California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative
A partnership among K-12 Alliance/WestEd, eight school districts, and two charter management organizations digging deep into California Next Generation Science Standards as an effort to share and support high-quality science teaching and learning across California and other NGSS-adopted states.
The California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve. This Initiative began in August of 2014 as a fast-start demonstration project to build local education agency (LEA) capacity to fully implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in grades K-8. Partners in the project are eight school districts, and two charter management organizations: Aspire, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, High Tech High, Kings Canyon Unified School District, Lakeside Union School District, Oakland Unified School District, Palm Springs Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, Tracy Unified School District, and Vista Unified School District. These LEA’s serve as a “lab” to selectively beta-test NGSS-aligned instructional materials, implementation tools, and performance assessment prototype items. Learnings from these districts will be shared statewide to advance high-quality science teaching and learning.
Follow our Twitter feed @EarlyImplement
- Aspire - Susheela Nath
- Galt Joint Union Elementary School District - Barbara Woods
- High Tech High - Ryan Gallagher
- Kings Canyon Unified School District - Lesley Gates
- Lakeside Union School District - Dave Tupper
- Oakland Unified School District - Claudio Vargas
- Palm Springs Unified School District - Peter A’Hearn
- San Diego Unified School District - Christy Compton Hall
- Tracy Unified School District - Debra Schneider
- Vista Unified School District - Susan Ritchie
- New - The Needle is Moving in CA K-8 Science.
- Read our column in California Classroom Science, NGSS Early Implementers.
- Find us at the California Science Education Conference.
- Our work has informed several sessions developed for the CA NGSS Roll Out.
The following are sessions at the California Science Education Conference led by K-12 Alliance directors, project directors, core leadership team members and/or teacher leaders of K-12 Alliance projects.
Sessions with the icon are presented by directors and teacher leaders in the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative
- SC1: Fostering a Science-Driven Language and Literacy Learning Environment (Diana Velez, K-5 Specialist, Lawrence Hall of Science UC Berkeley and Claudio Vargas, Coordinator, Science Programs, Oakland Unified School District
- SC4: Focus on the Practices: Math and Computational Thinking, Your New Favorite Practice (David Tupper, CaMSP Project Director/TOSA, San Diego COE and Jeremiah Potter, MS Science/NOYCE Master Teacher, Pacific Beach Middle School NGSS Early Implementation Initiative/San Diego USD)
- SC7: Integrating Science, ELA, and ELD: It All Works Together (Barbara Woods, Curriculum Specialist, Galt Elementary School District and Neika Estey, Teacher, 6th Grade, River Oaks Elementary)
- SC9: Digging In: Year 2 Lessons Learned from the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative (Kathy DiRanna, Statewide Director, K-12 Alliance @ WestEd)
- SC11: Project Prototype (CAMSP Cohort 10) NGSS Science and Engineering Lessons for Secondary Teachers (David Budai, Content Specialist: Elementary Science, Coachella Valley USD)
- SC12: How to Help School Districts Decide the Middle School Question (Jo Topps, Regional Director, K-12 Alliance/WestEd)
- SC13: Science and Literacy in Primary Grades (K-2): A Win-Win for both NGSS 3-D Science and CCSS ELA (Karen Cerwin, Regional Director, K-12 Alliance/WestEd)
- SC15: Using Phenomenon as a Tool for Integrating CA NGSS Middle School Instruction (Presenter: Christy Compton Hall, Science Resource Teacher, San Diego USD Office of Leadership & Learning)
- Engineering Bioethanol: An NGSS Classroom Experience (Matthew Krepps, Toro Canyon Middle School, CVUSD)
- The Use of Student Notebooks to Support 3D Learning: Modeling Chemical Reactions in 7th Grade (Lana Albertson, Bear Valley Middle School, EUSD)
- Reading in the Content Area (Sylvia Brown, Vista Innovation & Design Academy, VUSD)
