Further updates to report from the Science Curriculum Adoption Team for Seattle Public Schools.
As reported in a previous blog post, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) has committed to updating all of their science curriculum over the next few years. They are beginning with K-8, and will tackle high school next. This is a big step and commitment by the district because SPS serves over 54,000 children. There are many reasons why this is happening, but the 2013 Washington mandate to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is the primary reason.
The adoption team has met many times at the John Stanford Center Center for Educational Excellence to first create the assessment rubric, and then to review all vendors who responded to the Request for Information from the Department of Instructional Materials. Teams were divided into K-5 or 6-8, depending on their area of expertise, and were comprised of teachers, principals and community members. SoundBio’s Dir. of Outreach, Holly Sawyer, is part of the K-5 group.
The teams met and scored the curriculum packages based on their detailed assessment rubric. In addition, a public survey was offered to all SPS parents, asking about their concerns and priorities for science. Not surprisingly, hands-on learning (a cornerstone of SoundBio Lab), came in as the number one goal. Parents are also concerned about too much screen/computer time at school, and want more hands-on activities to stimulate curious minds.
Taking into account all of the above, 3 vendors have been chosen as our finalists. These finalists have just moved forward to field testing, at both K-5 and 6-8 schools, where they will be used in the classroom. A variety of schools across the district are represented to cover the diverse student body served by SPS. Once the testing is complete, a thorough analysis will be performed before the winners are selected. They will then be formally recommended to the Seattle School Board. Stay tuned as we follow this exciting new development in science learning!