California STEM Network News – Winter 2020

California STEM Network News – Winter 2020

January 2020

Greetings and Happy New Year! 2020 is off to a great start and we look forward to working with you and keeping you in the loop on all things STEM education. Our first newsletter of the new year includes a look back on the last quarter of 2019 while we keep our focus on the future.

Governor Newsom’s 2020 Budget Proposal

On January 10, Governor Newsom introduced his January budget proposal. Overall, Proposition 98 funding has increased from the current budget and provides approximately $84 billion for schools and community colleges. The Governor’s January budget proposal includes critical investments in in-school STEM education; however, it does not propose any increases to After School Education and Safety (ASES) funding. During his presentation of the budget, Newsom emphasized the role of a high-qualified and diverse teacher workforce in improving outcomes for kids and closing the achievement gap. Calling the upcoming science assessment results “deplorable,” he called out the importance of investing in STEM education. The following is a summary of his proposed STEM-related funding.

$900 million in one-time Proposition 98 General funds for educator recruitment and retention

  • $532 million in four programs to address the teacher shortage in high-need subjects and areas
    • $193 million for the Workfoce Development Grant
    • $175 million for the Teacher Residency Program
    • $100 million for the California Teacher Credential Award Program
    • $64.1 million for the Classified School Employees Credentialing Program
  • $350 million to augment the Education Workforce Investment Grant (EWIG) program along with an expansion of the list of areas that can be targeted by these funds, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • $18 million for CCEE to increase awareness of services for all LEAs in the areas addressed by the EWIG program and to strengthen LEA capacity to improve student outcomes in the state priority areas.

$19.1 million in one-time funding in support of Computer Science, largely from Proposition 98 funds. These funds will incentivize teachers to obtain supplementary authorizations ($15 million), establish a California Subject Matter Project in Computer Science ($1.3 million, non-Prop 98) and support for one cohort of educators ($340,000), and fund a resource lead in the Statewide System of Support to identify, assemble, and share resources in computer science for professional development, classroom curriculum, and best practices ($2.5 million).

In the coming weeks, the team at the California STEM Network will stay engaged and active to help shape the next iteration of the budget.


2019 California STEAM Symposium 

Leadership of the California STEM Network (Vincent Stewart, Jessica Sawko and Stephen Blake) facilitated a breakout session at the 2019 California STEAM Symposium in Anaheim on December 10, which was their third time presenting at the largest statewide convening focused on STEM education. The title of their presentation was, “Moving Target: De-Mystifying the College Admissions Process.” Currently, there are proposals to add a 3rd year of science to the University of California (UC) admissions requirements (see the following article) and a 4th year of math or quantitative reasoning to the California State University (CSU) admissions requirements. The purpose of this conversation was to examine how these proposals differ and what students will need to know and do to be eligible for both systems and competitive for the most selective campuses. If approved, these proposals will require district and school site leaders to work collaboratively to provide the courses students will need to go to college. They will also need to understand how the proposals could impact math and science curriculum, instruction and teacher professional development. In addition, both the UC and the California Legislature have considered proposals that would change the use of the SAT/ACT and/or SBAC as a factor in college admissions.


PPIC Releases Analysis of the Effects of UC’s Proposed Science Admission Requirements

In 2018, the University of California (UC) Academic Senate recommended to the UC Board of Regents that the university increase the science admission requirements, commonly referred to as “area D,” from two years to three. The Regents did not take up the recommendation for a vote to allow more time to study the potential impact of such a move. Since then, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) engaged in an analysis of the proposal and in November, issued a report chronicling their findings, “New Eligibility Rules for the University of California? The Effects of New Science Requirements.”

PPIC found that while an overwhelming majority of high school students who graduate having met the current A-G requirements already take three years of science, as many as 19% of those graduates did not. Those students least likely to have taken three years are African American and Latino students. Further analysis found that many students took three or more years of science, but those courses were not UC area D approved courses so they would not satisfy the additional requirement if adopted. The report makes several recommendations, including that high schools work to revise and submit courses currently approved as area G (electives) for area D (science) under the new course requirements which now allow for earth science, engineering, computer science, and other courses to qualify meeting area D admission requirements beyond the first two years currently required. You can read the full report for the complete analysis and list of recommendations.