- Purposefully Connecting Math Lessons to Science Activities to Strengthen Students’ Understanding of Science Concepts in Middle School (Susan Gomez-Zweip, Regional Director and Science Education Professor at CSU Long Beach, and David Harris, Regional Director and STEM Director of EUSD)
- NGSS Candy Catchers: Where Engineering Meets Science (Diane Deem, Temple Heights Elementary and Jenny Anderson, Teacher, K-12 Alliance/Casita Center VUSD)
- Roller Coaster Physics with NGSS (Rachael Tarshes, Pacific Beach Middle School, SDUSD)
- Gaining STEAM – using NGSS to Develop a School-Wide STEAM Focus (Don Whisman, Principal of Franklin Elementary STEAM Magnet, SDUSD)
- Reading in the Content Area (Sylvia Brown, Science Teacher, Vista Innovation & Design Academy, VUSD)
- Implementing the Middle School Integrated Curriculum Model (Herberta Zulueta, Middle School Science Specialist and James Narvaez, Roosevelt Middle School, OUSD)
- Let’s Talk Engineering (Lorena Sanchez, South West Park Elementary, TUSD)
- Life Cycles: A 3rd Grade Three Dimensional Learning Sequence (Heather Rodriguez, Riverview K-8 School, Theresa Mejia, McCord Elementary, and Bradley Schleder, Grant Middle School, KCUSD)
- Making Sense of Science Includes Speaking, Listening, Writing and Reading (Karen Cerwin, Regional Director, K-12 Alliance/WestEd)
- School-Wide STEAM Challenges (Thomas Nusser, Innovation Middle School, SDUSD)
- From Inquiry to NGSS 3D-Updating your File Cabinet (Rachel Poland, Innovation Middle School, SDUSD)
- Student Driven Inquiry Within NGSS (Annete Wilson and Marissa Born, science teachers, Vista Innovation & Design Academy, VUSD)
- English Language Development in an Inquiry Based Science Classroom (Jennifer Kassel, South/West Park Elementary, TUSD)
- Just Map It! (Alyssa Nemecek and Debbie Gordon, Vista Del Monte Elementary, PSUSD)
- Student Indicators of High Quality NGSS Learning (Herberta Zulueta, Middle School Science Specialist and Thomas Reinhardt, High School Science Specialist, OUSD)
- Building a Better Bar: An Engineering Task for Life Science and Chemistry (Patricia Huntington, Farb Middle School, SDUSD)
- Essences of Science Notebooks (Jeff Schmitz, Madison Middle School, and Susan Ritchie, Project Director, VUSD)
- Using LCAP to Leverage Science for ALL (Nicola Labas, Principal, Innovation Middle School, Kimberly Trench, Teacher, Dingeman Elementary, Jeremiah Potter, Teacher and NOYCE Master Teacher, Pacific Beach Middle, SDUSD AND Trish Williams, Member and Liason to NGSS and CS, California State Board of Education)
- How Clean is Clean? Engineering a Water Filtration System (Leah Wheeler, River Oaks Elementary and Lisa Hegdahl, McCaffrey Middle, GJUESD)
- The Sun Drives It! (Christina Miramontes, Bella Vista Elementary, PSUSD)
- Cha cha Changin’ (Debbie Gordon, and Alyssa Nemecek, Vista Del Monte Elementary, PSUSD)
Susheela Nath, Project Director
Logical, innovative, organized, problem solver, critical thinker, and fun loving are a few qualities that I poses. I am a native of Stockton, CA where I graduated high school as valedictorian and moved away to go to college to UC Santa Barbara. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science as Summa Cum Lade with a major in BioChemistry and a minor in Physics. With medicine being my focus I moved back to Stockton to attend the University of the Pacific, where I was accepted into their pharmacy school. After two years of pharmacy school I became very bored and I needed some excitement in my career choice. Seeing that I come from a long lineage of educators I decided to complete the teacher credential program and my Masters of Arts in Education with a specific focus in Curriculum and Instruction through UOP. Even though I had a major change to the education field I could never let go of my love and curiosity for the medical field. While working on my masters for the education I was concurrently working on and finished my Masters of Science in Forensic Science. Once again I graduated Summa Cum Lade for both masters degree as well. As is if working towards two masters degrees wasn’t enough I was also pregnant with my first child, Mason Marley Memory. Needless to say I delivered Mason shortly after graduation with both of these degrees.
