On Monday morning, January 23, 2012, I met with York County curriculum leaders to get their feedback about the Framework for K-12 Science Education and their perspective on the types of support needed to implement the vision for science education described in the Framework.
The York curriculum leaders assembled said that teachers in their districts who have attended the Dine and Discuss sessions report with pleasure that the Framework offers what they see as a focus on effective instruction. However, the group expressed concern that some educators are confused about the relationship of the Common Core State Standards to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This is an important issue that is address in the The December 19, 2011 post, “Are We Replacing the Common Core State Standards?”. They were quick to see that the Framework will make us think more broadly about science assessments. It is important to remember that any change in assessment is several years away. I will be sure to share more thinking about assessment over the next year.
The York curriculum leaders hope that Achieve and the Lead States will pay close attention to three issues. They hope that Achieve and the Lead States will:
- make strong and clear connections to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards;
- ensure that the expectations outlined in the NGSS are DOABLE in Maine classrooms;
- create a clear picture about the science and technology learning K-12 that will support ALL students to attain 21st century knowledge and skills, including critical thinking and problem-solving.
The York curriculum leaders hope that the Maine Department of Education and other organizations will offer professional development that will support elementary educators teach science and will support ALL science and technology educators to teach engineering K-12. They also hope the MDOE and other organizations will develop teacher leaders to support implementation of the Framework and NGSS. They identified the immediate need to increase understanding of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS among curriculum leaders and principals. Both principals and curriculum leaders are critical keys to achieve best practice in classrooms and can assist the MDOE in identifying useful tools for implementation.
My thanks to York group for a great conversation!