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    Thank You to Members of K-12 Science Adoption Committees
    Posted on 05/29/2019
    Adoption committee members at a meeting

    Thank You to Members of K-12 Science Adoption Committees

    In any curriculum adoption process, members of the adoption committee participate in an extensive process to gather input from diverse stakeholders to thoroughly evaluate and select instructional materials that will best support students. Staff and the School Board want to thank committee members for their investment of wisdom, experience, and time.

    For the 90+ members of the K-12 science adoption committees, teachers, parents, families, and community members applied; all applicants were accepted and invited to participate to bring updated science curricula into the classrooms of 53,000 students and their teachers. Committees were split into three groups: K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Collectively, committee members dedicated over 70 hours per person to the 14-month long process. The last science curriculum adoption was in 1995 (elementary), 2002 (middle school), and 1997 (high school).

    In this case, individuals with a deep interest in science education were encouraged to join and bring their diverse perspectives to the table. In this collaborative learning space, the goal was to review multiple curricula options to meet the needs of students and are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

    With Washington state adopting the NGSS for science education in all public schools, the shift in learning science, based on brain research, has become more inclusive for all students. NGSS learning asks students to explore a phenomenon, explain it, and understand why it happens from a science/engineering lens. For example, NGSS learning encourages students to use scientific reasoning and engineering concepts to explain why climate change manifests differently in different parts of the world.

    Angie DiLoreto is a science curriculum developer at the Bellevue School District and has been an educator for the last 20 years. She is a parent of two students in Seattle Public Schools and decided to join the committee as she cares deeply about the science experience of all students, including her own children. She remembers how being a part of the committee required focus, attention to detail, hard work, and collaboration. “The teams of teachers and community members I worked with are consummate professionals… we worked together in teams that rotated so that we could hear a variety of voices and perspectives.”

    Committee members, including students, spent hours and days building a rubric to analyze the instructional material candidates, poring over textbooks and curricula to determine whether they were aligned to NGSS, and sometimes, getting into intense discussions on whether the materials met racial equity standards.

    “We noticed that one of the candidates included introductions to the lessons by a woman scientist of color,” says Matt Collins, who holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and has a career background in educational technology. Collins emphasizes, “We’re all used to seeing a white male scientist. It’s so important that all our students can see that anyone can become a scientist, and that our students of color can visualize themselves as one day making a huge impact.”

    Nina Arens is the education coordinator for the Living Computers Museum and Labs and has worked in the STEM field for a decade. She found the process educational. “The quality of our collaboration was high. I was surrounded by peers that were engineers, professors, students, a surgeon. We all knew the stakes were high.” Arens joined the grade 9-12 committee because she wanted to see more students challenged by their science education. “It would be great to see more students inspired and say, ‘I want to do this.’”

    Marni Campbell, principal at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School joined the grade 6-8 committee and has been an educator for 20 years. “I’m passionate about closing gaps, science, and middle school education.” As part of the committee, she reviewed the field test data. “Teachers who field tested provided thoughtful comments from the field that were critical. Students took surveys, and that was very important for us. It was a well-thought-out process.”

    As a school leader, Campbell believes, “This moment in science education is about equity and excellence. When we say equity, it’s about providing access to the highest possible learning and materials. As for excellence, it’s about ensuring especially in middle school that we nurture students in high-level learning. In high school, it’s about providing exceptional, grounded learning for students to get on a science pathway.”

    As part of their final responsibilities, the members of the committees thoroughly analyzed, deliberated, and reached consensus on their selections and forwarded their final recommendations to the School Board. The Board will officially vote on three proposed adoptions tonight at the Regular Board Meeting, May 29. View the board meeting agenda.

    Read more about the K-12 science adoption process and adoption resources.