Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Science Curriculum Updates

Update:  Here's a link to all the candidates for Science adoption.

To note:
When reviewing a candidate program, it is highly recommended to inspect both the printed materials and the digital materials. Each candidate program includes a digital component to their instructional materials.

Only reviewing the materials online will limit your understanding of each of the programs. For your convenience, access to each program's digital portal is provided below.

Please complete the input form to provide your valuable feedback on any candidate programs you review. We thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Please email your completed survey to the Adoption Coordinator at mmwelch@seattleschools.org, drop in the collection box in the JSCEE Library, or turn in to a school representative at a school site.

If you want to let the Board know your thoughts on this issue, you can either cc them on the email given for the Science input (spsdirectors@seattleschools.org) or email them separately and probably put "Science Adoption" on the subject line.

end of update 

I had written to the Board -twice in the last couple of weeks - about the science adoption.  I received a reply from Kyle Kinoshita, Executive Director, Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction, about the concerns I raised.  

Recently, parents were notified about upcoming open houses (and initially given the wrong month).  It is true the wrong dates originally went out, we sent a correction within 48 hours, during a holiday week. We apologized for our error.

Question regarding the finalistsThe finalists are indeed listed on the District Science Adoption webpage, tinyurl.com/SPSPublicDispayK8 and tinyurl.com/SPSPublicDisplayHS The finalists were made public on that page within one day of the Adoption Committee’s determination meeting. Additionally, on this site, you will find links to the online resources from the publishers/developers for each of the instructional materials being considered. 

Here's what the open house description says:

 We are hosting two Science Instructional Materials Open Houses where we will give you time to review the candidates being considered for adoption by the district, provide information about the new standards and how science will look different for your child, and answer your questions. 

How can parents be ready with questions if they don't know who the candidates are?  Are they really supposed to go to a school where the instructional materials would be, look at them and then go to an Open House?  Is there time at an Open House to look at the materials AND have questions answered (in two hours)? 

As stated above, some information is on the web page. And there will be ample time for parents to review instructional materials before their questions on the Open House dates.  OR they can visit one of the schools prior to the open house to review materials. 

- There are no middle schools to view the materials - only K-8s.   Why is that?
Our K-8s house middle school students. These locations will make it easier for parents who have children at multiple grade levels to review materials for both elementary and middle school.

- The two Open Houses are both in the far south end.  Why isn't one in the north and one in the south? That strikes me as a way to get fewer parents in the door. 
We were having trouble securing a north end location and as of the date of the publishing of the memo about the open houses, we did not have confirmation on a north location. We have since confirmed a space at Nathan Hale High School to host the February 2nd Open House.

Regards what we are going to accomplish in the adoption:
  1. The adoption is about ensuring that science will prepare students for today’s college and career readiness, not for past years’.  Science is more than hands on activities, and more than memorizing factual information.  These are all featured in science, but it has moved far beyond to be more accurately described as science, engineering and technology.  In the last 20 years, college preparation and science in the real-world economy moved to incorporate all of these aspects—students will be woefully underprepared without these new features.  This is the “old” hard science with rigorous additions to bring science in line with what higher education and the work world is demanding. 
  1. “Three-dimensional science”, a part of new national standards in science, in brief, simple terms, ensures that science education is up to date:  1) Core ideas:  same solid base of content knowledge as before.  2) Crosscutting concepts:  ideas that cut across and interconnect all sciences, as they appear in the real work world, where there are no separate subjects like “biology”, “physics” or “chemistry”. 3) Practices:  science applied to actual global problems and to develop citizens who can use accurate science to make decisions in society. 
  1. Amplify Science—Regarding the question of Amplify Science being in use in the district causing a conflict of interest, we have consulted with our legal advisors. The fact that schools have had the opportunity to use a company’s instructional materials does not create an unfairness in an adoption process.  Our committees are made up of a variety of people from different backgrounds and schools and the evaluation rubric that they are tasked to use to evaluate the options presented, whether or not the instructional materials have or have not been used by the district.   In the last three materials adoptions, elementary math K-5, English-Language Arts 4-5, and middle school math grades 6-8, there were waivered instructional materials in use in schools that ended up being candidates for selection.  In the case of mathematics, both Math in Focus and enVision had been in use in schools with waivers prior to their eventual successful selection as adopted instructional materials.   However, because the adoption process is carefully structured to allow for a level playing field, an objective evaluation can be made of all of them, whether or not materials are familiar to staff in the district. 
  1. As far as the adoption process as a whole.  We have meticulously followed board policy and procedure, and gone beyond the level of required scrutiny of all candidates, because we know that public scrutiny will be rigorous.  More on this later.
 I appreciate the lengthy reply and am happy to see a north-end Open House added.

