COMET • Vol. 18, No. 01 – 12 January 2017



California K-12 Computer Science Standards Development Timeline and Advisory Committee Application to Be Presented at Today’s State Board of Education Meeting

URL (Agenda): 

Agenda Item 14 for the January 2017 meeting of the California State Board of Education (SBE) includes a recommendation by the California Department of Education (CDE) that the SBE “approve the Schedule of Significant Events and the Computer Science Standards Advisory Committee (CSSAC) application form for the development of the Computer Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA Computer Science Standards), 2018, as recommended by the [Instructional Quality Commission (IQC)].”

This item is expected to be heard around 8:30 a.m. when the SBE meeting commences today (January 12). Live streaming video is available at

For today’s SBE meeting, Stephanie Gregson, Director of CDE’s Curriculum Frameworks & Instructional Resources Division, prepared a PPT presentation (see Attachment 1 of that includes a slide containing a clear, comprehensive overview of the “schedule of significant events” for the development of the CA Computer Science Standards (CA CSS). The process was initiated in September 2014 when Governor Brown signed AB 1539 into law. This bill required that the IQC consider developing and recommending CA Computer Science Standards to the SBE on or before 31 July 2019. The proposed timeline targets September 2018 for SBE action on IQC’s recommended CA CSS.

The CA CSS will be developed “by a group of computer science experts” appointed by the SBE in July 2017 after recruitment from January through March. Members of the Computer Science Standards Advisory Committee (CSSAC), which will meet four times (2-day meetings) between August and November 2017, are to include K-12 computer science teachers, STEM administrators (school site, district, county office of education), university computer science professors, and business and industry representatives. At least half of the members are to be K-12 computer science teachers. The proposed application is contained in Attachment 2 of (.doc file download).

The appointment of the CSSAC by the SBE will coincide with SBE’s receipt of the report of CDE Focus Groups, which met during November 2016 to provide “input on the goals of K–12 computer science education; what content should be covered in K–12 computer science education; along with suggestions on the structure, scope, and sequence of topics which would be covered in computer science instruction at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.”

In addition to the input of the Focus Groups and the CSSAC members, “outreach by the CDE staff includes attendance at the Governors for Computer Science meeting on December 11 and 12, 2016, in Phoenix, AZ and meeting with experts in the industry, including TechNet, Apple and CompTIA. This outreach provides the opportunity to further the knowledge on how to best support the implementation of Computer Science Standards for all students in California.”
_________________________ Chief Academic Officer to Address State Board of Education on the K-12 Computer Science Framework

URL (Agenda):
URL (Framework): 

Agenda Item 15 of today’s State Board of Education agenda is a presentation from Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer or, on the “K-12 Computer Science Framework.” Work on this framework, which was released in 2016, was led by the following organizations in partnership with states and districts: Association for Computing Machinery,, Computer Science Teachers Association, Cyber Innovation Center, and the National Math and Science Initiative. See for more information.

The following links accompany the agenda item as useful background for the presentation:

– A Vision for K–12 Computer Science: and

– Defining Computer Science:

– K-12 Computer Science Framework (2-page overview):

– K-12 Computer Science Framework (full):

Live streaming video of this presentation is available at

Related information:

Free Online Kit for Family Code Night and Computer Science Professional Development

During yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting, Board member Trish Williams provided computer science education updates. Among other partnerships, she described a free Family Code Night kit for grades K-5:

( ”Family Code Night is a whole-school family event that dramatically ignites coding and computer science learning at any elementary school, and in any family. The program uniquely engages children K-5 and their parents or guardians in the delightful experience of doing their first hour of computer programming together, in an early evening special school program. Family participation is a simple but profound innovation in this event – it changes the trajectory of a child’s computer-science learning, and the family’s appreciation and support for that learning.”

Williams mentioned that a principal was so excited about this that he and CDE worked together and arranged to have the kit emailed to every elementary school principal in California. Visit to download your free Family Code Night event kit.

Williams also promoted’s new Computer Science Discoveries course that will be rolling out this summer, noting that is offering free professional development for teachers wishing to teach Discoveries ( or the Computer Science Principles AP course ( and

Science Teacher and Researcher Program (STAR)

Contact: Sarah Coyle –

Prospective K-12 STEM teachers enrolled at any California State University campus (CSU) are eligible to apply for the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program. STAR is a 9-week paid summer research experience at a national, private, or university lab setting and includes weekly education workshops on inquiry-based instruction aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards.

