Science education news and updates from around the state and region.  


May 2015 Issue


You have received this email because of your involvement in science education reform efforts in the OESD 114 region.  Every month we will provide a round-up of the latest information related to state and national standards and assessment matters as well as other relevant information related to science education reform efforts from around our state and region. If you are not interested in receiving the Science Matters newsletter please see the unsubscribe button at the end of this message.

NGSS Introductory Videos

New Introductory Videos on the Teaching Channel
Recently Achieve in partnership with The Teaching Channel have released four new introductory videos developed to explain the vision behind the Next Generation Science Standards. There is an overview video explaining the larger shifts in the standards as well as a video for each of the dimensions of the standards. 

The videos show teachers engaged in learning about the dimensions of the NGSS. The short descriptions provided along with the visuals allow for a great introduction or extension of learning about the NGSS. 

Read more here

Master's Degree in Teacher Leadership

Seattle Pacific University 
in partnership with 
Olympic Educational Service District

Have you ever wanted to get your Master's degree but felt limited due to your remote location out here on the peninsula? 

Do you enjoy the idea of working through a program with other teachers from across the peninsula? 

Would you like to complete your Pro Teach or National Boards while earning your Master's in Teacher Leadership?

Seattle Pacific University and OESD 114 have partnered to offer a Master of Education Degree in Teacher Leadership designed for teachers wanting to earn a Master’s degree, who would like to learn more about assessment, curriculum, instruction and to empower teachers to become leaders in their schools but who may not be interested in being a principal. This program attracts newer teachers who also need to fulfill their Pro Teach requirement because they can take a Pro Teach or National Boards program through SPU as some of their elective credits.

The unique aspect of this program is that it is a cohort model where teachers within your own district/region all take the program together, about half of the classes are taught by your regional, qualified teachers/coaches and they are held in Bremerton. Teachers get a 20% discount in tuition for the classes held in Bremerton (approximately half of the total classes). Students in the cohort have the flexibility to truly use district-based issues, initiatives and context to learn the outcomes and goals of each of the classes since they are learning from others who work in the same region. Teachers would begin in the fall, take approximately two classes per quarter, typically one face-to-face (one evening per week), and one online.  It is really a great model for continuing the professional learning in a cohesive manner and supporting teachers as a group who want to earn their Master’s degree.

Spaces are filling up for this first cohort so act now to increase your chances of being accepted into this program.

To learn more about this opportunity you can attend an upcoming Open House on Thursday, May 21st at 4:30 pm at the OESD Bremerton office OR you can contact either Program Chair Robin Henrickson or Sandy Guessner OESD 114 contact

Robin Henrickson 

Sandy Gessner

Program Flyer

Life Science Teachers!

BioInteractive- Great Resource 

Free resources for science teachers and students including animations, short films, and apps. 

NGSS Now April Newsletter 

Read the most recent edition of Achieve's NGSS Now Newsletter by following this link.

Olympic Educational Service District Professional Learning 

If you have any questions related to the Next Generation Science Standards or the Common Core English Language Arts or Mathematics Standards please don't hesitate to contact any of our Coordinators at the contacts below:

Patricia Moore
English Language Arts Coordinator


Tamara Smith
Mathematics Coordinator




How will Science Education Change with the NGSS?

A Quick One Page Overview from the National Research Council 

Supporting Literacy Development Through Science  

How to shift your science instruction to better support students in reading and writing in five steps

Teach your students (and yourself) about the Claims-Evidence-Reasoning Framework and use that as the basis for talk and writing in your classroom. 

Scaffold student sense making and explanations through classroom talk (which isn't easy because it takes this) but check out these great resources to learn about Science Classroom Talk and Laying the Foundation for Productive Talk

Implement a school-wide focus on supporting students in arguing from evidence in both writing and speaking. Pester your ELA teacher to use the CER framework in their classes, promise them you will have your students write arguments in your classes. Use this to make the argument.

Try this Scaffold Tool for Supporting Students in Citing Evidence From Text
Reading informational text within the context of science instruction is a perfect way for students to gather evidence in constructing an understanding of a science concept. Using that evidence in support of a claim within the context of an argument either in writing OR in speaking is what is called for in the Next Generation Science Standards (Washington State Science Learning Standards 2013) and the Common Core State Standards (Washington State Learning Standards Math/ELA).

Here are two scaffolding tools that can be used to support students in identifying evidence, summarizing, and making claims based on their reading of informational text. 

Drawing Evidence From Text to Support Claims- Secondary 

Drawing Evidence From Text to Support Claims- Elementary


NGSS Free Online Instructional Resources

Here are some free and interactive educational resources that support the NGSS.

Concord Consortium: A non-profit educational educational technology laboratory for science, mathematics, and engineering. Highlights of this resource include:  Molecular workbench, NGSS Pathway,  

National Science Digital Library: 
The National Science Digital Library provides high quality online educational resources for teaching and learning, with current emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines—both formal and informal, institutional and individual, in local, state, national, and international educational settings. Most of the resources on the NSDL meet the principles of the Open Educational Resource (OER) access.