We have since confirmed a space at Nathan Hale High School to host the February 2nd Open House.

I also see the point about having materials reviews at K-8 - I did not consider it would be easier for parents who have students in both elementary and middle school. 

As for the process of reorganizing science, I can only say that I don't truly believe science teachers were as included as they should have been.   


muh said...

I don't suppose you found a place where it summarized all the open house locations and dates? The information I sent to share with my schools appears to be out-of-date, but I don't see where they have a summary on the web page.

(ETA: I found this, but it is still out of date: https://www.seattleschools.org/district/calendars/news/what_s_new/community_engagement/science_curriculum_adoption_materials_review )

Robert Cruickshank said...

It is troubling that Amplify Science is being considered for full adoption given the numerous concerns raised about how it is devastating science instruction across the district. Please write to the school board with two asks:

1. Withdraw the dubiously-granted waivers and get Amplify Science out of classrooms now.

2. Do not adopt Amplify Science in the future - or any other curriculum that is mostly online and replaces instruction by a teacher and replaces hands-on student learning.

A group of us are mobilizing to stop Amplify Science, stop fully-online instruction, and save science education in Seattle. We would especially welcome input and participation from those who work in the field - whether as a UW professor, a researcher at a private company, etc. I have seen comments on this blog from such folks explaining how bad Amplify Science is and it would be invaluable to reproduce those comments in future public forums.

Anonymous said...

How do members of the public review the Amplify curriculum? Will SPS have computers available to interact with the materials?

just wondering

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just Wondering, that's a good question. I'll ask.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, you are wrong. In terms of the alignment, teachers from all SPS high schools were part of the committee. Also, there are teachers from each of the high schools on the adoption committee - including two from Ballard (the committee member list is posted for all three adoption committees). All schools have the opportunity to have their voice heard. However, some teachers and schools who maintain out-dated teacher-centered instruction instead of new student-centered pedagogy continue to complain about the process, even though these various representative teams have reached consensus to move towards the evidence-based practices embedded in NGSS. The new standards were designed by both scientists and educators and ask students (and teachers) to use core practices in science to learn. While it is a challenge for teachers, students and families to work through this transition, this is the requirement of educators given the standards were adopted by the legislature in 2013. Furthermore, equity is explicitly addressed in the standards without reducing (actually increasing!) the rigor of science instruction. As an educator teaching south of the ship canal with advanced degrees in both science and education (and my own SPS kids), I applaud the changes the district is working to make. It is frustrating that the work so many teachers are doing to improve the quality of science education in SPS is being limited by a smaller number of teachers who are unwilling to do so and choose to loudly complain.
-South End Teacher

Anonymous said...

Presumably, Amplify would require a 1:1 student-computer ratio, correct? At our North End middle school, we only have a few laptop carts for a school of nearly 1,000 students--not even enough to do the state-mandated assessments and district-mandated surveys etc. So how much is the district investing in computers to support Amplify? Where's the cost-benefit in using Amplify and evidence that it's successful?

Concerned Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

South End Teacher, I was referencing input that science teachers NOT on the committee sought to give and were told would not be accepted.

And wow, doesn't your wording almost exactly echo what another reader wrote. Almost to the word.

To note, this is not just about teachers complaining but parents. We can't forget parents (although the district does just that on a daily basis).

Concerned Parent, as a member of the Information Technology Advisory Committee, I will ask that question.

Anonymous said...

Teachers who state that their input would not be considered for the adoption are incorrect. They could have applied to the adoption committee, applied to field test materials, and they can share ideas in the materials review period - my understanding from the adoption web page is that materials will be placed at various schools for teachers, families, community members, etc. to comment on, and the teachers could comment as well. Board policy asks the adoption committee to consider the community comments. I certainly expect to share my opinion.
-South End Teacher

Anonymous said...

However, some teachers and schools who maintain out-dated teacher-centered instruction instead of new student-centered pedagogy continue to complain about the process, even though these various representative teams have reached consensus to move towards the evidence-based practices embedded in NGSS.

