Tuesday, May 15, 2018

High School Science News

I see that's there's a state science exam,WCAS, coming up for high school.  Just to note, your child does NOT have to take this test.  Right now, all kids that do take it are doing is piloting it for the State.

Federal law requires science testing but it does not require linkage to graduation. However, Washington State Board of Education has chosen to do so.

Taking and passing the WCAS will be a high school graduation requirement for the class of 2021 and beyond.  But that doesn't mean your child has to take it at all for now.

Also, just announced by the district's Science department:
It is our pleasure to announce that Seattle Public Schools K-12 Science has been approved for curriculum adoption. We are long overdue for an adoption (20+ years!) and are looking forward to begin this process with you.
The science adoption cycle will begin immediately for elementary and middle school (Spring 2018). Because of the high level of content expertise at the high school level and the currently available curricula, high school adoption proceedings will begin this coming fall, 2018. We look forward to hearing your input for this upcoming curriculum adoption.
 A general overview of the process is listed below:
  • Fall 2018:
 - Seek input from teachers and families regarding what are the most important considerations for high school science as we begin the adoption process - Form the High School Adoption committee with membership from teachers (including ELL, SPED and advanced learning), families, community scientists and engineers, and representatives from higher education. The committee must represent the diversity of the district
- Seek approval from the district’s Instructional Materials Committee 

- Form content-area committees of teachers to seek input regarding types of materials that will align with our State standards
- Send out a Request for Information to vendors regarding potential instructional materials candidates.

  • Winter and Spring 2019
- Prepare criteria for instructional materials adoption review
 - Review adoption materials using the criteria
- Regional public viewing of narrowed list of materials to seek input
- Solicit teachers for field test

  • Fall 2019
- Field test from narrowed list
  • Winter 2020
-Adoption Committee reviews all data from public viewing and field test and makes recommendations
-Instructional Materials Committee reviews recommendation and forwards to the Superintendent

  • Spring 2020
- Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction Policy Committee of Board reviews final choices for action by Board
- Board Intro
- Board Action

  • Fall 2020
- Implementation and PD

Mary Margaret Welch
Science Program Manager


D.M. said...

Doesn't it seem weird that they did that whole science realignment without knowing anything about what curriculum they were going to use? I feel like the cart went before the horse.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

If you are concerned about the Amplify curriculum, where they eliminate teachers actually teaching science in favor of letting the kids watch 20 minutes of videos every day about science, WRITE THE BOARD!

I have heard from middle school science teachers that they hate Amplify. I have heard from middle school students that the videos are boring, the assessment questions are repetitive, and that kids that enter middle school liking science now detest it.

I have heard from board members that the admin is telling them nothing but positive things about Amplify. The admin is painting a very rosy picture to the school board. As the school board is ultimately in charge of approving new curriculum, it is vital that they hear from actual students and teacher about their actual feelings about this. Ask your kids about their experiences. Ask your kids' teachers. Then WRITE THE BOARD!

-NW Mom

Unknown said...

Everything NW Mom said times two. Please make your voices heard. Science needs a human teacher.

Phinney mom

Anonymous said...

Any news on the recent dress code debacle at Garfield where dozens of GIRLS were pulled out of class and sent to the office? Apparently on the same warm day, numerous boys were playing shirtless on the field with not a word said. Girls who didn't have extra clothes at school were coerced into buying garments from the student store before they could return to class, or risk suspension per Teflon Teddy.

open ears

Outsider said...

On the plus side, use of Amplify in SPS lowers the bar to home schooling.

Did anyone ask why it's being used? Was someone in the central office "influenced" by the vendor? Or do they have a shortage of qualified science teachers? If the latter, why might that be? Writing the board might not help if there is some unstated reason why Amplify is being adopted.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they were trying to balance discipline numbers before year's end. Snark aside, we're glad our school is somewhat relaxed when it comes to dress code. I can completely relate to the parent who commented on the limited options for girls' clothing. Stores generally stock short shorts or nothing. Being coerced into buying spirit wear? What the?

Sigh. Garfield.

Anonymous said...

It has been getting harder and harder to find appropriately demure work clothing for a while as well. In many workplaces sleeves are required, not just straps as shoulders are considered openly provocative in some cultures, and knees and toes also must remain covered. Many workplaces do not allow any logoed clothing except that of the company logo. Many also have outright uniforms, which is a nice break from clothing selection. SPS gives students quite a lot of latitude, really.

Yes, there are more and more reasons to leave SPS. Just about any parent can do better than Amplify when homeschooling. Engaging science lab classes WERE a reason to stay with the public schools.


Anonymous said...

I have also heard from middle-school science teachers that they are very worried about the possibility that Amplify will become the new curriculum. Kids need to have experiential learning in their science classes!! You wouldn't expect them to learn to play the violin by watching a simulation - they can't learn science that way, either.

The deadline to apply to be on the selection committee for the elementary and middle school science curricula is Tuesday, May 29 at 9 am. The first committee meeting is on June 9, so it is important to make our voices heard at the June 6 Board Meeting.

Concerned Scientist

Anonymous said...

According to what the company says about their curriculum, students are on a device approximately 75% or more of the time and from what I've heard there are almost no real science labs. There seems to be simulations and nice graphics. Lots of reading about science, and a very few activities and/or labs. Yes, it is aligned to the new standards-however most of us have already aligned our old curriculum to the standards so I'm not sure what the advantages are.

As a middle school science teacher I don't think having students use a computer 75% of the time is the best way to learn science in the middle school or really---ever. I prefer to reverse the numbers, 75% of labs and/or activities and 25% reading and/or notes.

Amplify seems like a way to do away with teachers altogether or at least to do away with science teachers. It also seems like a way for the district to keep track of what and when things are taught because all the data goes back to the company. I would also wonder how my struggling students and my high achieving students would do with this curriculum. From my 20 plus years of teaching science, I would say "Not well".

Anonymous said...

I agree! My husband,a high school chemistry teacher in Renton, has looked at this curriculum and has opposed its use since their district piloted it for their middle schools. He thinks it’s used as an excuse to hire teachers who either have no experience with science education or simply to be lazy. Teaching is an art that requires hours of preparation to capture the interest of your students and encourage them to love the subject as much as you do. Or, at the very least, be educated consumers of science. Plopping kids in front of a computer is as bad as learning science from a textbook. Our kids need to learn how to solve real problems, build real solutions, and communicate their ideas based on evidence they collected with procedures they designed. My husband is glad Renton is rejecting Amplify and I’m fortunate our child attends a school where Amplify sits unused and teachers are making a choice to teach science like it’s meant to be, in fun, exciting and meaning ways! My kid talks about science every day and has a great attitude about learning as much science as he can. I hope the school board gets a clue....

Anonymous said...

Look for contribution from instructors and families in regards to what are the most essential contemplations for secondary school science as we start the appropriation procedure - Form the High School Adoption board of trustees with participation from educators (counting ELL, SPED and propelled learning), families, network researchers and designers, and agents from advanced education (look here to learn more. The council must speak to the assorted variety of the area