PhET Interactive Simulations: 
PhET provides fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. We extensively test and evaluate each simulation to ensure educational effectiveness. This resource is from the University of Colorado, Boulder. 


How do you support your students in scientific modeling?

Learn about the Science and Engineering Practice Developing and Using Models in 3 Steps
The Next Generation Science Standards place increased emphasis on students constructing explanations of science phenomena. This is a departure from past emphasis on students learning about the scientific method which is typically depicted as a linear set of steps scientists perform to test a hypothesis. Now more than ever it is important for students to have an expanded view of the scientific process, a view that includes understanding of the Science and Engineering Practice Developing and Using Models to support causal explanations of phenomena. 

Fortunately for us we have several resources that we can access to better understand the approach to engaging students in developing and using models. 

Here are some recommended actions you can take to better understand developing and using models with students:

  1. Read the STEM Teach Tools practice brief What is meant by engaging youth in scientific modeling?
  2. Read Models and Modeling: An Introduction to see some examples of how to anchor a science unit in a puzzling phenomena so students can model their partial understandings at the outset of instruction 
  3. Watch this video of a teacher describing how they prepare for a model-based inquiry unit of instruction


OSPI-Science Assessment Update

Here is the recent newsletter from the Science Assessment folks at OSPI.

Science Training Test for the Online Measurements of Student Progress (MSP)

The Science Training Test for the Grade 5 and the Grade 8 MSP is now available on the Washington State Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) Portal.  The WCAP portal is the access point for the Washington assessment system tools and resources.

The 2015 spring online Science MSP will use the same test engine/platform as the Smarter Balanced Assessments for ELA and Mathematics. There are several features on the test engine that will be different from prior versions of the online science tests:

  • There are no “click to enlarge” graphics, or bulleted lists in items.
  • Short answer items will not appear over multiple screens.
  • Items for a scenario will appear together on the right side of the screen, just like the ELA passages and items appear together on the Smarter Balanced test. 

Science Assessment Resources

Please visit the Science Assessment Educator Resources webpage to access a variety of documents intended to assist teachers, students, and parents in preparation for the Science MSP and Biology End-of-Course (EOC).

 Examples of resources include:

  • Science Short-Answer Scoring Trainings
    Video presentations showing how student responses are scored using rubrics for the Biology EOC/COE and Science MSP.
  • Science Assessment Updates
    These documents include: information about the science assessment system; sample items to familiarize teachers and students with the item types on the assessments; and scoring information for educators.
  • Lessons Learned from Scoring Student Work
    The Science Assessment Team shares observations about student responses for the Measurements of Student Progress and the Biology End-of-Course exam pilot items.
  • Science Short-Answer Item Templates
    Templates that can be edited for use in classroom practice by incorporating content from any unit in a science curriculum.

Science Assessment Development Update

WA State 2009 K-12 Science Learning Standards

Invitations to apply for summer Pilot Rangefinding and fall Data Review committees will be sent via GovDelivery in May. Information will be posted on the Science Assessment Professional Development Opportunities webpage.

WA State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards (NGSS)

Washington has joined a collaborative group of 13 states and 1 territory to begin the development of assessments based on the Next Generation Science Standards (known in Washington as the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards). The group work is being coordinated by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This group met for the first time in February. We will keep you posted about the progress of the collaborative, and if there are opportunities for educator reviews of documents during the development stages we will be sure to let you know.

The first state assessments for the new standards are expected no earlier than spring 2018.

Science Assessment Team Contacts

Dawn Cope
Science Assessment Lead
(360) 725-4989

Kara Todd*
Elementary Science Assessment Specialist
(360) 725-4979

Jessica Cole
Administrative Assistant
(360) 725-6298


*Kara will be on maternity leave through June 2015. 
Please direct all inquiries to Dawn and Jessica.


High School Evidence Statements

Now Available! 

Do you want further clarity and description on the performance expectations for the high school NGSS standards?

Are you interested in viewing a break down of the science and engineering practices as relates to each and every performance expectation at the high school level?

The NGSS Evidence Statements provide educators with additional detail on what students should know and be able to do. These Evidence Statements are statements of observable and measureable components that, if met, will satisfy NGSS performance expectations.  The high school statements are available now, and the K-8 statements will be coming soon.

Read more about the NGSS HS Evidence Statements

Got Engineering? 

As many science teachers across my region recognize, engineering is playing more of a prominent role in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

t isn't that engineering is completely new to us here in Washington State as we have had Application as an Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) in our 2009 Washington State Science Standards. These Application (EALRs) have similarities to the Engineering in the NGSS. 

However, now the authors of the NGSS have identified Engineering as a Disciplinary Core Idea and as a Practice for all students to know and understand. 

Here are a couple of quick links to help you learn more about Engineering in the NGSS:

Read Appendix I to get an overview about the Engineering Design Cycle

ook at the Matrix of Condensed Science and Engineering Practices from NSTA to see more specifically what skills students should demonstrate (grade bands)

ry a generic Engineering Challenge with your students to experience the design cycle and the fun!

ave your students compete in the West Sound STEM Engineering Challenge this April 25th at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale. See further information in this Science Matters newsletter.
For more information regarding these updates please contact Jeff Ryan at