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South Coast Educators Getting Educated About New State Science Standards

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Class is in session for science teacher Roger Newell.

The 8th grade teacher at Oak Park’s Medea Creek Middle School has been an educator for more than three decades, but today he’s one of the students, so to speak, learning about a new approach to teaching science being implemented in California.

Hundreds of educators are at a Ventura County Office of Education conference in Camarillo looking at California’s new science standards, and how to implement them in classrooms.

In 2013, the state adopted what are known as the Next Generation Science Standards for grades K through 12. Educators from a number of states worked to develop the new approach. Then, the states decided it they wanted to adopt a version of the plan. California was one of the first onboard with the effort, and is a leader in implementation.

For some of those who actually after to implement the effort in their classroom, they say it’s an exciting time, but that it admittedly leaves them a little nervous, because it’s new. While the state has adopted standards, how they will actually be implemented will vary from school district to school district.

The districts have the latitude to shape the programs, and to pick classroom materials they use. While some districts have their new efforts in place, others are still putting them into place. Still, the end goal is the same, moving science education away from filling in the blanks with memorized answers, to figuring out how to solve the problem.