Tools for Fostering Math and Science Standards Implementation

Over the past three years, the California Partnership for Math and Science Education (“Partnership”) has brought together key leaders from around the state into a set of communities of practice that are building an infrastructure of professional learning providers who can help teachers and leaders around the state implement CA-CCSM and NGSS for all students. Within the Partnership, the new Fostering Math and Science Standards Implementation Program (FSIP) leverages partners’ expertise to create professional development tools, resources, and materials that strengthen and sustain standards implementation at county, district, school and classroom levels. FSIP resources that have recently been created include:

  • Math Success for All, a PD resource to increase the quality of K-6 math instruction and ensure equitable access and support for all students
  • CA-NGSS 3D Assessment Implementation Modules to support leveraging formative and summative assessments to improve learning
  • Fostering NGSS Implementation Protocol to support teachers who have not yet begun implementing NGSS
  • Principals Supporting the NGSS, a professional learning series to support site leaders in implementing the science standards. (Link will be posted when available)


Math Success for All is now available in a Beta Version 2.0, with the final version scheduled for release in February 2020. The resource was developed to bolster the implementation of the California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics in K-6 by improving the quality of instruction, ensuring equitable access and support for all students, specifically students with special needs, and improving an administrator’s ability to support teachers and facilitate school structures that foster equitable and high-quality math instruction. Check out the UDL for math placemat.

To meet the needs of diverse K-6 school sites, the modules of the program have been designed as adaptable building blocks to be arranged and used with a variety of professional development delivery methods (or models) and are intended to be utilized with minimal oversight required. The project was coordinated by the Placer County Office of Education and drew upon the Carnegie Foundation’s work with Continuous Improvement, CAST’s UDL framework, and the expertise of subject-specific entities such as the California Math Project and Mathematics Assessment Project.


State Board Approves Threshold Scores for CAST in November, Math Framework Guidelines and CFCC Members and CAST Blueprint Revisions in January

At the November meeting of the California State Board of Education (SBE), the California Science Test (CAST) Threshold Scores were approved. This action allows for CDE and its testing contractor ETS to finalize the reporting of the results in preparation for their release to LEAs and the public in late January 2019. Based on the newly approved threshold scores, it is estimated that 32% of 5th and 8th graders and 28% of high school students who took the CAST in 2019 met or exceeded the performance expectations of NGSS. In addition to the student scores, LEAs will also receive information from the student survey that was administered at the end of the CAST. This information, combined with other local data, will aid stakeholders and LEAs in evaluating their implementation of NGSS and can be used to advocate for additional investments in teacher and administrator professional development to support NGSS.

On January 8 2020, the SBE approved the Guidelines for the revision of the Mathematics Framework and the list of members for the Math Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC). The Guidelines inform the work of the writers and CFCC as they revise the Framework. The proposed Guidelines call for the Framework to provide guidance to help ensure equitable access to high-quality mathematics at all grade levels; information about Universal Design for Learning (UDL); strategies for supporting English Learners; explanation of the components of the content standards and Standards for Mathematical Practice and how they work together; and illustrations of the connections between mathematics and other subject areas, including science, computer science, and CTE.

The SBE also approved changes to the CAST Blueprint as recommended by CDE. These changes are aimed at reducing testing time in the 5th and 8th grades and make other changes to the test content and functionality. With the approved changes, the 2021/2022 administration will include fewer items in Segment A for 5th and 8th grades, performance tasks in the three domains of earth/space, life, and physical sciences in Segment B (rather than the current two), and reducing the number of items in Segment C and limit Segment C to field test items until the item bank size is increased.


California Science Test Results – Coming Soon!

Look for a public release of the 2018/2019 adminsitration of the CAST results later this month or at the beginning of February. LEAs have access to their data a student score reports already and the parent public information site has been updated to include information about the science test.


Bay Area STEM Ecosystem and the STEM PUSH Network

In the fall, the University of Pittsburgh and the STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice  announced that the Bay Area STEM Ecosystem was selected as one of four regional STEM ecosystems (along with Pittsburgh, Chicago and New York) to participate in an NSF funded project, the STEM PUSH Network, which is focused on working with equity-focused higher education institutions, educational organizations and corporations to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM fields. The regional ecosystems will join a networked improvement community (NIC) and identify precollege STEM programs in their regions to strengthen their programming for underrepresented groups and generating effective practices to contribute to the broader field of precollege programming and equitable design and implementation. This work will result in an accreditation process that documents and communicates the value of precollege programs to create a currency that can be used in college admissions review and building stronger partnerships with postsecondary institutions. The first planning call with the regional ecosystems and the project lead, the University of Pittsburgh, was held December 12 and selection of participating precollege STEM programs will occur in January 2020.


After & Summer School Grant Opportunity 

The New York Life Foundation is seeking applicants for its Aim High local grant program to support afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs serving middle schoolers. Read the full application and eligibility requirements. Applications are due January 24, 2020.