My teaching career started with Stockton Unified School District, where my first teaching assignment was 4th grade. During my 5 year span at SUSD, I taught grades 8 through 12 and was assigned to be a literacy and science specialist to Pulliam Elementary School. Due to unforeseen outcomes specialist positions were being cut and I had to seek employment elsewhere. The science lead teacher from Aspire Ben Holt Academy heard about my teaching skills and came to observe my teaching. Soon I was called by the principal of that school and offered a job with Aspire. After being in the classroom for a few more years my knack for the medical field kept getting stronger and I decided to apply for medical school. As soon as I found out my acceptance into the medical school, I also found out that I was pregnant with baby #2, Mia Minét Memory. Medical school has been put on hold and my work with Aspire has continued. As the Science Content and Curriculum Lead for Aspire and Science Instructional Coach for the Central Valley my work is not yet done and I am looking forward to making the science program at Aspire Public Schools amazing and innovative. As life has thrown me curve balls along the way I have preserved to be the person that I am today. My life and journey have just began and the future holds many blessings and possibilities. Stay tuned for what is yet to come as the best has only scratched the surface…CLOSE
Galt Joint Union Elementary School District
Barbara Woods, Project Director
Barbara Woods is a Curriculum Coach in the Galt Elementary Joint Unified School District and the district Project Director for participation in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative through the K-12 Alliance/WestEd. With an emphasis on supporting district-wide systems change, Barbara has served in many district leadership positions involving implementation of standards and initiatives for twenty seven years, including Math and ELA Common Core and the NGSS. She has taught in a variety of elementary and middle school grades, including specializing in core math and science instruction. Her areas of focus include providing professional learning and serving students as a Gifted and Talented Specialist as well as intervention and support for English Learners and other students in math, reading, and writing. Barbara has provided professional development throughout California for the Environmental Education Initiative as a Teacher Ambassador.CLOSE
High Tech High
Ryan Gallagher, Project Director
Ryan Gallagher is a Project Director of the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative at HTH and helps to facilitate and support various improvement science projects at High Tech High. He has taught middle and high school within the High Tech High system since 2004. Last year, Ryan co-designed and facilitated HTH’s Deeper Learning MOOC. Ryan holds undergraduate degrees from UC San Diego and was a member of the first graduating cohort of students in the HTH GSE where he is now a faculty member. Ryan is a member of the Distinguished Educators Panel at the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center and is featured in Kathleen Cushman’s recent book The Motivation EquationCLOSE
Kings Canyon Unified School District
Lesley Gates, Project Director
Prior to her role as project director, Lesley taught biology at Reedley High School and was also the Science Department Chair. She has been involved in science education for over 18 years. After completing her BS in Marine Biology and MA in Education from UC Santa Cruz, Lesley served as the Education Specialist at the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno. She has created science curriculum for preschool through college-aged students and conducted science professional development for teachers. Since the state adoption of NGSS, Lesley has participated in a variety of NGSS-related committees including the NGSS Science Assessment Stakeholder group, NGSS Digital Library Stakeholder group, and NGSS Framework Focus Group member. She has presented at the California NGSS Rollouts I and II and has served as NGSS Early Implementers’ cadre. Lesley enjoys spending time with her family exploring ocean shorelines and hiking mountain trails.CLOSE
Lakeside Union School District
Dave Tupper, Project Director
Dave Tupper is the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative Project Director for Lakeside Union School District, an SDSU NOYCE Master Teacher Fellow, and current Board Chair of the Lakeside River Park Conservancy. Dave is a former elementary and middle school science teacher and 2016 San Diego County Teacher of the Year Finalist. Prior to his current position, he most recently worked as a 7th Grade science teacher at Tierra del Sol Middle School in Lakeside, as well as the Project Director for a Ca. Math Science Partnership Grant servicing 3 districts near Lakeside. Additionally, Dave served on the 2015 California Framework Content Committee for the California Science Framework. He has a BS in Kinesiology from SDSU and an MS in Curriculum & Instruction from Chapman University.CLOSE
Oakland Unified School District
Claudio Vargas, Project Director
Claudio Vargas B. is the Coordinator of K-12 Science Programs at the Oakland Unified School District. He directs and supports the implementation of two multi-year science grants, working with Teacher Leaders, principals, and schools. Before joining OUSD, Mr. Vargas served as the Director of the Bay Area Science Project (BASP) at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). Mr. Vargas has led numerous professional development programs throughout the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Texas. He has designed and implemented K – 8 professional development programs that focus on developing teachers’ science content knowledge and expanding their teaching strategies, with particular emphasis on strategies that provide English Language Learners with access to the core curriculum.
