COMET • Vol. 6, No. 31 – 18 November 2005


(1) UC, Berkeley Seeks Resource Center Director/Academic Coordinator (UC’s Teach-STEM Initiative)

Source: Teresa A. Harlan, Executive Assistant to the Dean of Physical Sciences, University of California, Berkeley (510-643-1212)

The University of California, Berkeley is seeking a full-time Resource Center Director/Academic Coordinator to establish a program designed to increase both the quantity and quality of K-12 science and mathematics teachers for California schools as part of the University of California Teach-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Initiative.

For a description of duties and responsibilities, qualifications, and salary range, please visit the above Web site.

(2) State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell Names Five Educators as California Teachers of the Year for 2006

Source: California Department of Education – 17 November 2005

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell named five extraordinary educators as California Teachers of the Year for 2006.  Of these five, O’Connell nominated one to compete for the National Teacher of the Year honor.  Also, for the second time in two years, one of the state winners is from a continuation high school.

“All 305,000 teachers in the state deserve praise for all their hard work this past year in helping our students make gains toward meeting their academic growth targets in nearly every subject and grade level,” said O’Connell.  “The choice was very difficult, but the five educators I am naming California Teachers of the Year exhibited such extraordinary joy in teaching that their students loved learning from them.  They set a wonderful example that I hope will draw more highly qualified teachers into this field.”

Diana Barnhart of San Luis Obispo teaches science at Los Osos Middle School, San Luis Coastal Unified School District, San Luis Obispo County. Denis Cruz of Fullerton serves as a literacy coach in Katherine Edwards Middle School, Whittier City Elementary School District, Los Angeles County.  Kenneth Dyar of Delano teaches physical education at Cecil Avenue Middle School, Delano Union Elementary School District, Kern County. Kelly Jean Hanock of Castaic teaches English-language arts at James Monroe High School, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County.  Shelbi J. Wilson of Colton teaches English and other subjects in the Teen Mother Program at Abraham Lincoln Continuation High School, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside County.

O’Connell is nominating Cruz to represent California in the National Teacher of the Year competition because of his broad experience in elementary and middle school levels.  He implemented a social skills program in response to incidences of aggressive behavior on campus.  The winner will be selected in the spring by a panel convened by the Council of Chief State School Officers.  All candidates for the National Teacher of the Year program will be honored at a White House ceremony.

“Denis Cruz’s passion for teaching was quite evident in his application,” added O’Connell.  “He said teaching is the ‘greatest profession on the planet.’  When he taught his first lesson, he described it as ‘magical.’  His motto is to ‘never, ever, give up’ on a student.  He believes his students are hisrewards for teaching.”

The California Teachers of the Year program began in 1972 to pay tribute to the state’s educators, the growing complexity of challenges that confront California’s schools, and the need to promote collaboration among teachers to meet those challenges.

The competition is open to educators who teach pre-kindergarten through grade twelve.  County offices of education nominate winners of their regional Teacher of the Year competition.  A state selection committee reviews the candidates’ applications and conducts site visits to evaluate the teachers’ rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, use of teaching methods, and other criteria. Following interviews held in Sacramento, the State Superintendent then selects the awardees.

This year’s winners will be honored at a dinner January 10, 2006 in Sacramento made possible by donations from corporate sponsors.  For more information about the California Teachers of the Year program and past winners, please visit


(1) Raytheon Takes on New Assignment: Helping Kids Make the Grade in Math and Science

Source: Raytheon Company – 10 November 2005

Last week the Raytheon Company announced a new program, MathMovesU, aimed at improving mathematics and science education among middle school-aged students in America.

Raytheon, a leader in defense and government electronics, space, information technology, technical services, and business and special mission aircraft, joins the ranks of companies such as General Electric, IBM, Toyota and Kellogg’s in introducing math and science education initiatives during the 2005 school year.

