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learn Finalist

Science, Technology, Education for the Next Generation

Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE)

Non-profit organization

We will provide dynamic training and mentoring to fifty K-9 teachers in LAUSD Local District South on the state adopted, industry recognized Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In 2013, California adopted the NGSS, modernizing an outdated curriculum and endorsing a more impactful way to teach students. Six years later, implementation is still uneven with limited teacher training in L.A. Teachers trained on the new standards will inspire and enable their students to pursue STEM careers.



What does your organization do?

CISE brings STEM to the forefront of K-16 education by partnering with schools, community colleges, philanthropic and industry leaders to enable transformative and inspiring learning experiences.

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

The following is an abridged account from one of the staff members of the CISE team. In that account, this individual shares the experience of growing up in a home where domestic violence was common and he/she became a ward of the state after a suicide attempt, when the abuse was discovered. These details have been omitted to ensure privacy.

“…I found myself with the prospect of graduating [CSUDH] but without a clue of what my next steps would be. This is when I met Dr. Hamdan, my current Director and mentor. He encouraged me to become a math teacher, because I minored in math and because there was a shortage of individuals like me in the field. Some people have credited my success to my resilience but I know better. It is due to the educators that knew my story and didn’t lower the bar for me, out of pity. Dr. Hamdan was able to see my potential, even before I could see it, rather than the broken young adult that others saw. Although my story is difficult to tell, today I write it in order to acknowledge the impact that the MISTI and TTT program, which Dr. Hamdan accepted me to, had on my success. The programs provided me with support and guidance and surrounded me with good people. This may not sound like a lot but for someone who is the first to attend college, it is the difference between making it or not making it to the finish line…

…After teaching for four year, I went back to school to obtain a Masters in Educational Leadership. Upon graduating, I reached out to Dr. Hamdan for assistance in securing a vice-principal position. To my surprise, he offered me a position on his team. Dr. Hamdan never lowered his expectations and always pushed me to be the best in all I did. It was his demand that I produced the best that prepared me for my current role. In my current role, my realm of influence is more than I could have ever imagined and more than anyone ever expected from me. So I end with a sincere thank you to Dr. Hamdan (and his team), and to other critical mentors, for believing in me and for having high expectations for me.”

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • College and community college completion rates
  • College matriculation rates
  • Students’ immersion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math content

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • South LA
  • South Bay
  • LAUSD

How will your project make LA the best place to learn?

Our project is an NGSS training for fifty K-9 LAUSD Local District South teachers that includes a dynamic combination of classroom training, real-time feedback, and group collaboration. To really bring the practical application of science to life for students, teachers will also be trained in the use of advanced fabrication laboratory equipment for curriculum design and delivery.

LAUSD Local District South encompasses San Pedro, Lomita, Gardena, South LA, and South Central LA. We chose this district because of limited implementation and the largest achievement gaps in science among student groups are defined by race and income. LAUSD enrollment is 90% students of color and 80% are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Within Local District South, we will recruit teachers mainly from schools who have a “STEAM Academy” and/or “STEAM Lab”. Additionally, we will guide schools that have a “STEAM Lab” on how to furnish the lab and make it operational to develop their own capacity to manage and operate the lab, engaging students in advanced fabrication technology.

The training will be rolled out on the following timeline:

Months 1-2: Teacher Selection - CISE will consult superintendents and STEM/STEAM coordinators to identify which schools will most benefit from training. Principals at selected schools will recommend 2-3 teachers.

Months 3-4: 4 Days of NGSS Classroom Training - Teachers will be trained on the conceptual and instructional shifts from the current standards. They will learn the three dimensions of NGSS, analyze lesson plans, and break down new performance expectations.

Months 5-8: Lesson Study Cycles — Teachers will be grouped by grade level and work closely with an NGSS Expert to identify a focus based on student data and co-develop an NGSS aligned lesson. Teams of trainees will engage in collaborative planning-teaching-observation of learning, followed by lesson evaluation and refinement. Experts will lead a debrief to inform next steps and guide a second round of lesson study.

Months 9-10: Fabrication Technology Certification - Teachers will be trained to use advanced fabrication equipment, such as 3D printers, Vinyl cutters, Laser Cutters, and CNC Routers, and to incorporate the engineering practices into their science lessons. With expert guidance, teachers will develop a unit of instruction that is NGSS aligned and demonstrates their ability to incorporate fabrication technology into their instruction.

Months 1-12: Ongoing Evaluation and Revision

LA cannot be the best place to learn if our science teachers can’t prepare students for college, careers and citizenship. Limited NGSS implementation is troubling in California where only 24% of 4th and 8th graders test proficient on the National Assessment of Education Progress in Science. We have trained 100 teachers with 50 more currently in training. The feedback has been outstanding with the majority highly rating its effectiveness and 100% willing to recommend it to peers.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success is defined by the impact participating teachers have on student learning. In the near-term, this will be measured based upon 1) Participant Surveys: Participating teachers will complete a survey at the end of each training day and at the end of each lesson study cycle assessing training effectiveness; 2) Expert Observations & Evidence: NGSS training team members (experts) will participate in lesson study cycle as observers and will gather evidence based upon an instrument used for teacher observations by the district to evaluate performance; 3) Expert Review of Developed NGSS Lessons: Training team experts will review lesson plans developed by participating teachers for the lesson study cycles to assess quality based upon NGSS standards; 4) Consistent Attendance: Tracking attendance for all components of the training (in-person training, lesson study cycles, etc.); 5) Summative hands-on assessment to show mastery of the use of fabrication equipment and how to integrate this technology into NGSS based curriculum.

In the long-term, we would like to evaluate the direct student impact on quantitative metrics such as performance on standardized tests and qualitative metrics such as enthusiasm for and confidence in pursuing STEM related fields. We will be in a position to pursue this type of evaluation after the initial spring 2018 pilot group of 50 teachers has had the opportunity to teach according to the new standards for a full year (fall 2018- spring 2019).

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Access to LA2050 community
  • Host public events on the topic your organization’s issue area (e.g. access to capital, education reform, clean energy, etc.)
  • Communications support, including traditional media, social media, and LA2050 newsletter
  • Publicity/awareness

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