Prior to joining LHS, Mr. Vargas worked for 10 years as a bilingual K – 5 teacher and a science coach in the Oakland Unified School District, 11 years as a science researcher at the School of Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, and 9 years at the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Minnesota.CLOSE
Palm Springs Unified School District
Peter A’Hearn, Project Director
Peter A'Hearn is the K-12 Science Specialist in Palm Springs Unified School District. His daily role is to coach science teachers through professional development, facilitating collaboration, modeling teaching, and co- teaching. His expertise is in inquiry based science instruction. Peter has taken a state and national leadership role in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and has been invited to be a panelist on many national meetings. He is a lead writer and presenter for the California NGSS Statewide Rollouts and a Project Director on the California NGSS Early Implementer Initiative. Together with James Jared Taylor he created a set of symbols for the NGSS Crosscutting Concepts that are being used in classrooms nationwide. In a past life he was the founding brewmaster of Ballast Point Brewing Company.CLOSE
San Diego Unified School District
Christy Compton Hall, Project Director
Christy Compton Hall is the San Diego Unified School District Project Director for the K-8 CA NGSS Early Implementers Initiative.
Compton Hall has 20 years of teaching experience in San Diego Unified School District. She taught middle school science, math and AVID grades 6-8, and high school Biology, Physics and Advanced Physics. She has past experience as a district science resource teacher for high school and her current role is serving as a district science resource teacher supporting NGSS implementation in grades K-8.
Growing up in the Metropolitan DC area, her love for science and the natural world stemmed from ecological studies of the Chesapeke Bay region. She interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum analyzing data on coral growth rates. Her first job was for NOAA writing FORTRAN code tracking drifter data at the 106-Mile Dumpsite.
Compton Hall received a BS in animal physiology and neuroscience with minors in French literature and teacher education from UCSD. She also received her biology teaching credential and MA in curriculum development from UCSD.CLOSE
Tracy Unified School District
Debra Schneider, Project Director
Debra Schneider is the Director of Instructional Media Services and Curriculum for Tracy Unified School District, Project Director of TUSD's K-8 NGSS Early Implementation Initiative, and a Teacher Consultant of the UC Davis History Project and the CSU Stanislaus Great Valley Writing Project. She earned a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture from UC Berkeley and a Teacher Librarian Credential from San Jose State University; she supervises 16 library sites in TUSD. She has taught reading, writing, and history to middle and high school student, with a special focus on teaching English Language Learners. She directs the ELA and Science initiatives at TUSD.CLOSE
Vista Unified School District
Susan Ritchie, Project Director
Susan Ritchie is currently the Project Director with the Vista Unified School District for the CA NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. Over a four-year period, as the project director for VUSD, she is a part of the core leadership team with K-12 Alliance working to collaboratively develop and participate in leadership training for teachers and administrators, and in teacher professional development in content and pedagogy to meet the conceptual shifts required by NGSS. Prior to this position Susan has worked for the VUSD in many capacities. She worked as a Content Support Resource Teacher for Common Core (2013-2015) developing and leading implementation for sites, teachers and administrators and was the Math Cohort & Math Task Force Lead (2014-2015). She taught at Casita Center for Technology, Science and Math as a math, science and technology specialist as well as a K-5 classroom teacher from 1992-2005 and 2007- 2013. Susan was a Distinguished Teacher in Residence at CSUSM from 2005-2007 and has continued to lecture in the Elementary Mathematics courses for the College of Education at CSUSM. She also continues to present at conferences and seminars on the topics of CCSS Mathematics and NGSS.CLOSE