April 2023 - Science Educator Update

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Oregon Science Educator Update                                                                     April 13, 2023

Oregon State Capitol - Cherry Blossoms

April 2023 - Earth Day

Saturday, April 22, 2023, marks the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day! This year's theme is Invest in Our Planet. We hope you are able to enjoy the outdoors or participate in an upcoming event. The first Earth Day was held April 22, 1970. Organized by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, this inaugural event sparked a movement to raise environmental awareness in the United States.

Oregon Earth Day Events:

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Accepting Nominations - 2023 Science Instructional Materials Evaluation Committee 

The Oregon Department of Education is accepting reviewer nominations for the Summer 2023 evaluation of science instructional materials. District administrators and supervisors are highly encouraged to nominate teachers, curriculum specialists, or other experienced professionals with deep expertise and knowledge in science instruction and standards for grades K-12.

Nominated individuals will be asked to complete an application regarding their qualifications and experience. Those selected to participate will receive professional development and an honorarium. The nomination form will provide details on the expectations of committee member participation during this year’s evaluation.

Individuals on this committee will be responsible for reviewing submitted science instructional materials to be adopted by the State Board of Education. Nominations are open through April 28, 2023. Please use this nomination form to recommend qualified individuals.

Please share this opportunity with science educators and administrators in your network. For more information or questions, contact ODE’s Instructional Materials Coordinator Aujalee Moore.

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Summer 2023 OSAS Science Assessment Review Panel Opportunities

The Oregon Department of Education is currently recruiting educators to participate in the following OSAS Science Assessment Review Panels:

  • Multi-State Rubric Validation Panel: Sessions will be held remotely during the week of May 22-25, 2023 from 4pm-8pm.  Applications are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 28, 2023. For additional information, please refer to the complete recruitment letter.
  • Oregon Content and Fairness Review Panel and Data Review Panel: More details coming.

Participants will be paid either a stipend or an hourly rate for each session they participate in, please refer to each recruitment letter for specific details. If you have additional questions, contact Mariela Salas Bao, Science Assessment Specialist.

STEM Teaching Tool 90

Science Teaching and Learning Resources

The following list highlights science articles, resources, professional learning opportunities, and free tools and materials:

  • Library of Congress - Spring STEM Webinar Series: Innovative Classroom Connections to the Library of Congress. This three-part webinar series will be conducted by Jacqueline Katz, the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow for the Library of Congress. Sessions will take place April 12, April 19, and April 26; each one will begin at 4:00 pm ET.
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory staff will tag and release juvenile salmon that have been raised at the Aquatic Research Laboratory into the Columbia River as classrooms from around the region tune in via livestream broadcast April 17th - 18th. Teachers can reserve a 20-minute virtual session for their classroom at virtual Salmon Summit registration.
  • On the Farm STEM Experience, a free professional development opportunity that will deepen your understanding and application of Next Generation Science Standards through the lens of food systems and sustainability. Taking place in the Willamette Valley area in Oregon from August 15-18, 2023. Apply by May 15th on the On the Farm STEM website.
  • The Portland Metro STEM Partnership and GOSTEM will be holding numerous professional learning opportunities Spring - Summer 2023 for the High School Science for All, aka "Patterns" courses (Physics, Chemistry, Biology). Thanks to the WRAP (Well-Rounded Access Program) grant, PMSP is able to pay each Oregon high school science teacher participant $50/hour to attend school year PD sessions. Participants must be registered for the course through Wild Apricot in order to be paid. There is no cost to register for these courses. 
  • The Bonneville Power Administration 2023-2024 Science and Energy Education Grant application is now available April 3 through June 30, 2023.
  • Framework for Leading NGSS Standards Implementation - This framework provides a vision for what leaders need to know and be able to do to lead NGSS implementation, including key areas of learning for leaders, critical actions, and the role of data to inform and revise strategy.
  • The Council of State Science Supervisors developed the Science Professional Learning Standards (SPLS) to support science educators to make informed decisions about the features of quality professional learning experiences. These clear expectations can guide the evaluation and improvement of professional learning experiences that are sustained and coherent.
  • OER Climate Education Hub - These resources focus on climate education with the goal of continual development overtime and have a robust interdisciplinary collection of OER.
  • The STEM Teaching Tools Team and the Council of State Science Supervisors offered several presentations at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Atlanta last month. For those who were not able to attend the conference, they have uploaded the PowerPoints to a public Google Drive, where you can access the presentations and supporting materials on your own. 


