(Carson, CA) – A California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) teacher-training program that combines classroom training, real-time feedback, and group collaboration received the most votes in the “learn” category of the Goldhirsh Foundation’s My LA2050 Activation Challenge. The result: a $200,000 LA2050 grant to expand the program to more schools. The crowdsourcing contest seeks innovative programs to make Los Angeles the best place to learn, live, connect, play, and create by 2050.
Developed by CSUDH’s Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE) in partnership with The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs (The L.A. Coalition), the Next Generation Science Standards: Empowering Teachers to Empower Students for the Future of STEM program was tested as a pilot this past school year in K-9 schools in CSUDH’s service area, enabled by a $50,000 grant from City National Bank. The participant survey results from that pilot were overwhelmingly positive.
With the LA2050 grant and an additional $25,000 from the Annenberg Foundation to challenge winners, the program will be rolled out as early as fall 2018 to teachers in LAUSD-Local District South schools in San Pedro, Lomita, Gardena, and South L.A., as well as the Compton Unified School District.
“Generally speaking, professional development has not been well received by teachers, but when it is meaningful, thoughtful, and methodical it becomes sought after and endures,” said Kamal Hamdan, CSUDH Annenberg endowed professor and director of CISE. “That is what we have been experiencing during the NGSS teacher training pilot. The teachers appreciate what they’ve learned and the peer and expert support. It has been really powerful, and several more school districts are already interested. We thank the L.A. Coalition for helping make this possible.”
The four-stage program addresses the need to align teacher training to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which were adopted for California K-12 public schools five years ago and serve as the framework for the teaching of science. With more in-depth training, teachers will have the added tools they need to effectively teach the new and innovative standards and ultimately better engage students in science learning.
Two cohorts of 50 teachers (100 total) will participate in the program. CISE representatives will collaborate with school district superintendents and STEM coordinators to identify which schools will most benefit from training, followed by classroom trainings where teachers will learn about NGSS standards.
After the classroom trainings NGSS experts from CSUDH and teachers will meet one-on-one to outline the focus of the classroom observation and review their lesson plans. The experts will then observe and document evidence of successful teaching practices during the lesson and provide formal feedback. During the final stage the teacher trainees team up without the NGSS experts to engage in the same planning-teaching-observation process, followed by lesson evaluation and refinement.
The success and upcoming launch of CSUDH’s NGSS program have also been made possible by the leadership of the Coalition’s Deputy Director for Workforce Development Leah Johnson, and through the support of the organization’s Executive Director Michael H. Kelly.
“We are very excited about this win because of what it means for L.A.’s future. We have significant work to do to inspire more students to pursue STEM related careers and to prepare them for the rigorous post-secondary degree programs that will get them there,” said Leah Johnson, Deputy Director, Workforce Development at The L.A. Coalition. “Investing in the K-9 science teachers that stand in front of our students daily is the best way to make a dent. This training program will ultimately translate into more students able to compete for these growth professions and more LA-based employers able to hire the talent they need to grow.”