Very telling. The either/or, "my way or the highway," "I'm right/you're wrong" mentality is sure to win hearts and minds (sarcasm). Embracing guide on the side OVER sage on the stage, instead of acknowledging a need for both, has contributed to poor curriculum choices - choices which seem to leave some students in a perpetual state of underachievement. Because of this pedagogy, we have had to teach our kids phonics, math facts and algorithms (sigh...EDM, we loathed you), grammar, typing, and yes, even cursive. All those "old school" things that should be explicitly taught. You know what? They made school and learning easier for our kids.

I am thankful there is some healthy debate and pushback from teachers. SPS continues to make curriculum choices in search of some magic bullet solution, which ends up delivering less than promised. It's hard to believe, for example, that Discovering math texts are still in SPS classrooms. Do we want the same to happen to high school science?

rinse repeat

Melissa Westbrook said...

South End Teacher, well, I have teachers who said they tried to give input and were rejected from doing so. You may have been told something else but I don't have a reason to not believe these teachers.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have heard from a few teachers that when they expressed doubts about the Amplify curriculum, they have been uninvited to training sessions. It is a less-than-ideal way to collect unbiased data on teacher opinions. These teachers may not be coming forward to complain about the process because they fear, justifiably, retaliation.

Also, I laugh at calling Amplify "student-centered." Just like teachers cannot control the pace of the curriculum, nor can students. The best they can do (from what I have heard from students) is to finish the lesson plan early, resulting in free time for the rest of the science period. A good place to finish one's English homework, I suppose, but it does not justify the "student-centered" moniker.


Robert Cruickshank said...

Amplify is quite clearly NOT student centered. In fact, for months parents have been complaining that it appears quite hostile to actual student needs, that students come away from it hating science, and that it clearly isn't working out in practice. What I'm seeing is a great deal of resistance to considering that feedback, and so it seems now that the only move is to abandon Amplify Science.

This should not be surprising. Online learning has a clear track record of alienating students and getting them to hate school and disengage from learning. That should be a huge red flag to teachers on and off the adoption committee. There is research backing up these concerns:

New York Times, January 19, 2018: Online Courses Are Harming the Students Who Need the Most Help, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/business/online-courses-are-harming-the-students-who-need-the-most-help.html

"But in high schools and colleges, there is mounting evidence that the growth of online education is hurting a critical group: the less proficient students who are precisely those most in need of skilled classroom teachers...

Consider a study conducted in the Chicago high schools. Students who had failed algebra were randomly assigned either to online or to face-to-face recovery courses. The results were clear: Students in the online algebra courses learned much less than those who worked with a teacher in a classroom....

The effects are lasting, with online students more likely to drop out of college altogether. Hardest hit are those who entered the online class with low grades. Work by researchers in many other colleges concurs with the DeVry findings: The weakest students are hurt most by the online format."

Ed Week, "The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning," November 7, 2017: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/11/08/the-cases-against-personalized-learning.html

Ed Surge, "Connecticut School District Suspends Use of Summit Learning Platform," December 20, 2017: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-12-20-connecticut-school-district-suspends-use-of-summit-learning-platform

Fast Company, "After rapid growth, Zuckerberg-backed school program faces scrutiny over effectiveness, data privacy," November 19, 2018 https://www.fastcompany.com/90269809/after-rapid-growth-zuckerberg-backed-school-program-faces-scrutiny-over-effectiveness-and-data-privacy

Ed Surge, "Personalized Learning is a Problem of Privilege," January 21, 2018: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-01-21-personalized-learning-is-a-problem-of-privilege

There is more out there that I'll attempt to collect and share here.

Anonymous said...

@ South End Teacher,

Would please clarify what you see as this distinction between “teacher-centered” and ”student-centered” instruction? Just because teachers are the ones leading the lessons or setting up pabs doesn’t mean what’s actually delivered isn’t student-centered, just as a more discovery-based curriculum does not necessarily mean it’s more student-centered (e,g., if it doesn’t adapt to individual students’ knowledge or interests; if the lessons are too short for some students and they end up consistently finishing early; if e-learning doesn’t work well for some students, etc.).

What exactly do you mean by those terms. They have a nice ring to them, but I’m not convinced they reflect reality.


Anonymous said...

The science curriculum described above sounds like it will be excellent preparation for students to sit in corporate meetings. The "conjoined triangles of success" anyone? I am a working scientist developing and testing potential cancer cures. I was surprised to read that "Science is more than hands on activities, and more than memorizing factual information." That is quite an arrogant statement. Actually I spend all day every doing just those two things. And it is quite fun, satisfying and scientifically productive. I don't think that those making science curriculum decisions for the district really understand science at all.


Anonymous said...

