COMET • Vol. 4, No. 28 – 27 October 2003


(1) 2003 NCLB Teacher Requirement Resource Guide (Draft) is Released


A draft version of the 2003 NCLB Teacher Requirement Resource Guide has been posted on the California Department of Education’s Web site.

Excerpt (URL:

What is the purpose of this NCLB Teacher Requirements Resource Guide?

This guide has been developed to clarify the federal requirements for the NCLB goal of providing all students with “highly qualified teachers” and to provide practical information for California school districts as they implement them. In general, the federal act requires that teachers:

– Have a bachelor’s degree

– Have state certification and

– Demonstrate subject area knowledge for each core subject they teach.

The guide is intended to provide information for principals, teachers, and district office personnel to help them determine which California teachers currently meet the federal requirements and what steps need to be taken to assist all California teachers in meeting the federal requirements. The steps for making this determination are presented in this guide, including options for demonstrating subject area knowledge in the core subject areas [e.g., HOUSSE]. In addition, for teachers who do not yet meet the federal requirements, resources are identified that may assist local educational agencies to ensure that they are in compliance by the end of the 2005-06 school year.

Comments and questions regarding this DRAFT October 23, 2003, NCLB Teacher Requirement Guide should be emailed to Penni Hansen <> or Robert Cervantes <> by 5:00 P.M. on Monday, November 10, 2003


It is expected that the final version of the 2003 NCLB Teacher Requirement Resource Guide will be available in mid-December.

Continue to check for the latest information on NCLB Teacher Requirements.

(2) Request for Applications–California Mathematics and Science Partnership

(CaMSP) Grant Program

Source of Text Below: Art Sussman (CSEAC)–


The California Department of Education has released information and application forms for the new California Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant Program. Unlike the national MSP grant program administered by the National Science Foundation, this MSP grant program serves only California schools. It does have many features that parallel the national MSP grants, such as the emphasis on substantive participation by a science, mathematics, and/or engineering department of an Institute of Higher Education (IHE).

Funding Description: The California MSP grant program seeks to establish partnerships to improve the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science.The focus is to create opportunities for enhanced and ongoing professional development for mathematics teachers in grades five through algebra and science teachers in grades four through eight.

Total Funding Available: $13,676,945

Recipient Funding Amount: Up to $1,000,000

Duration of Funding: 2 years

Eligibility: The essential partnership is between an eligible local educational agency (LEA) and eligible departments of an institution of higher education (IHE). County offices of education, individual schools, additional LEAs, IHEs, or other organizations concerned about mathematics and science education may also participate in the partnership.

The lead partner must be a high-need LEA. (The term “high-need LEA” refers to one that serves a student population where at least 40% of the students qualify for the National School Lunch Program.) The lead partner submits the application and accepts management and fiduciary responsibility for the partnership.

Due Date for Proposal: January 16, 2004

Letter of Intent: strongly encouraged, and due by November 14, 2003

Program questions:

Yvonne Evans, Mathematics,, (916) 323-5252

Kay Garcia, Mathematics,, (916) 323-5832

Phil Lafontaine, Science,, (916) 323-6189

(3) Literature for Science and Mathematics: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve


Literature for Science and Mathematics: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve is a collection of outstanding science- and mathematics-related literature for children and adolescents. The recommended titles reflect the quality and the complexity of the types of materials students should be reading at school and outside of class.

The California Department of Education (CDE) coordinated the development of Literature for Science and Mathematics with the assistance of science and mathematics teachers, library media teachers employed by schools and public libraries, administrators, curriculum planners, and parents. Thousands of selections were reviewed before the list was finalized. The titles represent various types of literature related to natural science and mathematics. These selected titles should not be viewed as an all-inclusive list. New and exciting selections of literature become available every day. CDE will periodically review and update this list to keep it current.

The purposes of the recommended literature list are to:

1.   Encourage students to read literature related to science and mathematics and to view such reading as a worthwhile activity.

2.   Help students choose quality literature to further their understanding of mathematics and the natural world around them.

3.   Aid parents in choosing quality literature to enhance and extend their child’s understanding of science and mathematics.

4.   Help school curriculum planners and teachers select and infuse literature into their science and mathematics classes.

5.   Promote the cross-curricular connection between English language arts curriculum and science and mathematics curricula.

(4) Statement of State Superintendent O’Connell on His Meeting with Governor-Elect Schwarzenegger


“Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and I had a good meeting this afternoon [23 October 2003]. Our discussion was intended simply as an opportunity to get reacquainted, and I appreciated the Governor-elect’s willingness to come to my office and spend some time with me. We met for about 20 minutes and in that time discussed a variety of topics. I went over with him what I believe are some key issues facing education today, including adequate funding, a preview of our upcoming API scores and our overall successful accountability system, and the ramifications to California of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. I was pleased with the tenor of our conversation and am particularly happy that the Governor-elect reiterated his commitment to protecting our state’s 6.1 million schoolchildren by ensuring that the budget for education remains as whole as possible.

