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Friday, November 21, 2008

More about Science at Summit K-12

A question was posed, in response to my last post, and I took it to one of the science teachers at Summit K-12 to make sure my answer is accurate.

She says: "You are correct that we are using district curriculum that is supplemented by each individual teacher. I was told by the district to teach the subject matter I am teaching this year, and I do have kits from which to draw for the teaching of the units. I am also supplementing instruction with other readings, field trips, and hands-on activities of my own creation."

I also know that the elementary teachers use the science kits provided by the district, though am currently uncertain as to if they have a district-assigned curriculum like the upper school does. When I get that information, I'll update here.

Happy Friday, all!

Updated about 2:45pm, 11/21
"Elementary also uses district curriculum with kits."

1 comment:

Kathy Barker said...

You can see the district recommended science curriculum here:http://www.seattleschools.org/area/science/sciindex.htm

This has no reality at many schools, however. If your school has a good program and good teachers and uses the inquiry science program, you are lucky! Yea to Summit!

You might be interested in the letter, below, from Ruth Medskar, Middle School head in SPS. I had written because the 7th and 8th grade science teacher at TOPS refused to teach evolution (which is absolutely NOT merely one facet of biology but provides the entire framework for biology) and I received this.

Science is in better shape than math in SPS because they do have a solid curriculum, teacher training, and great materials. But it is then up to the schools to implement the science- and some principals and teachers don't.

This answer really isn't an answer, but parents at individual schools will just have to push to get the good science tools that are available.

Kathy Barker


"The science department does have expectations that include the teaching of evolution. The Science Program Manager and the Science Coaches make clear expectations for teachers around the district adopted instructional materials which are provided for the middle school teachers. Currently, the middle school adopted instructional materials provide too much to teach, and this allows choices for teachers. (The publisher made the modules unrealistically long.) Secondly, the current State Standards (EALRS)and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs)cover more topics than teachers have time to teach. Again, this allows teachers to choose to focus on some GLEs and not on others. Both of these factors create a problem at the high school level when students arrive with different experiences.

With the new Strategic Plan, we will work on these issues in science.
The goal is to move toward a more consistent implementation of content and instructional materials over the next two years. This offers an opportunity to provide support for a more consistent and coherent experience in science for all students.

Also, we look forward to the new state standards, which will come out in January 2009. We are hoping the state will reduce the breadth of science content so teachers can teach fewer core topics in greater depth. Then, we can be more consistent in what is offered at each school.

We want you to know that in the 10th grade adopted biology instructional materials, the year-long study begins with evolution, and most teachers teach this.

The lack of a coherent and consistent experience for our students is why science is a focus this year and a part of the Strategic Plan. The work being done by the project team will provide the scope and sequence
that will provide us with the bases for much needed accountability.

We appreciate your concerns and believe that the focused work in science in the next two to three years will support all students in receiving a more coherent and consistent experience in science."