validity period was necessary to provide educators additional flexibility in the timeframe now required for many to complete all credential requirements and assist them to avoid the negative consequences encountered with the five-year validity term” ( At this week’s Commission meeting, a request to adopt the proposed amendments to the regulations will be presented.

Also during the June 2016 meeting, Item 3C presented the various options available to credentialed teachers for acquiring additional authorizations. Of specific focus was the topic of supplementary authorizations (SA) and subject matter authorizations (SMA).

The following policy questions were addressed:

1. Should the regulations related to subject matter authorizations be repealed?

[The 32-unit SMA was instituted as a result of legislated No Child Left Behind “highly qualified” teacher requirements; the current Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaces NCLB, and–beginning this school year–states are no longer bound to previous requirements, specifically the highly qualified teacher designation.]

2. Should the regulations related to the required course content areas for introductory supplementary authorizations be amended?

3. Should specific supplementary authorization subjects be added or deleted?

4. Should all teachers who add an authorization be required to complete a subject-specific pedagogy course in the new content area?

The agenda item documentation provides a clear overview of these issues; see

The California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE) submitted a letter referenced in the draft minutes for the Commission’s meeting this week ( based in part on the result of a poll of CAMTE members: “[CAMTE] submitted a letter which stated that the Subject Matter Authorization may be repealed if the requirements for the Supplementary Authorization are updated, strengthened, and expanded, and urged the Commission to establish subject matter task forces to develop guidelines for teacher preparation at the middle school level. The letter also noted it is important for teacher candidates to possess subject-specific content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and research-based knowledge of pedagogy that is focused on effectively teaching middle school students.” The full letter is available here:

After discussion, “the Commission directed staff to work with stakeholders to gather more information and bring an agenda item back for Commission discussion at a future meeting.”

The Commission also received enthusiastic support for Agenda Item 3A, particularly the “plan to implement the reauthorization of elementary subject matter programs to meet the subject matter requirement for credentialing.” Since 1 July 2004, all Multiple Subject credential candidates have been required to pass the three Multiple Subject CSET subtests. Prior to this time, the CSET requirement was waived if a credential candidate had completed a Commission-approved elementary subject matter program (e.g., Liberal Studies degree program). Now that the “highly qualified” teacher designation/requirement has been removed from the language in ESSA, the Commission will begin implementing a plan to reauthorize (or authorize) elementary subject matter programs. (CAMTE’s letter to the Commission in support of this action is available here:

Recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching to be Honored in Washington this Week


On 22 August 2016 President Obama announced the latest recipients of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. These awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The winners were selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level. The educators will receive their awards–including $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion–at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., this week.

Complete profiles of California’s award recipients (see below) are available on the PAEMST website ( and via the links below.

= K-6 Mathematics: Andy Kotko teaches first grade at Mather Heights Elementary School (

Andy is a founding teacher of the Folsom Cordova Academy for Advanced Learning, a public magnet school focused on inquiry and project-based learning…

Andy is Chair of the California Teacher Advisory Council, an organization that provides teacher expertise to policymakers and others whose decisions affect the quality of science and mathematics education in California. In 2014, Andy was invited to Washington, D.C., to speak to Congress about improving university-level teacher training… He has ventured to India to train local teachers and to the Nicaraguan jungle to help construct a school.

Andy earned a B.A. in physics…and is a National Board Certified Teacher.

= K-6 Science: Erica Rood teaches third grade teacher at CHIME Charter School (

…Erica has been recognized as a distinguished teacher by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers convening, and the California Department of Education’s TEACH California initiative.

As an innovator in STEM education, she has created curriculum for both NASA and Edwards Air Force Base’s Junior Test Pilot School to inspire elementary students toward STEM disciplines. Erica recently published the STEM and arts integration chapter in “What Really Works in Elementary Education.”

…She is a certified NASA Endeavor Teacher Leader [and is a lecturer at CSU, Northridge].

