October 2022 - Science Educator Update

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Oregon Science Educator Update                                                                October 7, 2022

2023 Teacher of the Year Logo

Congratulations to Rosa Floyd!

Please join me in congratulating Rosa Floyd, educator at Nellie Muir Elementary School, as she was named and celebrated as Oregon’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. She was recognized for her deep commitment to students and families, her classroom expertise and creativity, and decades of dedication to colleagues and community. To read more about her accomplishments, our 2023 Regional Winners, and to learn more about this award, please visit the Oregon's Teacher of the Year website. 

Indigenous People's Day

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Although International Indigenous Peoples' Day is recognized in August, Indigenous Peoples' Day, is celebrated in Oregon this year on October 10th

Oregon has many different Indigenous communities including nine federally recognized tribes: Burns Paiute of Harney County; Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians; Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; Confederated Tribes of Siletz; Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Reservation; Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians; Coquille Indian Tribe; and Klamath Tribes.

Here are some additional resources as you continue to engage diverse voices, contributions, and perspectives in science education this month and beyond


What Makes a Phenomenon
Compelling to Students?

In this newly released open education professional learning resource, Attending to Student Interests and Community Priorities in Phenomena, educators will explore different classes of meaningful phenomena (using the framework of Suárez & Bell, 2019):

  1. Everyday phenomena, which all students will be able to experience in class or have experienced outside of class,
  2. Contemporary scientific phenomena, which relate to current science, most often science that is in the news today because it is unsettled or sparks controversy;
  3. Societally relevant phenomena, which relate to science-technology intersections, connects to care and concern and enables students to see connections to social and socio-ecological justice; and
  4. Culturally relevant phenomena, which are grounded in the worlds of specific communities in culturally significant ways and allows students to draw on ways of knowing from families and cultural communities.

This resource was developed by the Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE, or “access”) project—a collaboration between the Council of State Science Supervisors, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Washington Seattle.


Nominate an Outstanding 7-12 Science Educator

The PAEMST program is pleased to announce that nominations and applications for the 2022–2023 awards cycle are open.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K–12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching.

Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional STEM teachers who are currently teaching grades 7-12 for the 2022–2023 award year. Teachers may also apply directly at www.paemst.org.

The nomination deadline is January 9, 202 and the application deadline is February 62023

Radio Lab for Kids

New Podcast for Kids from Radiolab

Terrestrials, a new podcast from WNYC Studios, is a show for people of all ages that explores the strangeness that exists right here on Earth. In each episode, host Lulu Miller (co-host of Radiolab) will introduce you to a creature or earthly phenomenon that will defy your expectations of how nature is supposed to work. Along the way, you'll encounter a chorus of experts, including scientists and much more. 

Do your best

2022-2023 Interim Assessments Now Available

Oregon’s Interim Assessments in ELA, Math, and Science are now available for the 2022-2023 school year. Schools and districts may administer these assessments to students in-person or remotely. Information and professional learning resources to support test selection, administration, scoring, and data use are available on ODE’s Interim Assessment webpage

Contact your District Test Coordinator (DTC) to activate interim assessments. Please contact Andrew Byerley, Math Assessment Specialist, with questions or support needs.

Puzzle Pieces

Connect with other Science Educator Leaders Across Oregon

The Oregon Science Leaders (OSL) is looking to connect with other passionate K-12 science educators across Oregon. If you are interested in learning and sharing how to make science education programs equitable and student-focused, and create a collective science education vision, please consider joining the OSL. The group meets every second Tuesday of the month (12:00 - 1:00 pm PST) via Zoom. The first kickoff meeting will be Tuesday, October 11th. If you are interested in receiving OSL updates and meeting information, please join the OSL Google Group.  


Teaching about Climate and Energy

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) is led by the science education expertise of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. As of 2012, CLEAN has been syndicated to NOAA's climate.gov portal. Here are a few resources to highlight:

  • Teaching Climate/La Enseñanza de la Ciencia Del Clima - Walk students through key components of the climate system: the Sun, the atmosphere, life on Earth, human impacts, how scientist study climate, and actions humans can take.
  • Teaching Energy/Enseñar temas sobre energía - Trace the story of energy in our lives, beginning with the physics of energy and how energy flows throughout the earth system. Explore energy's influence on human society, sources of energy, the ways we use energy, how we make decisions about energy, and the impacts of energy use.
  • Guidance in Elementary Teaching about Climate and Energy - Find advice, ideas, and strategies for elementary educators for teaching climate and energy in elementary grades.
  • Culturally Relevant Climate Teaching - The Living Landscapes project is a set of educational resources designed to integrate traditional knowledge (Native Science) about the climate with current climate research.

