CREATING A NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS WORKING GROUP
The Oregon Department of Education recommended that all school districts fully implement the Next Generation Science Standards during the 2017–2018 academic year, in preparation for the 2018–2019 academic year, when it will be included in statewide testing. 2012 Knowles Teaching Fellow Jesse Stonewood and his colleague Todd Hobein recognized wide variation in the knowledge and skills of southern Oregon teachers as related to NGSS. They also noticed a lack of relevant professional development available in their area. Desiring to build a cadre of NGSS-skilled teacher leaders in southern Oregon, 2012 Knowles Teaching Fellow Jesse Stonewood applied for a Knowles Seed Grant to fund the cost of these efforts. Jesse and Todd designed a series of four professional development trainings and recruited a small network of 10 high school science teachers from eight different local schools to participate in the Southern Oregon Next Generation Science Standards Working Group. The pair facilitated the first two of their four training sessions in April and June of 2018. The four-hour working group meetings are modeled after Knowles cohort meetings, including their use of strategic groupings, groupworthy tasks, protocols, embedded time for reflection and follow-up surveys. Participants in the group leveraged their learnings on several projects, such as improving classroom instruction, networking with department colleagues and aligning curriculum between grades at the district level. Jesse and Todd received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, including several who have reported that the group is the most productive and meaningful professional development work in which they have ever participated. Looking forward, Jesse and Todd will facilitate their remaining training sessions during the 2018–2019 academic year.