JCPS teachers implementing new science standards - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS teachers implementing new science standards

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Teachers at Jefferson County Public Schools are in the early stages of implementing new science standards in the classroom.

The "Next Generation Science Standards" were published in April 2013. JCPS officials say they wanted to get a jump start on using the guidelines this academic year.

"They're seeing more hands-on learning, more hands-on practices at play in the classroom," said Meyzeek Middle School teacher Amy Strite.

Students in Strite's seventh grade science class worked on their final project of the year on Wednesday. It's a spin on the traditional "egg drop" science project that requires students to use different concepts they've been learning.

"You're going to be much more explicit in making connections to previous learning -- connections to these cross-cutting concepts that hopefully will let students see science learning as much more connected," Strite said.

School officials say the standards combine three dimensions: disciplinary core ideas, scientific practices and crosscutting concepts. It had been more than 15 years since the science education standards were revamped. JCPS Science Specialist Lee Ann Nickerson says changes were long overdue.

"Textbook lecture, work sheet science doesn't fit the bill," Nickerson said. She tells WDRB Kentucky was a "lead state" in developing the guidelines. That means state educators, like Nickerson, had a say in the process. She says the committee looked at multiple drafts of the standards and were able to give feedback. Nickerson says all Kentucky schools will have to start using the new standards next year, but JCPS decided to get a head start.

Strite says she's already seeing results.

"The data in my classroom has shown that it's been a benefit for the kids to be able to connect what we're learning now to what we learned six weeks ago, so that it's not just something that you learned, you took the test and moved on - everything is connected. Science is thematic in that way," Strite said.

JCPS administrators say that a partnership with the GE Foundation over the past several years has made it easier for them to transition into these new standards.

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