“A Raytheon survey of American middle schoolers found that most of them would rather clean their rooms, eat their vegetables, take out the garbage, and go to the dentist than sit down with their math homework,” said William H. Swanson, Raytheon Chairman and CEO.

“These are intelligent young students.  As adults, we have a responsibility to make math more interesting.  As business leaders we need to be concerned about our future competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

Raytheon’s national survey of students in grades 6 – 8 also found that these same students say they want to do better in math (67%) and that doing well in math is important to them (94%).  The vast majority of middle school students surveyed report that they would be more interested in math if they learned about celebrities (79%) or were shown how people in music, sports and video games use math in their jobs (81%).

“If we can help young students to understand that math can be their gateway to interesting careers by showing them that their heroes think math is important, then we’re a step closer to averting a potential future shortage of people qualified for jobs requiring science, engineering and technical training,” said Swanson.

Raytheon has partnered with skateboard legend Tony Hawk, soccer star Mia Hamm, basketball greats Bill Russell and Lisa Leslie, and BMX champ Dave Mirra to promote the MathMovesU program and demonstrate how math plays a role in “cool” careers.  On, students can work on real-world applications of math, such as calculating the degrees of turn Tony Hawk needs to complete a signature trick, or the average points per game scored by Lisa Leslie.

MathMovesU also highlights other “kid-cool” careers that rely on math, like concert tour manager, fashion designer, video game creator, roller coaster innovator, and ER doctor.

In addition to its Internet-based program, Raytheon is also providing help inside the classroom.  The company announced an annual $1 million grant program that will (a) provide grants to teachers and schools to support math education and (b) offer scholarships to middle and high school students.  (See below for more information on the grant program.)

Learn more about MathMovesU and its sponsors by visiting the following Web sites: http://www.mathmovesu.comhttp://www.mathcounts.org, and

(2) MathMovesU Grants for Middle/High School Students, Teachers (“Math Hero Awards”), and Schools

Source: Raytheon Company – 10 November 2005
URL (Student Award Application):
URL (Teacher Award Application):

(a) MathMovesU Grants for Middle/High School Students and Their Schools

Scholarship recipients will be selected on the basis of the applicant’s overall academic achievement, achievement in math, and an essay that clearly describes how interest, learning, and achievement in math can be enhanced.

Up to 100 awards of $1,000 each will be granted to recipients. Matching awards of $1,000 each will be granted to each recipient’s school or non-profit education association to be utilized for math-related programs. Students may reapply to the program each year they meet eligibility requirements. A recipient may receive an award no more than four times.

Awards to the student must be utilized at an accredited two- or four- year college or university or vocational-technical school. Recipients will be tracked on an annual basis to ensure they are aware of the scholarship funds available to them upon successful completion of high school. Scholarships may be applied toward college expenses including tuition, room and board, books, and fees. Awards are for undergraduate study only.

Preference will be given to students who have participated in the MathMovesU Challenges or on MathCounts Teams.

Interested students must complete the downloadable application and mail it along with a current, complete official transcript of grades to Scholarship America no later than February 15.


(b) MathMovesU Grants for Teachers and Schools: Math Hero Awards

Math Hero Awards will be given to teachers who are effective in promoting mathematics within a fun and challenging learning environment. Math Heroes exemplify an enthusiastic and creative approach to teaching math, often utilizing new and innovative ideas in working with their students.

Nominees must be full-time middle or high school mathematics teachers. Students, parents, colleagues, principals or volunteers may nominate teachers for these awards.

Finalists will be selected from among nominees on the basis of compelling testimony from nominators regarding the effective and creative ways the nominee works with students in teaching math. Recipients will be selected based on the finalists’ plans for using the grants to promote math and to make learning fun in their schools or in other math-related programs.

Up to three awards of $2,500 each will be granted to recipients in each of the eight target markets where Raytheon has a presence (AZ, CA, District of Columbia, FL, IN, KS, MA and TX). An additional eight awards of $2,500 each will be granted to recipients outside of Raytheon’s target markets.

