Illinois Tech Science Faculty Help Prepare CPS Teachers for Next Generation Science Standards

Illinois Tech, the Academy for Urban School Leadership, and National Louis University are partnering to help Chicago Public School teachers prepare for more demanding Next Generation Science Standards. Illinois adopted NGSS in January 2014, and they need to be fully implemented in the 2016-2017 school year.

Three Illinois Tech science faculty – Andy Howard, associate professor of biology and physics; Jeff Wereszczynski, assistant professor of physics; and Adam Hock, associate professor of chemistry, along with graduate student Dongyang Bai—will hold daylong workshops for more than 60 CPS first-grade to high-school teachers on Monday, August 15, Wednesday, August 17, and Thursday, August 18 at Solorio Academy High School, 5400 S. St. Louis, Chicago.

The Illinois Tech faculty will share experiments enabling a multi-week science unit emphasizing hands-on activities that the teachers can adapt for their classroom.

“With NGSS, teachers need to learn how to take a Design-Based Research (DBR) approach to teaching each science unit,” said Howard. “We at IIT are providing them with the content expertise to do just that.”

NGSS provides both K-12 science content standards, and an approach to science teaching that emphasizes concepts and “I wonder,” or exploration, Howard added. Scientists and other experts selected the core concepts.

Currently, many teachers of science do not have a science background, and many schools do not even require science to be taught.

The Academy for Urban School Leadership is a nonprofit that runs 15 Chicago Public Schools. National Louis is an Academy for Urban School Leadership teacher preparation partner. Together with AUSL, NLU has developed a nationally recognized model that combines theory and practice for demonstrably improving student achievement in high-need urban schools.

NLU has a Teacher Quality Partnership program grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help AUSL prepare students for Next Generation Science Standards, and Illinois Tech is a subcontractor on the grant.