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CT SCIENCE CENTER - NPS

CT SCIENCE CENTER - NPS
Posted on 02/27/2020
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CONNECTICUT SCIENCE CENTER SUPPORTS NPS EDUCATORS AS THEY IMPLEMENT 21ST CENTURY SCIENCE INSTRUCTION

Norwalk Public Schools and the Mandell Academy for Teachers at the Connecticut Science Center have partnered to help educators successfully apply Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to instruction throughout the district. This partnership is part of a multi-year multi-tier support plan for cohorts of teachers and administrators to learn how to better create learning experiences where students behave like true scientists. Simultaneously, NPS and partners have begun to build an instructional leadership team, which includes trainers who will provide NGSS coaching to educators within the district to build internal capacity.

The goal of NGSS is to turn the classroom into a science community. This method helps students to deepen their understanding of the world around them through real-world problem solving and phenomenon that happen every day. Students are encouraged to ask questions of one another, shared explanations, and engage in arguing from evidence.

During the most recent meeting led by NGSS experts from the Connecticut Science Center, a team of NPS science teachers met to develop assessments to help understand how students think and learn. By looking at how to assess students, educators are able to teach in a way that reflects the shift to NGSS. Past development sessions looked at using claims, evidence and reasoning, and higher level questioning to deepen thinking and make connections to the world. Funding for this program is through Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to close the opportunity gap in Fairfield County by eliminating disparities in income, education, employment, housing and health.

For the first time this year, the Next Generation Accountability Plan, the state’s educational assessment framework, includes the evaluation of student achievement in science. Over the past two years under the Strategic Operating Plan, educators have begun to adapt to the NGSS framework. This long-term transition includes sustained planning, curriculum transformation, identifying high quality materials, supporting teachers to shift their practice, and design of assessments.