A matching award of $2,500 will be granted to the school where each recipient is employed or another math-related non-profit organization chosen by the recipient.

Nominations must be made no later than February 15, 2006.  (Download the nomination form from the above Web site.) Selections will be made in April 2006.

(3) Secretary Spellings Announces Growth Model Pilot in an Address at the Chief State School Officers’ Annual Policy Forum in Richmond

Source: U.S. Department of Education (ED) – 18 November 2005

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced a pilot program where interested and qualified states can submit proposals for developing growth models that follow the principles of No Child Left Behind. As part of the pilot, the Department will approve no more than 10 high-quality growth models in 2005-06. Secretary Spellings made the special announcement during an address to the Council of Chief State School Officers’ ( Annual Policy Forum in Richmond, Virginia.

Secretary Spellings’ prepared remarks are available in full at the above ED Web site. Following are excerpts from these remarks, including her announcement about the growth model pilot program:

Since taking office in January, I’ve been traveling around the country talking with parents, educators and policymakers about how this law is working and what needs to work better. And wherever I go, I hear the same three questions: How can we do a better job assessing students with disabilities? What’s the best way to measure the progress of students new to the English language? And how can we reward schools for improving from year to year? I promised to work with you to address these issues in a sensible, workable way that makes raising student achievement our top priority.

When we spoke at Mount Vernon last April, I announced a common-sense approach for implementing No Child Left Behind based on the core principles of the law. And together, we’ve taken some important steps down that path…

*  Thirty-one states have signed up for developing modified achievement standards for students with disabilities who need additional time and intensive instruction to meet standards. Before the end of the year, we’ll be releasing a regulation and a tool kit to help states develop these assessments and identify the 2 percent of students who fit this description.

*  In addition, we convened a working group of researchers and educators to study how we can best measure the progress of students new to the English language.

*  We also aligned the timeline for paraprofessionals with the timeline for highly qualified teachers. We’ve pledged to work with states that are making a good-faith effort to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom, especially in lower-income communities where a good teacher can make all the difference.

*  And we’ve launched pilot programs with Chicago, Boston, New York City and Virginia to help more low-income students take advantage of free tutoring under No Child Left Behind

Many educators and policymakers have asked me about the possibility of using growth models to recognize the progress schools are making toward this goal. This summer my department convened a working group to explore how states could use growth models for state accountability plans under No Child Left Behind.

We met with experts, researchers and policymakers, including many of you who have used growth models as part of your state accountability systems for years. We discussed what’s required to implement a growth model and how they can show how schools and students are improving from year to year.

At the same time, we’re not just looking for any level of improvement. We’re working to meet specific goals within the next decade, as laid out in the law. A successful growth model under No Child Left Behind must put all students on track to be on grade level by 2014. That means when a student is behind, one year of progress for every year of instruction is not enough to close the gap. We will expect more. We must not–and I will not–back away from this important goal.

Today, I’m announcing a pilot program where interested and qualified states can submit proposals for developing growth models that follow the bright-line principles of No Child Left Behind. The Department will approve no more than 10 high-quality growth models as part of this pilot. I will be releasing a letter soon outlining the key elements that states must meet in submitting a growth model proposal to the Department. It goes without saying that you can’t measure growth without annual assessment data and states that haven’t had annual assessment for more than a year will have to wait to do so. And you can’t close the achievement gap unless you continue to break down that assessment data by student groups.

It’s no accident that states that have been annually assessing students and following these core principles the longest are getting the best results, and they’re also the ones that have now arrived at the point where they can consider growth models to meet the goals of No Child Left Behind. There is nothing inconsistent between this pilot and the bright lines of the law. A growth model is not a way around accountability standards. It’s a way for states that are already raising achievement and following the bright-line principles of the law to strengthen accountability.