One of my youngest child's science teachers used the discovery method of science without any followup on what they were supposed to discover. My kid was really struggling and I told the teacher my kid needed a book because they weren't discovering anything but boredom and confusion.


Anonymous said...

Why not put the brakes on the science adoption until we have some decent evidence re: Amplify's effectiveness?

According to SRI, they are collaborating with Rand Corporation, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and participating school districts on a 1-year, randomized study of the efficacy of Amplify (compared to "business as usual" as the control group) re: middle school science. All teachers will get PD on the NGSS. The study is this school year, 2018-2019.

Does Amplify result in better outcomes re: meeting NGSS? We don't know yet--but we will know soon. Why not wait until we DO know (or at least know a little better) before adopting an expensive new curriculum? Science teachers are smart and capable, and there's a pretty good chance they can figure out how to address NGSS with existing texts and supplementary materials. If there are glaring gaps in the current materials, certainly someone could pull together some materials for use in addressing them in the meantime, no?

We all want a stronger science curriculum, but let's make sound, evidence-based decisions to get there. Or is the goal of the Amplify folks to have everyone rush to jump in now, before the evaluation results are available?


Anonymous said...

It does not surprise me they "were having issues securing a north end high school location". RHS and BHS teachers are not supportive of the changes to their math based courses.

See the course description for Chemistry for example in the BHS catalog 2018/2019. Physics description is also similar.

"HSC3111/3211 CHEMISTRY 1/2
Length/Credit: Yearlong course/.5 credit each semester
Pre-requisite: Successful completion of high school Biology 1⁄2 equivalent and Geometry

This is a traditional algebra-based two semester college preparatory course that is recognized by college acceptance offices nationally.

The semester courses will take the students much deeper into the understanding of chemistry than they might get with Chemistry A (PS) or even Chemistry B (PS). The two semester courses will involve the mathematical and laboratory investigation of complex systems including gas laws, molecular structure, kinetics, equilibrium, organic molecules, acid-base interactions and electrochemistry.
Students take the American Chemical Society National High School end of course exam.

A Parent

Anonymous said...

That's why the new course are more supposed to be more "equitable"--because they are more accessible, meaning they have fewer prerequisites, like math. How "South End Teacher" thinks that increases rigor or is more student-centric is beyond me.

That's interesting re: the American Chemical Society National High School end of course exam. It would be interesting to have students who take the new split chemistry class (semester in 9th, semester in 11th) also take that exam, and see how their results compare to those of prior years who had the traditional full-year, math-required class.

By the way, does anyone know if all schools are, or are going to be, required to adopt this new science scope/sequence? Or will schools that disagree stick with their own approach--either via waivers, or, more likely, by just bucking the system?


Melissa Westbrook said...

"Or is the goal of the Amplify folks to have everyone rush to jump in now, before the evaluation results are available?"

I think it's the goal of Amplify and the district. I have no idea why, when the Board hears many, many parents and teachers express concern over the process of selecting a curriculum, that they don't act.

HF, the district seems to give out curriculum waivers for all kinds of reasons; I can't see why a high school couldn't say "we want to stay the course but will include as much of any new teaching methodology as we can." Meaning, sure, show them new ways to reach students but not using curriculum they can't support.

Anonymous said...

Student-centered means that kids do the "figuring-out" work instead of teacher giving them all answers - often time through some form of direct instructions - text or lecturing - and then students are expected to simply "know" the answer and repeat it on an assessment. Instead, newer student-centered pedagogy uses curricular "storylines" that engage students in a series of lessons, including hands-on investigations and simulations where students collect data to "figure out" the topic being investigated. This takes considerable work by the teacher/curriculum to engage students in thinking, writing, and talking about their ideas and how the work of the unit helps them understand and explain some part of the natural world. In other words, this work is similar to how scientists practice science. That said, this can include text (and yes scientist, I have an advanced degree in science as well as education, so I know the work of a scientist AND educator), however text and lecture are no longer the primary teaching methods, and other activities that have students collecting, analyzing, and interpreting various forms of data are used frequently.

MW - in response to equity, the standards are more equitable. Read the Framework document and other NGSS documents. These include references to how the studies about how the standards increased equity. So, this my equity statement is supported by multiple forms of evidence. Even if this wasn't the case, Core24 mandates that all WA state students graduate with 3 credits of science, and adoption of the standards means all students should have access to the standards. Many of the Physical Science standards remain heavily math-based, such as teaching equilibrium, mole ratios, etc. Also, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking is one of the Science and Engineering Practices in NGSS. This means that no matter the particular sequencing in SPS, schools across the state should be providing all of their students with the opportunity to meet these standards, no matter their math proficiency. Yes, this puts an increased burden on science teachers to ALSO teach the math embedded in their courses to help support their students. I know at some schools, the science departments are working closely with their math departments to help meet these needs. Schools that choose not to teach students because they haven't met certain math prerequisites are therefore not meeting the legal mandates of the legislature. That could be just as scary for SPS and schools not meeting said requirements.
-South End Teacher

Anonymous said...