Love to Learn Logo

Workshops, Webinars and Opportunities

  • October 14 and October 15, 2022, the Smithsonian Science Education Center is offering a free online professional learning opportunity entitled, Attracting All Learners to STEM Using Culturally Based Pedagogy. Click here to learn more and register.
  • November 30, 2020, Vernier Science Education Inspiration Grants applications are due. This new grant program recognizes innovative educators who currently engage—or seek to engage—their students through creative implementation of Vernier technology.
  • Ongoing, the STEM Teaching Tools Team at UW Seattle runs the Climate Teacher Education Collaborative, a network that aims to build resources and capacity to teach about community climate justice projects and civic response to the climate crisis in teacher education programs. Click here to learn more and watch recorded webinars.
  • OngoingNational Academies Webinar Series on: Science and Engineering in Preschool Through Elementary Grades: The Brilliance of Children and the Strengths of Educator. Their previous recordings can be found under past events. In addition, Betsy Davis, Chair of this committee, has released a framework for teaching science for equity and justice
  • Ongoing, California Academy of Sciences has a science video vault for classrooms, NGSS Demystified videos and additional science teaching resources.

ODE compact logo

LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan and Resources

As recommended by the Statewide LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan, adopted by the Oregon State Board of Education, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is committed to demonstrating leadership to districts, schools and families by continuously "collecting and disseminating resources, providing guidance, addressing violations of policy in a timely manner, and proactively building districts' capacity to create trusting, connected and inclusive environments." 

For additional resources and to sign up for the newsletter, please visit the Inclusive Instructional Materials Examples and the ODE LGBTQ2SIA+ resource webpage.

Girl with Microscope

Looking Back and Looking Forward at Implementation of the Framework's Vision for Equitable Science Teaching

Authored by William R. Penuel: Next Gen Navigator Guest Editor

A total of 48 states and the District of Columbia have now adopted standards based on A Framework for K–12 Science Education (National Research Council 2012). But adoption is just one important step in implementation. As science education leaders know, helping students, families, educators, and other leaders in school systems and communities move toward realizing the vision of the Framework takes a long time.

The first wave of standards taught us much about what is required to support standards implementation. First, curriculum is key. Good instructional materials are important because they provide models for what a new vision of teaching and learning can look like in practice (Cohen and Hill 2001). Second, both teachers and leaders need sustained opportunities to learn. When professional development is coherent, sustained, and focused on practice, educators can and do make significant changes to their teaching (Supovitz and Turner 2000). Third, policy makers and leaders at different levels of the system—federal, state, and local—need to create a coherent infrastructure of support for new standards. That is, they need to ensure that available instructional materials and professional development opportunities, as well as assessments and systems for teacher evaluation, are aligned to the new vision (Linn et al. 2008).To access the full article, please go to the NextGenNavigator web page.

Milky Way

Updated 2022 K-12 Science Standards

On June 16, 2022, the State Board of Education adopted the 2022 Oregon Science Standards, which represent K-12 learning expectations in science education for all students and are a foundational expectation of the Oregon Diploma.

While the specific language of the 2022 Oregon Science Standards remain essentially the same as the 2014 Oregon Science Standards (NGSS), there are three areas of updates to note:

  • All K-5 Science Standards have clarification statements and assessment boundaries 
  • Elevated opportunities for climate change education across the K-12 standards. A caret or up arrow (^) was added to those standards that have proximal connections to climate change 
  • Flexibility for districts to develop middle school science standards sequences based on localized needs.

Additional updates and resources such as standards level guidance documents, learning progressions, and crosswalks can be found on the Science Standards page.

For additional information or questions, please contact Jamie RumageODE Science Education Specialist.

Students Hands Raised

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Deb Bailey or Kama Almasi, STEM Education Specialists, or Jamie Rumage, Science Education Specialist, if you have any questions or concerns.

If you have other colleagues that are interested in receiving this newsletter, please direct them to this science newsletter registration page.

The materials contained in the Department of Education’s Oregon Science Educator Update are drawn from both internal and external sources and inclusion of external materials does not necessarily indicate Oregon Department of Education endorsement.