ODE STEM Highlights

Do you integrate math, engineering and/or technology in science class? ODE has updated our STEM/STEAM website. In addition to background on STEM legislation in Oregon, and our STEM Hub Regional Network, you can also find current and often updated STEM resources. Please let us know if you have resources to add, feedback on the site, or questions.

Did you know that Oregon’s Regional STEM Hub networks now cover all school districts? You can check out what is happening at your STEM Hub, find resources and ways to get involved at the Oregon STEM website. Here we highlight two of the many projects happening at our amazing STEM Hubs. 

Mid-Valley STEM/CTE Hub, based in Albany and serving Linn and Benton Counties, has taken the lead on using Bee Bots in PreK-2nd grades to integrate computer science, digital literacy, science, technology, and math. Program Coordinator Chris Singer has trained educators, children, and STEM Hub leaders from around the state in  integrating lessons and reports with a high level of excitement and engagement for students from Pre-Kindergarten to 2nd grade. He has found that children love the colorful, little robots and show a high level of perseverance in solving problems with the bots. Watch Chris introduce a primary classroom to the bots on the Mid-Valley webpage here. He’s developed a number of grade-appropriate lessons seamlessly integrating math and science with coding. For more information, contact the Mid-Valley STEM/CTE Hub. To see if your regional STEM Hub is doing this or similar work, you can find contact information for all of Oregon’s Regional STEM Hubs here.  

Another exciting integration of science and STEM is happening at one of Oregon’s most rural STEM Hubs, the Frontier STEM Hub in Malheur County. Frontier STEM Hub, in partnership with OSU Extension - Malheur County, uses mobile makerspaces to meet youth and educators where they are, whether that's in a larger school serving hundreds of students or out at a small remote rural district serving 12 students. With the highest child poverty rate (30%, compared with a state average of 15%)  in the state, Frontier has found creative ways to increase access to science and STEM for all students in their region. Not only do these mobile makerspaces bring materials to underserved communities, but the project also focuses on fostering relationships and building students’ sense of belonging in STEM. A dedicated STEM TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) trains students and teachers in using more complex equipment and software, such as 3-D printers and CAD programs. Frontier STEM Hub received the National Award for Excellence in Teamwork presented by the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals for increasing access to makerspaces. In addition to outreach to children, youth, and educators, Frontier fosters partnerships with local and state businesses and institutions to make the project sustainable. For more information, check out Frontier’s website.


2023 OSTA Fall Conference and Upcoming Webinars

The Oregon Science Teachers Association is planning a 2-day conference with workshops and field trips on Friday, October 13th, and a traditional conference format (50 minute sessions) for Saturday, October 14th. The NGSS turns 10 this year and Oregon recently re-adopted the NGSS as the state science standards (6/2022). This conference is a wonderful opportunity to share best practices and other resources that support the NGSS, particularly 3-Dimensional Learning.

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Engaging Equity Professional Learning Series for Educators

When the Student Success Act (SSA) passed in May 2019, it was designed to provide the resources districts need for support. Beyond the formula dollars for grants, over the last three years, ODE has also worked in collaboration with community and education leaders, to provide better tools and resources to meet the promise of SSA. The Engaging Equity: Equitable Mindsets, Practices, and Systems professional learning series is one of those tools. 

This new professional learning series is open, universal, and invitational. The series equips educators to create positive connections and strengthen community and learning conditions to improve student outcomes. This opportunity is for adults, with the aim to improve educational conditions for each and every student given the changing demographics in Oregon. It is not a curriculum for students.

To learn more about the Engaging Equity PL series, please visit the Student Success webpage or review the Frequently Asked Questions document.

Students Hands Raised

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

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.