K-12 Teachers Train at RVCC for Implementation of Next Generation Science Standards
Approximately 140 K-12 educators from northern and central New Jersey will spend a week at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in Branchburg in July and August to become better informed about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The educators are participating in two week-long workshops sponsored by the NJACE Science Education Institute at RVCC. Middle and high school teachers, who will begin implementation of the new standards in the upcoming school year, are meeting July 25-29. Elementary school teachers, who will begin implementation in 2017-2018, will meet August 8-12.
These innovative standards, which are currently adopted in 16 states including New Jersey, present a research-based approach to improving and transforming science education. The goal of the new standards is to move away from students memorizing increasingly larger amount of unrelated facts about science. Instead, students will use a limited set of core ideas in science to explain interesting observable events in the world around them. The ultimate goal is to develop citizens who have a better understanding of the natural world and who can use science to inform their daily lives. For the first time, these standards also require that engineering—the application of science to solve human wants or needs—is introduced and integrated in every science classroom starting in kindergarten.
Because the NGSS represents several significant shifts in K-12 science education, classroom teachers need support to successfully implement these new standards. Participants are introduced to interesting observable events in physical, life, and earth/space science and work in small teams to construct explanations for them. Participants also review their own classroom lesson plans and modify them to align with the new standards.
The group of 140 participants includes NGSS ambassadors who will attend multiple professional development opportunities in the upcoming year to assist in the statewide implementation of the NGSS. These ambassadors are supported by a state-funded Math Science Partnership program, a collaboration among Rider University, Princeton University, Raritan Valley Community College and the school districts of Ewing, Freehold Borough, Lawrence Township, and Hillsborough Township.
The two week-long workshops are led by Dr. Wil van der Veen, director of RVCC’s NJACE Science Education Institute. He is supported by 17 Teacher Leaders from the NGSS Teacher Leader Program, a collaboration among Princeton University, Rider University, and Raritan Valley Community College. These experienced classroom teachers facilitate group discussions, model instructional strategies, and provide support and advice to their colleagues. They will then take these experiences of working with colleagues back to their own school districts and serve as resources for district-wide implementation.
Both Summer Institutes are supported by a generous grant from the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium.
RVCC’s Science Education Institute offers state-of-the-art customized professional development programs in science for school districts ranging from one-day workshops to long-term district partnership programs. Last year, the Science Education Institute provided more than 30 days of professional development for over 1,000 educators. For more information, contact Dr. Wil van der Veen at email@example.com or 908-526-1200, ext. 8566. For additional information, visit www.raritanval.edu/njace.
Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development and personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.
RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2016
Media contact: Donna Stolzer, 908-526-1200, ext. 8383