Throughout the State, Maine teachers are digging into the details of A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The Bonney Eagle High School Science Department
invited me to a meeting to answer questions and offer suggestions that will help them prepare for the anticipated December 2012 completion of the Next Generation Science Standards. I also joined the Maine Environmental Education Association for a Framework meeting and joined the middle school and high school science faculty at SAD 17 (Oxford Hills) for a half-day in-service program. I have discussed plans for in-service meetings at Poland Springs, the Sebago Education Alliance, AOS 93, and return trip to SAD 17. On Friday afternoon I joined the Science Team at Wells-Ogunquit School District for their in-service meeting. All of the teachers at these meetings had a solid understanding of the Framework for K-12 Science Education. They had either attended one of the regional Framework Dine and Discuss Sessions, or had listened to the Framework webinar or read the document. I am encouraged by interest in the State related to the Framework and the NGSS. The willingness to get informed reflects the professionalism of Maine teachers.
Educators in Maine seem most interested in focusing on the Scientific and Engineering Practices and the Core Ideas related to Engineering and Technology. This makes sense. These parts of the Framework reflect aspects of science teaching and learning that are different from current practice. We can build a shared understanding of the practices and core ideas for technology and engineering by referencing the Framework and other resources available through NSTA. I am using Harold Pratt’s The NSTA Readers Guide to A Framework for K-12 Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas as a template for designing my in-service programming. Over the next few weeks I will make the in-service agendas, handouts and readings available on the SciTech Framework website. I am also talking with USM’s Professional Development Center to coordinate a series of PD sessions that will advance our understanding of the Framework, AND….the Maine Science Teachers Association has discussed the possibility of a follow-up to the series of statewide Dine and Discuss sessions. These coordinated efforts will support common understanding of the vision in A Framework for K-12 Science Education and improve our understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards.
Beyond gaining a common understanding of the vision described in A Framework for K=12 Science Education we must understand the common set of students outcomes supported by Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics and the Framework (and NGSS). Last month I saw a draft of this analysis, the final product should be completed soon. The graphic I saw highlighted the common student outcomes supported by these three disciplines. Together our work in science, mathematics, and ELA provides coordinated support to increase students’ ability to problem-solve and reason, make evidence-based arguments, and use models to predict and describe. I will share this work as soon as it is publicly available.
What is next? Sometime in April Achieve will be releasing a draft of the Next Generation Science Standards for public review. Our participation as individuals and organizations is important. Keep reading the Framework and plan now to get together and give input on the draft.
I hope to see many of you at Colby College on March 20, 2012 for the 2012 STEM Summit!