@ South End Teacher,

Wait. So "Physical Science standards remain heavily math-based" and "schools across the state should be providing all of their students with the opportunity to meet these standards, no matter their math proficiency," which means "this puts an increased burden on science teachers to ALSO teach the math embedded in their courses to help support their students."

So...students who are already proficient or advanced in math will now do what? Sit in science class while the teacher teaches basic math instead? We all know that differentiation happens infrequently (especially on the upper end). Will students who have more advanced math skills get to do more complicated science that requires more advanced math, or will the overall level of math be reduced for some and increased for others?

As for your statement that "Schools that choose not to teach students because they haven't met certain math prerequisites are therefore not meeting the legal mandates of the legislature," you do realize that there are science classes without math prerequisites, right? Most students took Physical Science in 9th grade and Biology in 10th grade, regardless of math level. Math became a factor in 11th grade, but then students who wanted 3 years of science could choose things that maybe didn't require Algebra 2 or Geometry. Things like astronomy, botany, oceanography, environmental science, etc. The idea that schools were choosing to not teach students science seems pretty exaggerated. There are plenty of opportunities to get in a 3rd year of science without taking a math-heavy chemistry of physics class. And if the district really wanted to ensure that all students could get physics and/or chemistry as their 11th grade option even if they didn't have the math schools, they could have created a more conceptual version to supplement the math versions.

By the way, didn't SPS insist that this scope/sequence change was not changing the curriculum--it was just a re-ordering/rearrangement of what we already had? But if it's now so much more accessible, and no longer requires math, that sounds like more than a simple reshuffling to me. They've changed the nature of the classes. Does the board realize this?

@ MW, doesn't the district control the list of courses available? I thought there was something recently about the board approving course titles/descriptions that to make sure what's in catalogs matches what's on the district's list of options for transcripts. The district may not be able to control what teachers actually do on the ground at individual sites, but as the keeper of the transcripts they do have some power over who takes what, at least on paper. If they say you have to have x, y, and z to graduate, you need to have those on your transcript, right?


Anonymous said...

"Student-centered" and "evidenced-based" and "equitable" pedagogy are all bright and shiny words, but scientists are trained to ask for evidence to back up claims.

Where are the test scores to show students are learning better using Amplify? From what I hear, *all* populations are not showing a better understanding of science, and many SBAC science test scores are actually declining after the implementation of Amplify.

Where are the teacher and student testimonies? Thus far, these are being ignored and dismissed.

Is this the best place to be spending money to support equity on a costly curriculum that will need a new influx of laptops every 10 years at best? I have responded to requests from Bailey Gatzert for the past two years for donations of composition books for their students at the start of the school year. Shouldn't we spend SPS money to ensure every child has basic school supplies before we invest in an unproven/disliked curriculum? Isn't this a better place to ensure equity?


Melissa Westbrook said...

South End Teacher, you sure threw in a lot of other issues in your latest comment.

Also fyi, this:
"..hands-on investigations and simulations where students collect data to "figure out" the topic being investigated."

I did this. In a small border town. In 6th grade.

Are you saying this has not been happening in SPS? Because if not, we voters sure have been spending a lot of money on science labs for high school and middle school (and middle still needs updating).

"Yes, this puts an increased burden on science teachers to ALSO teach the math embedded in their courses to help support their students."

What does Scooby Doo say? Ruh ro. You mean that science teachers have to now reform their teaching to include math? And bring in students who may not be ready to learn that math quickly in order to keep up with the science curriculum? Sure, that'll be easy.
"The standards are more equitable."

Great but what does that have to do with using Amplify? How does Amplify fulfill those standards better than other science curriculum? That seems to be the question most here are asking.

I will be asking the question about Amplify and how its need for tech in every school impacts the Technology budget.

HF, you ask a good question. I don't know the answer as to who creates course titles and makes sure they align with district policies but I can ask.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Amplify Science is basically a fully online curriculum that replaces a teacher and replaces hands-on learning. As shown above there is plenty of research to demonstrate that such an approach is terrible for kids, devastates student learning, and has the worst effects on kids who need the most help. In other words, Amplify Science is a very inequitable thing to adopt in a classroom. And that's even before we factor in the complaints from SPS parents, teachers, and students.