= Gr. 7-12 Mathematics: Maria McClain teaches Mastering Algebra I, Precalculus, Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB, and AP Statistics at Deer Valley High School (

…In her role as Mathematics Department Chair, she supports the transition to the Common Core by facilitating professional development and collaboration opportunities for teachers…

Maria has served as a District Mentor Teacher for the past 16 years and is the Lead Teacher of a California Academic Partnership Program grant designed to implement the Common Core and create a seamless transition from high school to post-secondary education. Her awards include District and County Teacher of the Year, and California Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist. She is National Board Certified in adolescent and young adulthood mathematics…

= Gr. 7-12 Science: Michael Towne currently teaches Geometry, Symbolic Logic, and Engineering to 10th grade students in the inaugural year of Orange Vista High School (

Previously, Michael taught AP Physics and Engineering at Citrus Hill High School for nine years, where his students’ results garnered national attention… He also teaches graduate level courses in science pedagogy at UC Riverside.

Michael served as the District Math Instructional Coach for Val Verde Unified School District for a year… He also presents pedagogy and discourse strategies at conferences around the country designed to develop classroom strategies to provide equitable access to science and mathematics for all students. His students have won local, regional, and state awards for applied science and engineering projects they designed and built. Mr. Towne’s current students are taking an innovative Symbolic Logic course in conjunction with Stanford University.

Michael received a B.S. in physics from UC Riverside and a M.A. in education from the CSU, San Bernardino. He holds multiple and single subject credentials with authorizations in mathematics, physics, and earth science.

To be notified when this year’s nomination/application period is open, write The award’s nomination year alternates between teachers in grades K-6 (odd-numbered years), and those teaching in grades 7-12 (even-numbered years). The cohort of awardees named on August 22 represents two nomination years.

WestEd Invites Mathematics Teachers to Serve as Reviewers for New Educational Technology Products

Contact: Rosanne Luu, Research Assistant at WestEd —, (650) 381-6432

WestEd, a non-profit education research organization, is partnering with NewSchools Venture Fund (NSVF) to launch NewSchools Ignite (, an education technology accelerator that supports entrepreneurs who are building technologies to support students’ development of mathematics skills.

NSVF has selected 15 “winning” companies for their Middle & High School Math Learning Challenge (see for details), and WestEd is working with these companies to facilitate a research-based approach to product development. Starting this month, WestEd is providing companies with product design feedback from a research perspective.

WestEd is looking for mathematics teachers in California who would be interested in completing a rubric-based review of educational technology products this month (September).

Teachers will be asked to complete 2-3 product reviews this month, along with a 1-hour virtual training session at the beginning of the review process. Each product review will take 3 hours to complete. The three hours would be spent trying the product out, writing a review of the product using a WestEd-developed rubric, and speaking with a WestEd staff member on the phone to share product feedback and written comments.

Teachers completing 2 reviews and the training session will receive a $350 stipend. Teachers completing 3 reviews and the training session will receive a $500 stipend.

If you are interested in working with WestEd as a teacher reviewer, please fill out the online survey here: If you have any questions or would like more information about this opportunity, please contact Rosanne Luu at

“California Launches Open Resources, Professional Development Network” by Joshua Bolkan

Source: THE Journal – 2 August 2016

The California Department of Education (CDE) has launched Collaboration in Common, a professional learning and resource sharing network for California educators.

Collaboration in Common is the state’s first initiative to support the United States Department of Education’s #GoOpen ( campaign, an effort to encourage the use of openly licensed education materials.

CDE’s partners in the project include the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation (, a non-profit that incubates and elevates statewide education initiatives, and Declara, a company that uses machine learning and natural language processing to improve content discovery.

Declara’s platform is designed to facilitate resource sharing across multiple libraries, peer-to-peer learning, and collaboration for teams to solve challenges in teaching and learning.

“Collaboration in Common is a prime example of how California continues to remodel its education system to prepare our next generation of innovators and leaders,” said Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, in a prepared statement.

“Transitioning to new state standards requires patience and persistence, and it’s critical that educators have access to ongoing professional learning experiences. By leveraging Silicon Valley technology, we’ve created a first-of-its-kind professional learning community for continuous improvement, that will save teachers time and allow them to collaborate across the expanse of our diverse state, anytime and anywhere.”