(5) State Superintendent O’Connell Announces Nearly All California Schools Improved Academically Last Year


On 24 October 2003, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell released the 2002-03 Academic Performance Index (API) Growth reports showing that 90 percent of California’s public schools improved their scores, and that 78 percent of schools met their academic performance targets–a 26-point gain from 2002.

“This is terrific news,” said O’Connell. “I am very proud of our entire education community and am encouraged by the outstanding academic progress our schools are making. These scores show that when given clear standards, even if they are rigorous, our students can and will learn the curriculum.”

The 2002-03 API Growth report contains the results for more than 6,400 California public schools and reflects the schools’ performances on student assessments that are a part of the California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program plus results from the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). This API Growth report marks the fourth year of the completion of an API reporting cycle.

The 2002-03 API Growth reports are available on the California Department of Education’s Web site at:

The API is the cornerstone of the statewide accountability system for California public schools, established through the Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) in 1999. The API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1000. The 2002 results established the current baseline and academic growth targets for each school’s academic performance. A school’s annual growth target is set at 5 percent of the difference between the school’s base API and the statewide performance target of 800.

Each school’s 2002-03 API Growth results were calculated based on tests given in spring 2002 and spring 2003 as part STAR program. The same information is included for each numerically significant ethnic and socio-economically disadvantaged subgroup at the school. This is the first year that the API growth results have the majority of the weight on tests specifically geared toward California’s high standards. Eighty percent of the API for elementary and middle schools rests on the California Standards Tests (CST); while almost 90 percent of the API for high schools rests on the standards tests and the CAHSEE.

Specifically, the API includes the CST English Language Arts, as well as the CST Mathematics results for grades 2-11, the CST Social Science results for grades 10-11, and the CAHSEE results. The remainder of the weight continues to be placed on the national, standardized norm-referenced California Achievement Test, Sixth Edition Survey (CAT/6) (replacing the SAT 9). By placing limited weight on the norm-referenced test, it is then possible to focus on testing to California’s high standards while maintaining the ability to benchmark our students against the rest of the nation’s school children.

Over the next few years, the API will continue to add indicators, including the standards-based Science tests as well as the California Alternate Performance Assessment. Eventually, the API will include graduation and attendance rates.

Go to: for more information on indicator weights (pg. 10) and the future performance indicators (pg. 3).

To meet the API growth target, a school must meet its 5 percent schoolwide target and each numerically significant student subgroup at the school must improve at least 80 percent of the schoolwide target. This year 78 percent of schools met both the schoolwide and subgroup targets–more than a 25-point gain over last year when 52 percent of the schools met targets.

While this year’s overall results are encouraging, especially in the elementary grades, O’Connell stressed that more work needs to be done to improve the scores of the state’s middle schools and high schools. About 26 percent of elementary schools were at or above the state’s performance target of 800, whereas only 14 percent of middle schools and 7 percent of high schools reached that level.

“It is clear that the best performance came from the lower grades where statewide reforms, such as class size reduction, have been in effect for the past several years,” said O’Connell. “We admittedly have a long way to go in realizing comparable gains from our high school students. While they are clearly moving in the right direction, we need to explore ways to extend our successful elementary reform efforts to the secondary level.”

High schools, however, did post a solid 24-point gain from their 2002 Base API and have reached a median API score of 668.

About 1,176 schools did not receive 2002-03 Growth APIs for a variety of reasons. Some school districts are still correcting demographic information through the STAR program. As a result, 2002-03 Growth APIs for about 900 schools will not be available until December.

The API is the centerpiece of the statewide accountability system in California public education. The accountability of California schools and school districts is also reported in Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports. These reports are provided as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and represent the academic status of a school or school district at one point in time each year. Phase I of AYP reporting took place in August 2003, Phase II will be released mid November, and the final reports will be released in January.


Science Education Summit Scheduled for March 16, 2004

Source: “NSTA [National Scienc e Teachers Association] Express” – 6 October 2003


The Science Education Summit has been scheduled for March 16, 2004, as part of the Excellence in Science, Technology, and Math Education (ESTME) Week, a nationwide celebration of math and science education taking place March 15-20, 2004.

The Science Education Summit is a high-profile day of speakers and activities that will kick off the science portion of the Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Initiative. The Initiative focuses on achieving three interdependent goals: engaging the public in recognizing the need for better mathematics and science education for every child in our nation’s schools; initiating a campaign to recruit, prepare, train, and retain teachers with strong backgrounds in mathematics and science; and developing a research base to improve our knowledge of what boosts student learning in mathematics and science.

The activities during ESTME Week serves as an opportunity for the nation’s schools to focus on math and science education. The week will include activities for students, parents, and teachers presented by participating organizations. Scientists, engineers, and mathematicians will be encouraged to visit K-12 classrooms, and many federal agencies, private corporations, and members of the scientific community are planning activities nationwide. Watch for more information on the Science Education Summit and ESTME Week in future issues of NSTA Express.