New Haven Science News Feb 9, 2015                     

Science Fair

       Please note the timeline for this years New Haven Science Fair at Teachers should continue to request project boards and mentors using the online forms. NHPS schools should make sure they submit their participation form as soon as possible. Note that the deadline for getting preapproval for projects from the Scientific Review Committee is in March, and that if a school is holding a school fair, it must be completed before April 9th for projects to be registered before April break. The citywide fair is Tue May 12th (setup on May 11th, awards May 13th).


Elementary Science Kits

       Science kits will be picked up March 16th, and the spring rotation delivered before April break. Continue to contact the Science Resource Center, 9462818, with any questions and refer to the kit rotation and grade level resource pages. Please continue to make sure that elementary students are getting the essential science learning they need and deserve through the district guidelines of 100 minutes/week of hands on instruction.


2015 Science CMT/CAPT

       2015 Science CMT for all grades 5 and 8 students on Mar 11, and science CAPT for all 10th graders (and retesters, those who have not met proficiency) will be administered March 10/11. These tests DO count in the state school/district accountability measures. Catherine McCaslin has sent details of test administration and held training Feb 910 for school coordinators. Reminder that all students, including ELL, take science (or the science checklist), and that the limited accommodations should be entered by Feb 13. Reminder that at all grade levels, the content tested was taught over several years. Inquiry questions still make up nearly half the test questions, so it is important to continue to teach and review these skills.

  Some schools have also been selected to participate in the supplemental pilot science for one grade, which is one additional test session, either paper or optional online.

For 5th grade CMT: Teachers should finish the 5th grade units on sound, light/color/lenses, senses, and earth/moon. It is recommended they complete the 5th grade performance task Catch It after Feb break. There are also review questions (with teachers guide) .

For 8th grade CMT: Teachers should finish the 8th grade units on erosion, plate tectonics. It is recommended they review other middle school

performance tasks, and use the review questions (with teachers guide) after break.

For high school CAPT: Teachers should finish all units, and plan to do the yeast population performance task after Feb break. There are also review questions and materials available. Many high schools will have the 9th grade PhyChem teachers do a review with 10th grade Biology students as well.


Science Outreach 

       Please continue to share with students and parents events they can attend at Yale. We also would like teachers to start thinking about students to nominate for the Yale Pathways to Science program soon.


Update on transition to new science standards. 

  In 2013, the Next Generation Science standards were published by Achieve, based on the Frameworks for science education. The Connecticut NGSS leadership team and content review committee has examined them, and conducted a content crosswalk. They have been presented to the Connecticut State Board of Education subcommittee on standards, and were initially presented to the SBE on Feb 4th , with testimony supporting them. Further public comment and outreach will be conducted before they are voted on and an adoption timeline is decided. It may not be decided until late spring or early fall 2015. It is 90% probable that for K-5, the standards will be adopted grade by grade as they are listed. Middle school is uncertain. High school would be by grade band, and lots of decisions about requirements and certifications remain.

  These new standards are based on current science learning research and have performance expectations which interweave core disciplinary ideas, cross cutting concepts and scientific practices. . An overview of the content as compared to CT/New Haven now is posted. About a third of the content overlaps with current CT content/grade bands, a third is shifted content, and a third is new content. New content is mostly in middle/high school, focusing on areas of physics, engineering, technology, and earth science.

  There is a greater emphasis on all scientific practices, meaning lab activities are more important than ever. While the concepts of investigations and controlled experiments remain, there is also a greater emphasis on the practices of modeling, mathematical analysis (overlaps with CCSS), and argumentation from evidence (overlaps with CCSS) and engineering. Support and professional development materials, including an app, are available at NSTA or NGSS websites.



New Standards (continued)

  There are NO significant changes to New Haven science curriculum, courses, tests, or materials anticipated for 2015-16, we still follow current state science content, inquiry standards and grade level expectations. Revised versions of performance tasks will be developed by NHPS science curriculum facilitators to pilot, these will first focus on the overlapping content areas, and add more on the science practices and CCSS connections. There are many training materials available. New Haven teachers will be receiving professional development, starting with practices, as the transition happens.

  High school course requirements remain as current: all students are expected to master PhyChem, Biology, and Chemistry as detailed in NHPS pacing, and highly recommended to take other fundamental science courses, such as Physics. It is possible that eventually PhyChem content may need to add more Physics content and Biology and Chemistry more connections to EarthEnvironmental science to match these standards. Transition in elementary school may require new/shifted kits which we will be looking at. Middle schools may need new materials as well, and that info will be updated as needed.

  NGSS has come up with implementation guidelines and evidence statements (like GLE/GLCs) and assessment tasks, which are similar to the tasks the secondary science folks have been working on at ACES that link to CCSS, as well as revised the EqUIP rubric to examine curriculum and materials.


CMT/CAPT State Assessment Future:

  Science testing in elementary, middle, and high school remains REQUIRED by federal law, and as part of the Connecticut NCLB Waiver. As presented in January, the science scores remain part of each school/district academic achievement performance index in CTs upcoming waiver application as well (1/3 of the academic achievement score for tested grades). There is a chance that CT may be able to join some sort of an assessment collaborative, either through the Council of Chief State School Officers or a New England group, still unknown.   The state has put out a Request for Proposal for the next four years of state science assessments, which details possible timelines, including development of a more detailed formative interim assessment system. It is expected that the science assessments will transition to online assessments (in 2016 or 2017?), and that there is a possibility that the high school assessment will move to 11th grade (in 2019?), and that eventually the science assessment will test 100% NGSS standards (in 2019 or 2020?). Current district assessments/curriculum will thus remain aligned to current CMT/CAPT standards and adjusted as the transition occurs.


Connections to Common Core

  New Haven science teachers continue to receive professional development about connections to Common Core State Standards in literacy and in mathematics. There are many overlaps with the NGSS standards and CCSS. Since 2012 there have been sessions focusing on the CCSS HST standards, text based questions, writing for meaning, the meaning and selection of non-fiction text (including multi formats/media), evidence from text, vocabulary instructional techniques, peer discourse,  question-answer relationships, instructional techniques on argumentation from evidence.

  Teachers are expected to use these instructional strategies, as well as research based best practice in science instruction, including constant lab activities, in their lessons.



  Please take advantage of links and resources for STEM careers for students as well. Page includes videos and information useful for


Science Staff

       Thanks to the administrators, coaches, community volunteers and others who encourage science learning and events in their schools. Please continue to let us know of events, such as Family Science Nights and career days, and how we can help.


       Please also take time to thank Cindy.Viera , our Science Resource Center manager, and Lana.Rowan and Matthew.Erickson, secondary science mentors. We continue to thank all science teachers for the outstanding work they do with students every day, and make them realize that science is the key to their future!



Please contact with questions:

Richard Therrien

K12 Science Supervisor