Related information:

Collaboration in Common


Opportunity from Collaboration in Common (CiC):

Will you help us build the future of professional collaboration in California?

We are seeking innovators and early-adopters to serve as Educational Leaders and Teacher Champions. CiC Leaders and Champions will be essential partners in shaping this first-of-its-kind resource exchange and community of California educators. Educational Leaders and Teacher Champions will receive specialized training and be among the first to gain access to Collaboration in Common. Visit sign up (near the bottom of the page).

Also see the initial press release at

Registration Ends September 15 for the LeadLearn2016 Forum


LeadLearn2016 is a multi-disciplinary forum sponsored by the California Subject Matter Project for California K-12 educators to engage in professional learning and collaborative leadership. It will highlight how strategic teacher leadership development can support and expand school-wide and district-wide reform efforts, improve instruction, student learning, and literacy.

For conference themes and the agenda, please visit

September 15 is the deadline to register:

California STEM Symposium: Regular Registration Rates Extended Through Friday


The California STEM Symposium, which will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center on October 9-11, has extended the regular registration period through this Friday (September 9). The symposium will have nearly 300 speakers, an exhibitors marketplace, and the largest Makerspace to date. Special hotel rates at the adjacent Hilton hotel are only guaranteed through tomorrow. Visit for more information.

Preservice Teachers are Invited to Serve as Student Hosts at California Mathematics Council-South Conference in Palm Spring

Source: Jaspreet Sandha ( and Wendy Schroeder (, Co-Chairs, CMC-South Student Volunteers Committee

The 2016 California Mathematics Council (CMC)-South conference will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center on November 4-5 (see

Full-time college students who are interested in teaching mathematics in grades PK-12 may volunteer to serve as a student host. Those selected will receive excellent benefits: free conference registration and free CMC membership.

Volunteers are needed from Thursday (November 3) at 4 p.m. through late afternoon on Saturday (November 5). Volunteer shifts are typically four hours long. (Thursday’s shift is shorter, but the benefits are the same.)

Visit for more information and to sign up. Information about initial assignments will be emailed in early October. Contact Jaspreet Sandha ( with any questions.


Mathematics Teacher Jaime Escalante Honored on a U.S. Postage Stamp


On July 13, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) honored Jaime Escalante with the issuance of a commemorative Forever Stamp during the League of United Latin American Citizens’ 87th annual convention and exposition in Washington, D.C.

Escalante, the mathematics teacher profiled in the 1988 movie, “Stand and Deliver,” inspired inner-city high school students at Garfield High School in Los Angeles to master calculus and was later inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame for his efforts to “have children believe in their ability to achieve.”

“We are here today to honor Jaime Escalante because, as a teacher, he proved time and time again with the right inputs into the right formula, conventional wisdom could be defied,” said Robert Cintron, vice president, USPS Network Operations, who dedicated the stamp.

“We celebrate Mr. Escalante today for his charmed ability to create calm within a landscape of calamity,” said Cintron. “As a result of staying committed to his belief that all students can learn, kids who had been written off as undisciplined, uninterested, unmanageable and unruly were given a real opportunity at learning. In return, his students showed the world that one opportunity was really all that they needed.”

A special dedication ceremony for the commemorative stamp was held on July 16 at Garfield High School. The stamp illustration is based on a photograph taken by Jaime Escalante II, on 6 May 2005 in the classroom at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento, CA, where his father taught after leaving Garfield High.

This Thursday (September 8), the Fort Worth, Texas, post office will honor Escalante with a special dedication of the stamp as well. “The special dedication, requested by Rose Herrera and sponsored by the Artes de la Rosa, will be held at the Historic Rose Marine Theatre” (

Related article:

“New Jaime Escalante Stamp Celebrated at Garfield High School” by Mayde Gomez 

Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News Los Angeles – 16 July 2016

Crowds lined up at Garfield High School on [16 July 2016] to celebrate the new postal stamp honoring legendary educator Jaime Escalante…Escalante died in 2010 of cancer at age 79. Some of his relatives and former students attended Saturday’s event honoring him.

