Community meeting about high school science - January 22

For the past few years, changes to high school science classes have been in the works in order to meet the state’s new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Last year, our district’s science department chairs and teachers discussed what science courses to offer in all high schools to meet the new standards. Science graduation requirements are not changing; students will still need two years of science to graduate. However, if students would like to be exposed to all the science standards to support their college and career readiness, there will be two 3-year pathways they can take. For 10th grade and above, honors and AP science will continue to be offered at our high schools, and IB will continue to be offered at Montgomery High.

  • There will be a science pathways meeting on January 22, 2019 from 6-7pm, in the Lewis Education Center, 2230 Lomitas Avenue, Santa Rosa.

Background information:

In 2013, the California Department of Education (CDE) adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The CDE then adopted two models that schools could use to meet those standards, a 4-year and 3-year model, and within each model they gave a proposed course sequence to meet the NGSS standards. In Santa Rosa City Schools district, an NGSS committee was created in 2016 to discuss whether we should adopt the 3 or 4-year model. With teacher input, the decision was made to adopt the 3-year model. Teachers then discussed which of two “course sequences” available in this 3-year model to propose. The decision by the teachers was to adopt both of the 3-year course sequences for the district, and make both available to students in each of our high schools, to support student interests.

 

What are the course sequences available to our high school students?

In course sequence 1:

9th graders take Earth Science
10th graders take Biology
11th graders take a semester of Chemistry and a semester of Physics
In this course sequence, students will learn 4 years of science in 3 years with more in-depth Earth Science coursework and learning.

In course sequence 2, the Earth Science standards are integrated into other courses:

9th graders take the Living Earth (Biology)
10th graders take Chemistry of the Earth
11th graders take Physics in the Universe classes.
In this course sequence, students will learn 4 years of science in 3 years with more in-depth Chemistry and Physics coursework and learning.

Starting in 2017, teachers from each school site met to develop the Earth Science and the Living Earth courses. These courses were shared with all science teachers. Conversation arose regarding having honors classes in the freshman year, something that is not currently available to many freshmen students. The department chairs discussed whether to have an honors pathway beginning in 9th grade, and after hearing each other’s input, the department chairs voted. The majority voted in favor of having no honors in 9th grade only.

All department chairs agreed that both course sequences (1 and 2) provided the foundation to take advanced courses (honors, AP, IB) beginning in 10th grade.

For more information on science graduation requirements, and how to choose a course sequence, read this SRCS Science Pathways document.