Applications are due by January 30. For more information, visit

“California Students Chosen As Semifinalists for Prestigious Science Award: Complete List” by Bea Karnes

Source: Newark Patch – 6 January 2017

The roster of 300 semifinalists has been announced in the Regeneron 2017 Science Talent Search. Formerly sponsored by Intel, it is one of the most prestigious science competitions for high school students in the country. More than 1,700 [high school seniors] submitted their projects for this year’s competition.

Later this month, 40 finalists will be chosen for all-expense paid trips to Washington, D.C., to compete for $1.8 million in scholarships. The top prize is $250,000.

Former champions have gone on to win the Nobel Prize and the National Medal of Science.

This year’s semifinalists include 40 students from California. [Visit for the complete list of California’s semifinalists and their project titles. The students are from high schools in Cupertino, Diamond Bar, Fremont, Irvine, Las Flores, North Hollywood, Oakland, Orinda, Palo Alto, San Diego, San Jose, and Santa Cruz.]

The finalists will be announced on January 24. The competition in Washington, D.C. will be held March 9-15.

Stars and Producers of “Hidden Figures” Surprise 10,000 Middle and High School Girls in a Movie Screening in Los Angeles on Tuesday

Ten thousand girlsfrom Los Angeles middle and high schools who are members of Girls Build LA ( convened at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center on Tuesday (1.10.2017) for a special screening of the movie “Hidden Figures” (, based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly ( The book and screen adaptation document the story of three female African American mathematicians who were part of the “human computers” team at NASA’s Langley Research Center in the early days of the space program.

NBC4 in Los Angeles reports that the event was headlined by film stars Taraji P. Henson (who played Katherine G. Johnson, who was asked by astronaut John Glenn to verify the computer’s calculations of the flight trajectory for his 1962 mission), Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe, as well as producer/song writer Pharrell Williams and producer Peter Chernin (see for event coverage).

Sign up Now to be Informed of Registration Opportunity for NGSS Rollout #4

Source: California Science Teachers Association

The next iteration of the NGSS Rollout series of professional learning events written and produced by a collaboration between the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance, and California Science Teachers Association will focus primarily on the new Science Curriculum Framework (

The 2-day events will be held between June and December 2017 throughout the state. Visit for specific dates and locations.

To be notified when registration opens in May, complete a short survey located at

Tom Torlakson Highlights Next Generation Science Standards to Better Prepare Students for College and Careers

Source: California Department of Education

Last Friday (1/5/2017), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson praised the innovative science instruction taking place at Edna Brewer Middle School in the Oakland Unified School District-—instruction that he hopes will be coming to all of California’s public schools as a result of recent efforts to dramatically enhance and modernize science education.

“As a former science teacher, I couldn’t be more excited by the learning I saw today in Jeri Johnstone’s eighth grade integrated science class,” Torlakson said. “It’s hands-on, interactive, and collaborative. Students and teachers ask lots of questions and work like scientists. These are the kinds of skills needed for success in high school, college and the modern workplace.”

The Oakland Unified School District is one of eight school districts and two charter school management organizations participating in the early implementation of California’s next Generation Science Standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in 2013. Edna Brewer Middle School has been teaching to California’s Next Generation Science Standards for the past four years.

“I want to thank all the innovative, creative, and dedicated science teachers in California for working to improve science education. It’s a huge effort, but it will be well worth it when we see students who are thinking like scientistsand fully engaged in their lessons,” Torlakson said.

Last November, the SBE approved a new California Science Framework to guide teachers, administrators and textbook publishers in teaching the new standards that emphasize scientific practices, thinking and reasoning. The California Department of Education (CDE) is preparing a new online science assessment to reflect the new standards and framework. A pilot test will take place this spring in grades five, eight and in one high school grade.

“It’s no exaggeration to say the health of our entire state—our economy, our high-tech companies, our research laboratories, our environment—is dependent on our schools to produce the scientists and technology leaders of the future along with a knowledgeable citizenry,” Torlakson said. “I saw that future today at Edna Brewer Middle School, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction of science education in California.”

(Some photos taken during Supt. Torlakson’s visit to Edna Brewer Middle School are available on the California Department of Education’s Twitter feed:

Related article: 

California Requests Hearing on Double [Science] Testing Waiver Request

Source: California Science Teacher Association
URL (Petition to U.S. Department of Education): 


CSET Field Testing Opportunities for Prospective Science Teachers


The Evaluation Systems group of Pearson is field testing items for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program.

Eligibility Criteria: Individuals pursuing a California science teaching credential who have recently taken or are currently preparing to take one or more CSET: Science examination (specifically Subtest III for Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Science, and/or Physics)

Compensation: For each field test form completed (maximum of 2), a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees will be provided.

Details: Each field test form consists of a set of multiple-choice questions and three to four constructed-response (essay) items. The field test is administered during a 75-minute test session, of which approximately 55 minutes are provided to respond to the items. Field test results will be analyzed as group data only, and performance will be kept confidential. Score information will not be provided to participants, and performance on a field test will not affect a candidate’s certification status.

If interested, please visit to schedule a time to take the test(s). Contact Evaluation Systems at with any questions.

Single Subject Mathematics and Science Teachers are Sought to Score the Redeveloped CalTPA Pilot

Source: PSD E-News – 6 January 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing is seeking California educators who meet established assessor qualifications (e.g., hold a Single Subject Teaching Credential in mathematics or science and have TK-12 teaching experience) to score submissions for the California Teaching Performance Assessment (CalTPA) pilot test in April 2017. In addition to math and science, assessors are needed in Agriculture, Art, Business, English, English Language Development, Health, History/Social Science, Home Economics, Industrial and Technology Education, Music, Physical Education, and World Languages. For more information about CalTPA scoring, assessor qualifications, and to apply to score, please visit

Reminder: Additional Proposals Requested for Four-Year Integrated Teacher Preparation Programs

Source: PSD E-News – 6 January 2017 

Grant awards of up to $250,000 are available to degree-granting postsecondary institutions for the purpose of developing a new four-year integrated teacher preparation program or adapting an existing five-year integrated program to a four-year integrated program leading to a baccalaureate degree and a teaching credential (priority areas: mathematics, science, bilingual education, education specialist). Approximately $2 million of the $10 million set aside in the 2016-17 budget remains to be awarded in this second round of funding. The Request for Proposals for this program and newly posted FAQs are available on the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s website at

Proposals are due by Thursday, 2 February 2017.

National Conference on Science Education Will be held in Los Angeles this Spring

The 2017 National Conference on Science Education is hosted by the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) and will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 30-April 2.

A comprehensive overview of the conference is now available at The conference features over 1200 sessions and includes “Science in the Community” events, a networking session and a share-a-thon for middle grades science educators, a variety of featured presentations from leaders in science education, and much more.

The keynote speaker is Andy Weir, author of The Martian. He is a “lifelong space nerd and devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He will share how he went from computer programmer to bestselling author. Spoiler: He did it mostly by mistake. Andy first began his career as a programmer for a national laboratory at age 15 and has been working as a software engineer ever since” (p. 3).

The early-bird registration deadline is February 3. Visit for more information.

Related article: 

“Embark on Your STEM Odyssey in LA at #NSTA17”

Source: Lauren Jonas, NSTA Assistant Executive Director – 4 January 2017


Mathematics Symposium for K-12 Teachers and Administrators will be Held on the Central Coast in March

Peg Cagle keynotes this year’s California Mathematics Council (CMC) Central Section Symposium, which will be held on March 10-11. The first day of the symposium is designed for administrators and lead teachers and will be held at the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. Sessions on March 11 are designed for a general audience of K-12 mathematics teachers and will be held at Arroyo Grande High School.

More information about the symposium, which has as its theme “Beyond Buzzwords—Digging Deeper,” will be available on the CMC-Central website: The schedule and session resources for the 2016 symposium can be accessed at  


Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Education Nominee, Betsy DeVos, Postponed to 17 January 2017

The Senate confirmation hearing for President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was postponed from January 11 until next Tuesday. The hearing will now be held at 2:00 p.m. PT on 17 January 2017. Live video will be available at

Two new members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) are Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Senator-elect Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Visit for the names of all members of this committee.

An interview of DeVos in the Spring 2013 issue of Philanthropy magazine sheds light on “her work in educational reform generally, and school choice specifically.” See

Last Meeting of President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

Source: Office of Science and Technology Policy 

The last meeting of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) for the Obama Administration was held on 6 January 2017. A webcast of the meeting can be found at Group photos of the PCAST members with the president at this meeting are included in the presentation file with a list of the group’s accomplishments since 2009:

PCAST member Jim Gates highlighted four reports that PCAST produced on STEM education:“Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future” (September 2010]; “Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics” (February 2012); “Report to the President on Education Technology – Higher Education” (December 2013); and “Report to the President on Information Technology for Targeting Job-Skills Training and Matching Talent to Jobs” (September 2014).

