L-W 210 partnership with feeder districts focus is on science curriculum
Thursday, January 8, 2015

Lincoln-Way 210 science curriculum is being revised to meet the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that are an essential part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teaching.

All Lincoln-Way feeder districts including Frankfort 157C, Summit Hill 161, New Lenox 122, Manhattan 114 and Mokena 159 are coming together to partner with Lincoln-Way science teachers to align a vision for science instruction that will run from grades K-12, stated Tim Reilly, assistant superintendent for instruction.

The NGSS standards were adopted by the State of Illinois in February 2014 and must be implemented by the fall of 2016.

Over 50 science teachers convened in early November at Lincoln-Way West for the first of a 3-day inservice training for the Lincoln-Way High Schools to collaborate with the K-8 schools as they began using NGSS as a way of teaching kids in science. They met again in December 2014 and will meet for the third time in early February 2015.

The 50 teachers participated, representing all of the K-8 schools, with a representative from each building at each grade level plus Lincoln-Way teacher representatives from each high school.

The NGSS partnership came together when District 157C Director of Curriculum & Instruction Janet Goggins asked District 210 to consider leading the informational sessions. The sessions would provide input and guidance to the feeder school representatives about the new standards to help create goals and a vision for kindergarten through eighth grade science and to lay a strong foundation in science for high school.

These new standards require each grade level to have some accountability (K-12) in teaching kids across three science domains; engineering practices, science content and crosscutting concept.

Each year students will build upon what they have learned at the previous grades therefore, it is important for us teachers to meet and create a seamless transition from grade school through high school for our students, stated Karla Horn, Lincoln-Way West science teacher and facilitator for the sessions.

After Day 1 we are now in a position to start collaborating for innovative ways to teach our students as the science curriculum throughout the entire state of Illinois prepares to change. NGSS will help kids learn how to think critically about science and the world around them, its a shift in the way kids will learn and the way we will teach. It is an exciting change, noted Horn.

I have waited 20 years for this, stated Gary Henderson, science department chair for L-W West. Henderson continued, This is thrilling to have so many science teachers in one room, representing all our feeder schools and all Lincoln-Way schools working on how to teach science better.

In addition to Karla Horn representing West, Lincoln-Way High Schools were represented by Rhonda Starklauf, Central; Beth Swaney, East; and Liz Conroy, North.