“He represents all of the educators that truly care about their students,” said Elsa Bolado, one of Escalante’s former students.

Escalante taught at Garfield from 1974-91…

U.S. Wins First Place at International Mathematics Competition in Hong Kong

Source: Mathematical Association of America

For the second year in a row, the U.S. team won first place at the 57th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) in Hong Kong, July 6-16.

The IMO is the World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School students, where the brightest mathematics students from more than 100 countries compete. The winning U.S. team score was 214 out of a possible 252, ahead of the Republic of Korea (207) and China (204)…

Study: IES-funded Research Improves Quality of Math Education

Source: Vanderbilt University Research News – 30 August 2016

Vanderbilt professor Bethany Rittle-Johnson and University of Delaware professor Nancy C. Jordan, co-authored an in-depth review of mathematics education research funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES; They evaluated the impact of more than 200 peer-reviewed IES-funded studies by 69 authors.

In the report, “Synthesis of IES-Funded Research on Mathematics: 2002–2013,” (the authors identified 28 distinct contributions that the IES grants have made in furthering the understanding of K-12 mathematics teaching and learning, as well as teacher professional development. A list of these findings is contained in the Executive Summary of the report, which is available free of charge online at

“The first 11 years of IES-funded research has greatly extended our knowledge about how students learn mathematics and how to improve mathematics outcomes for all students,” the authors said.

The publication organizes the contributions by topic and grade level:

* Improving Mathematics Learning

– Whole Numbers, Operations, and Word Problem Solving in Elementary School

– Fractions and Algebra in the Middle Grades

* Development and Evaluation of Teacher Professional Development Approaches

Each section of the report describes the contributions IES-funded researchers are making in these areas and discusses the projects behind the contributions.

Native Americans Featured in New STEM Project

Source: American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) and New Mexico Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NM EPSCoR)
Contact: Chelsea Chee –

Last Wednesday (August 31) a new project, Natives in STEM, unveiled a unique resource to encourage Native American youth to participate in STEM. New posters featuring Native STEM professionals will be distributed to schools and communities across the United States. A complementary website ( filled with Native STEM professionals’ stories has also launched for students, schools, and communities to use as an educational resource.

“Growing up, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me, didn’t see myself represented, in my science and math textbooks and classroom walls,” said Chelsea Chee, project co-founder and Diversity Coordinator for the New Mexico Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NM EPSCoR), a National Science Foundation–funded program. “I wanted to change that.”

Studies show that students find it difficult to imagine themselves as part of the STEM community if they don’t see people like them represented in related images or learning environments. However, exposure to positive images and success stories can increase a sense of belonging for those not traditionally represented in STEM fields. Previously, few images and stories of Native scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians existed.

The first Natives in STEM posters feature two Ph.D. engineers – Stan Atcitty, a Dine’/Navajo man at Sandia National Laboratories and Otakuye Conroy-Ben, an Olgala Lakota woman and professor at Arizona State University. The project’s website contains stories from other Native professionals from different tribes and backgrounds. New posters and stories will added periodically.

For the past two presidential elections, has posed questions related to science, engineering, technology, health, and environmental issues to the candidates of the major political parties and encouraged them to hold a debate centered around these issues. In 2008 and 2012, the candidates of the Republican and Democratic parties submitted answers to these questions, which were then posted on the website. Supported by over 50 science and engineering organizations,’s founder, Shawn Otto, invited the current presidential candidates to respond to the following 20 questions:


“California Considers Diploma Seal for STEM Proficiency” by Jackie Zubrzycki

Source: EdWeek – 1 August 2016
URL (Article):
URL (AB 2072):


“A Hero For The Arts And Sciences: Upcoming Marvel Covers Promote STEAM Fields” by Jason Slotkin

Source: NPR – 28 August 2016


“Bill Nye Lands Netflix Talk Show” by Laura Prudom

Source: Variety – 31 August 2016

“The Collider” (60 Minutes segment on the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson)



High School Juniors Invited to Apply for Student Member Position on the California State Board of Education



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