Many of your states may not yet have the assessment systems or data systems to meet the requirements for the pilot. But you can still reward schools for making improvements by using an index model. Under No Child Left Behind, nine states currently use index models that give schools credit for improving student achievement as a way of holding them accountable…

We’re open to new ideas, but we’re not taking our eye off the ball. There are many different routes for states to take, but they all must begin with a commitment to annual assessment and disaggregation of data. And they all must lead to closing the achievement gap and every student reaching grade level by 2014. This is good policy for all students, and we must stick with it…

We all hear a lot of stories about why schools are missing Adequate Yearly Progress, but we don’t hear much about how thousands of other schools are making it and closing the achievement gap. We must work together to do a better job recognizing these schools and sharing their stories. We must hold them up as models for other schools to follow.

We have a lot more work to do, especially in our high schools where we’ve made no progress in 30 years…  About 80 percent of the fastest-growing jobs require at least some postsecondary education. Yet far too many students are leaving high school unprepared for college. A recent study from ACT found that less than half of high school students graduate ready for college-level math and science.

We’ve already seen what a difference higher standards and accountability have made for our younger students. Now we must extend those same principles to our high schools. That’s why President Bush and I are supporting high school reform that focuses on core subjects like reading, math and science–to help more students graduate ready for college or work…

We still have much to do, but we know the path forward. The bright lines of the law–annually assessing students, disaggregating data and closing the achievement gap–point the way.

(4) Policymakers’ Guide to Growth Models for School Accountability: How Do Accountability Models Differ?

Source: Council of Chief State School Officers – 16 November 2005

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is working to respond to the growing interest in the use of growth models for school accountability. While growth models have been used for decades in academic research and program evaluation, now a wide cross-section of policymakers at local, state, and national levels are inquiring about the potential for growth models to provide an alternative or useful addition to the accountability systems that each state is implementing under the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). To address the growing demand for this information, CCSSO is pleased to distribute a publication entitled Policymakers’ Guide to Growth Models for School Accountability: How Do Accountability Models Differ?

This paper, commissioned by the CCSSO Accountability Systems and Reporting State Collaborative, addresses many questions education leaders may have about the differences between status models and growth models. Both models used for school accountability are defined and described. Additionally, a type of status model (the improvement model) and a type of growth model (the value-added model) are discussed in the paper. The paper then goes on to provide more specific information about current research and practices regarding the different models.

To download this document, go to

(5) California Schools Chief Jack O’Connell Comments on Federal Plan to Allow Growth Model to Measure NCLB Progress

Source: California Department of Education

California has been using a growth model of accountability, the Academic Performance Index, since 1999.  Since taking office in 2003, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell has been working to convince the federal government to allow more flexibility on the option for states to use a growth model to measure improved student achievement.

In March 2004, O’Connell was joined by a bipartisan group of his counterparts from 15 states to urge then-U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige to allow states with strong accountability systems greater flexibility under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. (For more information, please go to “Fight for Changes to NCLB”:

O’Connell issued the following statement today:

“I am glad to see the federal government’s recognition of the validity of a growth model to measure improved student achievement. This long-anticipated change is critical in preserving the integrity and mission of NCLB. I see today’s announcement as a positive response to the conversations I have had with the federal government over the last several years on the need to allow states the option of using a growth model.

“While we are looking forward to receiving more specific information about the criteria the federal government will apply, California will attempt to take advantage of this new and welcome flexibility.

“However, it is critical that the federal government allow states to use a growth model that considers the net improvement of individual districts and schools, like the Academic Performance Index, which is more congruent with high academic standards and rigorous definitions of student proficiency than the status model currently mandated by NCLB. Just like the primary goal of NCLB, California’s accountability system was designed to change the culture of California schools by closing the achievement gap and improving student achievement for all students.

“I have been working with California Secretary for Education Alan Bersin and representatives from the U.S. Department of Education on ways to meld California’s system of high standards and accountability with the federal NCLB requirements. We will continue working together in light of today’s announcement to determine how to take advantage of this new flexibility in the best interest for California.”