Not only is Amplify Science bad, it is the leading edge of an effort to push SPS more fully into online learning. That has to be stopped - again, the evidence from around the country is very clear on this being a bad move.

Anonymous said...

I just followed the link to the curriculum materials for the 9-12 adoption, and was surprised to see that there aren't a range of materials under consideration--it looks like the choice is either to go with what we already have, or pick the one new candidate for each class. Is there seriously only one modernized option out there for each subject, or is this the JSCEE folks putting a finger on the scale?

Also, I was incredibly surprised to see that the Biology curriculum candidate, "Carbon Time," is apparently suitable for middle school students. This is according to Carbon Time, in their FAQs. Are we seriously looking at a middle-school-appropriate biology curriculum for our 10th grade Biology class? I guess it will be more accessible to students working and reading significantly below grade level, but it sounds like it could be way too simplistic for many. I've been poking around the Carbon Time website and can't find anything re: extensions for advanced students, any mention of results with advanced or gifted students, no mention of differentiation, etc.

Oh, and does anyone know where we can see (online) the candidates for other grades? The link provided only has candidates for 9-12. (I haven't looked at any besides Carbon Time yet, which I only scanned to look for evidence that it will be sufficiently challenging enough--ha!)


Anonymous said...

Read the science review criteria, linked on the SPS science page. There's nothing about advanced learners, only "grade level appropriate." It looks like the HS adoption is *only* for the first 3 years of the science sequence - physical science and the A/B chemistry/physics. Are there really no printed texts for students? What about all of the other science courses? Do schools just continue using older texts from here and there (which, at this point look superior to some of the proposed materials)?

not encouraging

Anonymous said...

Shoreline's science materials, for comparison:


It looks like they use mainstream materials, but in addition [Shoreline] Teachers work with various non-profit, higher education, and industry partners to develop and use engineering design challenges, phenomenon-based, and problem-based units. No reinventing the wheel.

comparison shopping

Anonymous said...

Just poking through the STEM Scopes stuff listed, it looks like a reasonable outline, but I'm concerned about the use of PHETs and youtube links. It doesn't give much longevity to the curriculum unless there's someone archiving and keeping those things alive -- some of my favorite PHETs are Java, and in my district the students all have chromebooks, so I've had to scrap those lessons. Same for youtube, channels go down all the time, and I'm really careful to download/screen record every video in case I need to show it in class. Technology can be great, but the internet is not a stable entity to say the least.

Carbon time does require a log in for the tests. What I've looked at briefly are boooooring assignments. Present the power point. Talk about the slides. Keep presenting the powerpoint. Draw an arrow. Read this long handout with confusing formatting (my students with dysgraphia will struggle) and pictures of an old white guy. I'm looking more for the Earth/Space standards since they aren't explicitly referenced on the curriculum site, and I'm not impressed at all. For a jumping off point at a 6th grade level, maybe (though the graph/discussion is at a much higher level than the work students produce), but certainly not a curriculum I'd be comfortable handing to a novice teacher or one who is outside their preferred subject.

Also curious about the SPS logo on the bottom of the carbon time website. Did I miss a piece about that somewhere?

Outta Seattle

Anonymous said...

There may be a conflict of interest between MaryMargaret Welch’s efforts to advance her career as a CarbonTime researcher and her need to be objective as a purchaser of science materials for SPS.

The one material chosen for Biology material consideration is CarbonTime which was developed by a team of research investigators that includes MaryMargaret Welch (SPS is the only public school district on the team), Michigan State University (the principal investigator) and a few other university partners.

The CarbonTime team has conducted multi-year research studies involving SPS teachers and students as well as students from a few other districts.

In her capacity as a CarbonTime researcher, Welch co-presented at conferences and published in peer reviewed journals while employed at SPS. I wonder if SPS or the NSF funded grant are paying for her travel and expenditures to all these conferences.

Yes, CarbonTime offers free curriculum, but a greater expense may be potential learning opportunity lost if a superior Biology material was never given fair consideration.





(p. 132, CarbonTime costs) https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/16-17agendas/09_10_2016/20160910_Agenda_Retreat_Packet.pdf

Anonymous said...

Anyone able to get into the PEER curriculum? I tried to log in under teacher and it said the password isn't correct.

Outta Seattle