Sonoma County Office of Education

Science grant helps educators inspire and reach students of all backgrounds

09/11/2020 -

More than 100 local science teachers have expanded their leadership skills and honed their ability to inspire and engage students of all backgrounds in the field of science, thanks to a state grant.

The $42,500 grant, through the California Partnership for Math and Science Education (CAPSME), allowed the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) to offer professional development to science educators in partnership with the other counties in the region which includes Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties.

The goal of the professional development was to empower teachers to provide students with experiences that allow them to fully understand the scientific process, gain confidence in their work, and personally relate to scientists.

SCOE’s efforts included the launch of the Sonoma County NGSS Teacher Leader Collaborative, which involved 20 educators from ten districts. NGSS stands for Next Generation Science Standards, the K-12 content standards for science in California. The group met quarterly 2018-2020 to learn about NGSS implementation, ask questions, and share school and district updates, resources, and best practices. When Covid-19 hit, members volunteered for empathy interviews with students to understand their experiences and developed resources for science education that could be used in distance learning and hybrid settings.

“We found that collaboratives built teachers’ confidence and led them to have greater impact in both their classrooms and their schools,” said Anna Babarinde, science coordinator at SCOE and leader of the initiative. In the process, SCOE collaborated with the Exploratorium and local businesses and organizations to provide learning opportunities for teachers.

SCOE also hosted a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Summit for the region. More than 125 educators from four northern California counties came together to learn about NGSS implementation, to develop relationships and experience collaborations across districts and counties, and to reflect on their own science identities and those of students.

For more information contact Jamie Hansen, director of communications, at 707-524-2620.