Gates stated, ”I think probably for me the high point that I would like the public as well as our PCAST members to take away is that the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was passed in December of [2015], was heavily impacted by our discussions of STEM. There are parts of that report, particularly section 4107, where you will find ideas that were in our reports… This is a bipartisan victory for PCAST recommendations which I find just extraordinary as an accomplishment.

“The other thing I would tell you is I would point back to the involvement and feedback of teachers. One of the things that was passed in there was support for a concept that came from teachers themselves. This is the STEM Master Teacher Corps, a state-led effort, and this was called out to PCAST by the teachers who had been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, so this is a closed loop where a group of citizens spoke to the government and impacted the law.”

STEM for All Video Showcase 2017

Source: Joni Falk – 

Joni Falk, co-director of the Centerfor School Reform at TERC, invites you to present at the third interactive, online STEM for All Video showcase, which will take place on May 15-22, 2017:

Register now to be a presenter: (Deadline: February 15)

Share your cutting edge work by creating a 3-minute video and then discussing it with your colleagues, stakeholders and the public during a week-long interactive event.

Last year’s online video showcase attracted tens of thousands of participants. It allowed presenters to learn about the current work being conducted by colleagues funded in different programs at NSF and beyond.

Participants also reported reaching new people interested in taking part in or adapting their project and utilizing project resources, as well as gathering new ideas, contacts, resources, and potential future collaborations.

This year’s theme is “Research and Design for Impact.” Your video should describe the need that inspired your project, illustrate your intervention or innovation, and discuss your project’s impact. If your project is newly funded, describe the potential that you see for impact and how you intend to measure it. Visit for more information.

This event is facilitated by TERC, in collaboration with six NSF funded resource centers: MSPnet, CADRE, CIRCL, CAISE, STELAR, and CS for All Teachers resource centers. It is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Email with any questions.

“Most Computer Science Majors in the U.S. are Men — Not So at Harvey Mudd” by Rosanna Xia

Source: Los Angeles Times – 4 January 2017

…Nationwide, according to the Computing Research Assn., more than 84% of undergraduates who major in computer science are men.

Not so at Harvey Mudd, where more than half — 55% — of the latest class of computer science graduates were women, compared to roughly 10% a decade ago.

Programming is so popular now in this science and engineering corner of the Claremont Colleges that its professors are campus celebrities and incoming freshmen are excited for classes before ever setting foot on campus.

The school’s breakthrough came when the department’s professors realized that in order to change computer science’s reputation, they had to change how it was taught…

Harvey Mudd’s revamped curriculum has been adopted by other schools, including Northwestern and UC Riverside, which are trying to broaden the subject’s appeal…

Using student feedback, observations from class and a bit of creative social psychology, professors identified three key reasons female students did not major in computer science: They didn’t think they would be good at it, they couldn’t imagine fitting into the culture and they just didn’t think it was interesting…

Female students tended to think more about their careers in terms of its social relevance, and how their work could help the world, [Ran] Libeskind-Hadas [(a computer science professor who led Harvey Mudd’s curriculum redesign)] said. Many male students who pursued computer science, he found, were more passionate about building personal projects and ideas…

“Building confidence and a sense of belonging and a sense of community among these women makes such a huge difference,” [said Harvey Mudd president Maria Klawe, a computer scientist]. “Once you change the myths and the cultural beliefs about computer science, that has a lot of momentum”…

[For more on how Harvey Mudd facilitates the success of female students in computer science courses,visit


STEM Snippets

“Stephen Hawking 75th Birthday: 10 Facts about the World-Renowned Theoretical Physicist”

Source: International Business Times – 8 January 2017
URL (Stephen Hawking 75th Birthday Conference):
URL (Einstein/Hawking Postage Stamps):

”11 Surprising Predictions for 2017 From Some of The Biggest Names In Science” by David Freeman

Source: NBC News – 2016: Year in Review – 29 December 2016

“5 Education Stories to Watch in 2017” by Claudio Sanchez

Source: NPR – 3 January 2017

“Donald Trump and K-12 Education: Five Things to Watch in 2017” by Alyson Klein

Source: Education Week – 3 January 2017

“Education Issues to Watch in 2017 – And Predictions of What to Expect” by John Fensterwald

Source: EdSource – 2 January 2017

NASA Professional Development 1-Hour Webinars for January-March 2017


Hold the Date — 2017 California STEM Symposium: December 10-11 in San Francisco 

URL (for updates):

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

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