My.EOU Portal Current Students Faculty/Staff
December 16, 2014
By Yurika Masuda | Senior Communications Student
Photo by Katie Butterfield / Area educators learn more about implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards from Leslie Graham, right, during a recent seminar hosted by GO-STEM at EOU.
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Teachers from various counties gathered for a seminar hosted by GO-STEM (Greater Oregon Science Technology Engineering Math) at Eastern Oregon University Dec. 6.
Leslie Graham, the presenter of the seminar, introduced the Next Generation Science Standards, (NGSS), which are a new set of standards Oregon adopted in 2014 but are not going to be immediately implemented. The assessment for the standards does not go into effect until the 2018-19 academic year.
Graham, a fourth grade teacher at Central Elementary School in La Grande, shared the passion and excitement of the new teaching system she learned at a NGSS Conference in Washington D.C., last summer.
Compared to previous academic standards, NGSS focuses more on hands-on study in tangible fields with a profound depth of topic to cover.
“NGSS is good teaching that practices 21st century’s skills and allows kids to achieve and practice authentic studies,” explained Katie Butterfield, a facilitator of GO-STEM at EOU. “These skills are beneficial to every student, no matter their career path,” she added.
NGSS cultivates students’ career awareness as well, such as land management and agriculture for example.
“Experiencing forest services or collecting water to examine its resources are more practical and predictive, which will be related to these fields directly,” Butterfield said.
Achieve, a non-profit organization devoted to raising national academic standards, encourages the public to review the standards.
“With their support, we are able to train the teachers in advance to establish their solid foundation of the upcoming teaching,” Butterfield explained.
The attendees were about 25 teachers from five different areas including Baker, La Grande, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa.
“Collaborating with other teachers was a beneficial opportunity to analyze and discuss how to look at all of these new changes,” Butterfield said.
She also emphasized the importance of presenting new lesson plans.
“Since learning takes time, it helps the teachers who are already busy to start getting ready gradually, becoming familiar with the standards and creating units,” Butterfield said. “There will be more trainings so that we can prepare for its rollout slowly.”
The shift of performance expectations for state tests provides hope for helping children who are left behind when it comes to STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math.) The new framework is designed to engage students with the nature of science with actual practices and experiences in the real world.
The teachers developed their knowledge of NGSS through the presentation, workshop and handouts of the rubric for evaluations and a copy of an example performance task.
“A group activity was helpful because we got to hear other teachers’ opinions,” said Delfino Osorio Garcia, who teaches science at Umatilla High School.
“The seminar introduced what kind of changes we are going to deal with,” said Jodi Harnden, a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Sunridge Middle School in Pendleton. “I had a little idea about NGSS before I attended this seminar, but it made it much clearer today.”
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