W.L. Valentine Elementary School

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Parent Night for Next Generation Science Standards


Parents of students in grades K-8 are invited to attend a presentation of California’s Next Generation Science Standards.  The presentation will explain how and why California’s standards have changed and how instruction and learning will differ from the way schools previously have taught science in the United States.  We hope you will join us for this important evening.

WHEN:    October 9, 2017

WHERE: Huntington Middle School Auditorium

TIME:      6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

In 2013, California adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which all school districts in the state are required to implement.  Standards describe what a student should know and be able to do at each grade level.

The NGSS describe a new set of standards based on research on how students learn best.  Teachers are expected to support learning that helps students think on their own, problem solve, communicate, and collaborate.   The NGSS emphasize critical thinking instead of rote memorization, require more “doing” science instead of just memorizing facts, and implement common scientific concepts that run through all scientific disciplines.  These concepts include, among others, “Cause and Effect,” “Structure and Function,” and “Energy and Matter.”  The standards also require science and engineering to be taught in every grade from kindergarten through 12th to build understanding and skills systematically year over year

To implement the NGSS in San Marino schools, the district is partnering with UCLA’s Center X Project for Science, a highly respected resource for professional development training.  Center X is providing the necessary professional development for teachers and administrators to offer a science program that enables our students not only to maintain but also to enhance their traditionally high performance in science.

As a result of state and federal law, all students in grades 5, 8, and one high school grade will be tested on a new California Science Test (CAST).  Students will take the new test, which includes videos and online simulations, on a computer.  The tests will require students to think more like scientists and engineers, rather than asking students to repeat information they have memorized.  The 5th grade tests will cover material from grades 3-5, and the 8th grade test will cover material from grades 6-8.  The new test will also assess students on concepts that span more than one scientific discipline.

Classroom instruction will change to facilitate a shift in the role of the teacher and students.  Students will learn to approach explanation and problem solving as scientists and engineers.  Teachers will facilitate each student’s ability to uncover science concepts through the practices of each scientific discipline.