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California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative

The initiative is a partnership among K-12 Alliance@WestEd, the California Department of Education, Achieve, and eight school districts, and two charter management organizations who are engaged in 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 partner districts and charters 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.

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Project Directors


Conference Sessions

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

  • Short Courses

    • 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)
  • Workshops

    • 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)

2016 California Science Education conference