Marking progress since September and planning for next steps

Last week I met with members of Maine’s State Leadership Team for the Next Generation Science Standards at a national conference to increase capacity to improve science education. In preparation for the conference, I reflected on what we have done since the kick-off of A Framework for K-12 Science Education Standards in September of 2011. Are you ready?…. Since September we have:

  • hosted a statewide kick-off announcing Maine’s participation as a Lead State with Achieve in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS);
  • developed the SciTech Framework Blog which documents the story of Maine’s implementation of the Framework and Next Generation Science Standards and houses resources for the Framework and NGSS.  This blog already has 157 followers and includes guest blogging entries from Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Island Institute, Capital Area Technical Center that make connections between the work of these organizations to the vision of the Framework;
  • produced a 60-minute webinar introducing the Framework/NGSS; this  webinar is housed on SciTech Framework Blog;
  • presented a keynote plenary workshop at the Fall 2011 Maine Science Teachers Association;
  • presented a break-out session at the Maine Principal’s Association Fall 2011 conference;
  • Engaged more than 300 individuals in 15 separate two and a half hour regional Dine and Discuss Workshops on the Framework and NGSS.  These workshops were offered in collaboration with the Maine Science Teachers Association and the Maine Department of Education;
  • participated in meetings with York County Curriculum Leaders;
  • participated in meetings with teachers at SAD 17, SAD 6, and Biddeford;
  • presented at the “Gulf of Maine Research Institute Unconference” in December 2011;
  • presented to the State Board of Education; and
  • engaged more than 600 people in conversations about the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Maine’s participation in the Building Capacity for State Science Education Conference was made possible by the support of Texas Instruments and other corporations and foundations including Burroughs Wellcome, SAS, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Institute for Science Education, and Keenan Fellow Program.  These organization enabled 41 states and the District of Columbia to convene five-member teams for two days.  In total there were 228 participants at the meeting. Over the two days our team collected information from national science education experts and began to outline a strategic plan for the implementation of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards in Maine. This spring I will convene Maine’s full leadership team to continue this work.

Building Capacity for State Science Education Meeting, Maine Team (Bob Kuech, Sarah Kirn, Chris Howell, and Anne Gauthier)

The five Maine team members present at the conference were Anne Gauthier (Texas Instruments, formerly National Semiconductor), Chris Howell (President of the Maine Curriculum Leader and Principal of Windham High School, Bob Kuech (University of Southern Maine, Science Education Faculty), Sarah Kirn (Director of Vital Signs at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute) and myself. During the conference, this group confirmed an important idea: The implementation of the Framework and Next Generation are an extension and a reinforcement of the Common Core State Standards and support proficiency-based learning.  It is clear that implementation of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards will more clearly guide the development of scientific literacy in Maine’s students and further support an increase in Maine students’ ability to reason, problem solve, develop arguments supported by evidence, and to use models to predict and explain phenomenon.  This knowledge base and skill set will support innovation, public engagement, and economic vitality in Maine.

Keep reading the Framework!  At the Building Capacity for State Science Education meeting, Stephen Pruitt announced that Achieve is planning for a public release and request for feedback on a draft of the Next Generation Science Standards in April 2012.

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