Lessons Learned from Early NGSS Implementation

Presenters: David Campell (Introductions), Steven Schneider (Moderator), Kirk Brown, Kathy DiRanna, Maria Chiara Simani, Craig Strang

Districts implementing the NGSS face a myriad of challenges. This session focuses on lessons learned by organizations that are providing support to districts and schools involved in the early implementation of the NGSS. Presenters will discuss approaches to professional development for teachers and administrators to build capacity to implement the NGSS, standards-aligned instructional materials, tools, and assessments.


David Campbell, Program Director, National Science Foundation
David Campbell has been a program director in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation since 2001. He works with several programs in the Education Directorate, including Discovery Research K–12, Advanced Technology Education, Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers, and Climate Change Education Partnerships. In addition, he serves on federal interagency working groups that focus on ocean and environmental education. His research interests are within ecology and marine biology. Previously, Campbell taught coral reef ecology for the School for Field Studies in the U.S. Virgin Islands and zoology at the University of New Hampshire before settling at Rider University, where he served as chair of the Biology Department and helped to institute the university's marine biology and environmental science majors. Campbell received a BS in Zoology from the University of Rhode Island, an MS in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Rhode Island.

Steven Schneider, Senior Program Director, WestEd
Steven Schneider is the senior program director of the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics program at WestEd. He also serves as the principal investigator of NSF’s Center for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (CAESL). He directs the National Center on Cognition and Mathematics Instruction, and serves as the PI and content expert for the Science Review Team for the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. He previously served as the evaluation chairperson for the National Network of Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Consortia and Clearinghouse, and represented the Network on the Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Expert Panels. Schneider has published numerous articles on science, mathematics, and technology education, professional development, and teacher preparation. In 2006, Schneider and his fellow NAEP Framework Team members received WestEd’s Paul D. Hood Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Profession. In 2004, he received this award for his creation of collaborative partnerships that have advanced math and science education in the nation including curricula, professional development, assessment, and evaluation. Schneider received a BA in Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in the Design and Evaluation of Educational Programs with an emphasis in science, mathematics, and technology education from Stanford University. He has a State of California Life Teaching Credential from California State University, San Jose.

Kirk Brown, Director of STEM, San Joaquin County Office of Education  (SJCOE)
Kirk Brown is the director of STEM at SJCOE. He co-directs the Delta Sierra Science Project, a region of the California Science Project. He was a member of the NGSS State Review Team, Science Expert Panel, Strategic Leadership Team, and the CA Alliance for NGSS. In addition, he is one of the lead writers of the Revised CA Science Framework. His office coordinates the CaMSP Cohort 10 grant focusing on 9th- to 12th-grade modeling in math and science; the Investment in Innovation validation grant with WestEd in grades 4–5 content support using Making Sense of Science and Literacy; and other regional efforts. Before coming to SJCOE, Brown taught international baccalaureate biology and biotechnology at Tracy High School for 25 years, where he co-founded the Agricultural/Scientific Academy. He is nationally board certified in AYA Science and has won numerous teaching awards, including the Milken National Teacher Award, Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America, and the County Teacher of the Year. Beginning in 1992, he was appointed as a faculty scholar at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, doing research and helping found the Teacher Research Academies. In 1997, he helped Bio-Rad Laboratories found their Biotechnology Explorer program and published a textbook entitled Biotechnology: A Laboratory Skills Course in 2011. He has also authored a biotechnology e-book published by KQED. Brown has a BS in Biology with a concentration in Entomology from CSU Stanislaus and an MA in Educational Leadership from the University of the Pacific. 

Kathy DiRanna, Statewide Director, K–12 Alliance, WestEd
Kathy DiRanna is the director of the California NGSS K–8 Early Implementation Initiative, a four- year demonstration project with eight districts and two charters whose goals are to: build district leadership for full NGSS implementation; develop and/or field test implementation tools and processes; and serve as a resource to districts in state and nationally. She also facilitated the Science Expert Panel that recommended the NGSS for adoption and the NGSS State Implementation Plan. DiRanna has helped shape California’s science reform efforts for the past 28 years, serving as a PI/PD for NSF-funded projects, including: the California Systemic Initiative, the Center for the Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning (CAESL), and Science Partnerships for Articulation and Networking (SPAN), as well as multiple California Mathematics and Science Partnership grants. She co-developed the professional development for the BSCS SCI Center, FOSS Leadership Academy, and the Using Data Project. She has been an instructional materials consultant, and is a featured speaker at state and national conferences. She is the co-author of Assessment-Centered Teaching:  A Reflective Practice, A Data Coaches Field Guide, and a chapter in Professional Learning Communities for Science Teaching: Lessons from Research and Practice. DiRanna has received several awards for her work, including the WestEd’s Paul Hood Individual and Team Award, Learning Forward’s Susan Loucks-Horsley Award, the California Science Teachers Association’s Margaret Nicolson Award, and the National Science Education Leadership Association’s Outstanding Leadership in Science Education Award. She has an MS in Zoology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Maria C. Simani, Executive Director, California Science Project
Maria C. Simani leads the California Science Project, a statewide network of 14 sites providing sustained professional development opportunities to K–12 school teachers in partnership with higher education faculty and educators. The California Science Project has established partnerships with over 60 districts statewide and serves over 3,000 science teachers annually. Since 2012, Simani has collaborated with the California Department of Education (CDE) on the Science Expert Committee for the review and adoption of the NGSS. She and the California Science Project have been appointed by CDE as lead writers of the new California Science Curriculum Framework. In 2013, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls nominated her as one of the Trailblazer STEM Women of the Year. Prior to entering the field of STEM education, Simani conducted physics research at the German accelerator DESY, at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She also performed three years of research on brain functioning and learning at the Keck Institute for Integrative Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco. Simani holds a PhD in Physics. 

Craig Strang, Associate Director, Lawrence Hall of Science
Craig Strang has worked at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1991. He is a science, ocean science, and environmental educator. He directs the Center for Leadership in Science Teaching, which designs and carries out professional learning programs around the country and internationally for educational leaders in schools, science centers, aquariums, museums, colleges, and universities. In 1985, he founded the award winning Marine Activities, Resources & Education (MARE) Program, and since 2002 he has played a key role co-leading the nationwide Ocean Literacy Campaign. His work in ocean literacy has recently taken him to Japan and several countries in Europe interested in improving public understanding of the importance of the ocean. Strang currently leads programs that assist school districts to increase their capacity for supporting high-quality science programs in the Common Core/NGSS era; conduct research on effective approaches to professional learning; and develop curriculum and instructional materials for classrooms and residential outdoor science schools. He is principal investigator on a variety of grants, including BaySci (the Bay Area Partnership for Science Education), a project that has helped a dozen California school districts to implement the NGSS simultaneously with Common Core. He is the author of many articles, presentations, and instructional materials. Before turning to science education full time, he did research on elephant seals, humpback whales, and California sea lions, and until 2002 led ecotours in East Africa, the Sea of Cortez and the Galapagos Islands. Strang has a BA in Environmental Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz.