1. Juanita Chan
  2. Science Lead
  3. Rialto Integrating Science Mathematics and Related Technologies
  4. https://sites.google.com/a/rialtousd.org/rialtocamsp/
  5. Rialto Unified School District
  1. Jodye Selco
  2. Professor
  3. Rialto Integrating Science Mathematics and Related Technologies
  4. https://sites.google.com/a/rialtousd.org/rialtocamsp/
  5. California Polytechnic University Pomona
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Juanita Chan

    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 12:08 p.m.

    Rialto Integrating Science, Math and Related Technologies (RiSMART) re-imagined school curricula from a place in which you use "real world" textbook scenarios, to a place that can make lives better in the "real world" by integrating Project Based Learning experiences that are regionally focused and create a network of collaboration within and between schools, local industry and civic leadership.  Each community is different, but if the goal of the young people in that community is to grow up and leave then the community is not "sustainable." This ideology (of grow up, move away and never come back) is all too common, particularly in minority or economically challenged communities. Creating a sustainable community in which families can live, work and play demonstrates the need for developing a community mindset and the unique role schools can play in social justice.  We believe that schools can assist in the establishment of a sense of community, industrial progress and civic responsibility from all of its members.  With the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and California Common Core now is the time for discovering regional strengths and potential resources that can connect students to their community and nurture civic innovation.  We believe those resources include: locally relevant teacher created project based learning curricula, K-16 teacher collaborative networks, and expert community partners.

    • With the push toward local control what steps has your district taken, or should your district take, to ensure a more local curricular connection? 
    • What challenges have you seen, or do you foresee, in moving to more locally driven curricula?
    • What strategies can you suggest for overcoming these challenges?

    Thank you for taking the time to watch our video and engage in this discussion.  For more information about our project outcomes, please visit: https://sites.google.com/a/rialtousd.org/rialto...

     
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    Dr. Bowers

    May 17, 2017 | 12:12 p.m.

    Juanita Chan

    Thank you for your innovative and inspiring teaching method and skills. You are a pioneer in your field of expertise.......KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK......

     

     
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    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 11:37 a.m.

    Thank you for your support Dr. Bowers.

     
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  • Icon for: Sue Doubler

    Sue Doubler

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2017 | 12:46 p.m.

    Juanita,

    Your video conveys an important message--that project-based learning models can provide stronger connections between education and community. Could you say more about how we might use regionally-focused experiences and ensure that students develop the understandings outlined in our standards documents. There always seems to be this tension between standards for learning and experiences that make learning relevant to students. How can we do both?

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 01:13 p.m.

    Sue, thanks for the question! When we examined some local "issues" we discovered that the presence of perchlorate in the local wells, presence of endangered species at a freeway construction site, the state-wide drought in California, Southern California smog to have relevance to each member of the community. We built professional development project based learning (PBL) modules on these issues - which affect each of us in the community. Then we tailored the learning objectives to different ages. In each case, we began with both the local issue at hand and the NGSS standards in mind, so that the PBLs addressed both the standards and local issues. Additionally, working with our regional partners (part of the RiSMART grant) allowed us to discover what some of the local issues were along with the existing documents that allowed us to "dig deeper" in understanding the issues.

     
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  • Icon for: Juanita Chan

    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 15, 2017 | 01:47 p.m.

    Sue,

    Thanks, this is a great question! In the 3 years of doing this research, this question is THE one that our teachers are still trying to reconcile. That being said, in our experience it has been all about instructional sequencing. "Real world" issues are complex and teachers are learning about these issues as they are planning, so everyone is learning and that's what makes it so interesting! However, all this learning (teacher and student) can also lead to unfocused instruction and that is NO good. This means that the "art and science of teaching" with PBL is ALL in the planning; this is also the reason that teachers MUST be active in the creation or modification of the PBLs. Individual teachers are going to be the one providing the instruction (with their unique interests and teaching styles) and so they have to be familiar with the path they are taking in order to pick up on "teachable moments" with students. Rule number one, even though there is a nice neat template, when planning it IS GOING to be messy. Teachers need to pre-think all the potential facets that can be explored and have a clear plan to keep the instruction focused on the standards. A key question that we continually had to ask ourselves as we were planning was, "How does this address the standard?" and if it didn't, even if it was REALLY cool we had to let it go.

    Once teachers identify an issue that is relevant, then that becomes the "anchoring phenomena" (this is an NGSS term). Community issues outside of the classroom become the phenomena that will serve as a common experience to drive standards based instruction. Students are asked to initially explain these issues by accessing prior knowledge, then spend time in the classroom engaging with investigations and information that challenge their previous understanding. Students develop and revise models of thinking throughout the instructional sequence struggling to explain how the new knowledge challenges or confirms their preconceptions. Ultimately, this leads to the performance of science expectations or the design of a solution that demonstrates understanding of the science concepts.

    This is very different work than we have asked of teachers in the recent past, but we believe that all teachers (like students) can and should learn and grow.

     
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    Katie Nickel

    May 16, 2017 | 10:26 a.m.

    The City of Rialto's policymaker understood the vision of aligning the community affairs with our children's learning curriculum to create a sustainable community in Rialto through participation in Rialto Integrating Science, Math and Related Technologies (RiSMART) platform.  City of Rialto hosted events to bring the classes outside of the classroom and interact with engineers, planners, water and wastewater experts, law enforcement and fire safety. It has been very successful!

     
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  • Icon for: Deborah Hanuscin

    Deborah Hanuscin

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2017 | 12:05 p.m.

    What a great example of partnerships! Can you share more about how these various school and community partners came together initially? What advice would you give to others about building successful partnerships 

     
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  • Icon for: Juanita Chan

    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 16, 2017 | 07:15 p.m.

    Deborah,

    Thanks for asking! The idea of creating partnerships was actually a part of the California MSP "Request for Proposal" so it was a component of all of the grants in our cohort. One of our "Core Partners" and proposal authors, Dr. Edward D'Souza, just called various industries and organizations and asked them to write letters of support. However, I think what set our project apart was that instead of their partnership just being a peripheral agreement it blossomed into an integral component of the professional development. By design, local phenomena and experts were written in and introduced to teachers and schools. This took commitment. I personally went to SanBAG town halls, the "Rialto Institute of Progress," city council, utility committee and Neighborhood Watch meetings, as funny as it sounds I am now even an East Rialto Kiwanis member. In order to know what is happening in the community you have to invest time in the community. As far as advice for others about building partnerships, I would say: (1) e-mail doesn't cut it, meet people face to face; (2) educators, industry leaders and politicians often talk "PAST EACH OTHER," ask questions and then STOP and LISTEN (don't pretend to know what representatives are talking about if you don't, be honest about your understanding of a topic) you may be surprised by what you learn; (3) think creatively about how to align goals (most industries have a philanthropic goal) how can you tailor learning experiences that are win-win; (4) remember that their timeline is not your timeline (it takes a while to get the communication gears moving in education make- year long schedules) ; (5) be gracious and convey gratitude to everyone on your team (never underestimate the effectiveness of a handwritten thank you letter from an 8 year old); (6) it's NOT all "about the money," partnerships that are built on investments of time and expertise are often MORE rewarding to partners and lead to bigger and better overall returns; (7) districts are machines, internal politics can derail well meaning plans, so work WITH administrators at all levels; (8) partnerships begin WITHIN an organization, don't forget about people already on the payroll (e.g. custodians, business services, maintenance and operations, I.T., etc); (9) K-12 infrastructure runs differently than university systems. Professors and faculty members are accustomed to different internal structures and demands, so find professors that are interested in LEARNING just as much as they are teaching; (10) "Toot your own horn," people want to be a part of initiatives that are successful, so INVEST the time and let as many people as possible know about your success.

     
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  • Icon for: Deborah Hanuscin

    Deborah Hanuscin

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2017 | 07:40 a.m.

    What GREAT advice, Juanita! This definitely should be shared with other MSPs and NSF projects!

     
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    Karen Weaver

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2017 | 12:40 p.m.

    I really enjoyed the video! I am excited to continue to learn and grow this next year. Our community is so very important and is a resource we need to tap into. If we want our students to have the growth mindset then we as educators must model it as well. Thanks Juanita for sharing this!!

     
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    Malcolm Sr.

    Parent
    May 17, 2017 | 10:54 a.m.

    Bring learning based & the practical application field trips. That are brought to school campus. Are excellent, exciting and brings automatic enthusiasm.  How does it dovetail into the student's ability to further their gained interest for higher education goals. Away from their immediate community.  Are there revelant guidance & counseling to parents & students. To maintain these assembly of thoughts and direction toward goals for their personal future perhaps outside the radius of a community, or region.

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 01:01 p.m.

    Thanks for the suggestion and question! We have brought our partners into the classrooms and onto the campuses as well as having the students explore a variety of our partner's sites. The students have taken buses and walked to city events (the City of Rialto is one of our partners). Our partners have helped the development of thea annual "Earth Day Play" produced by middle school students at the middle schools for the second grade students throughout the district, "Water Day" where fifth grade students explore water sources, distribution, and recycling, and our partners have helped fund field trips to off-campus (and out of district) sites as well. Since each field trip requires participation by adults besides the teachers and field trip permission slips, this helps the parents be involved as well. Another way we have had our partners help bring the community into the classroom is to develop new Project Based Learning lessons whose scenarios involve our community partners. For instance, a seventh grade lesson asks students to develop a new "cold pack" for a physician at a local hospital (the physician is one of our community partners) who needs it in the emergency room. All of these help bring educational experiences connections to the "real world".

     
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  • Icon for: Juanita Chan

    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 02:27 p.m.

    Malcolm, Thanks for this question. Goal setting is so important for young people, determining how schools can help families guide students through this process is a huge task! Every student is beautifully unique with different interests, limitations, talents and strengths. How do we help all of them plan when we have no idea what their future holds? How do we continue lifelong learning and help students forge their own path to success? We kind of broke this idea into three parts: (1) EXPOSURE: Many areas of science are "unrepresented" in conventional classroom learning (jobs like: environmental monitors, field researchers, chemical engineers, etc) many students and parents (in my community, at least) believe that if students are good/interested in science the only jobs out there are in the medical field, and this mindset limits student higher education goals. As Dr. Selco pointed out we have used these trips and resources to build classroom activities that expose students and families to new opportunities (robotics, logistics, environment, resource management). As an example this exposure asks students, "Have you thought about higher education in geology or geography?" and in many cases they haven't and that alone may expose them to a school in Utah or outside of their preconceived boundaries. (2) CHANGE HIGHER EDUCATION MINDSET: Building a network for students and parents to create a relationship with real individuals and opportunities working in those fields changes ADULT and STUDENT mindset. We (teachers) have limitations as well, we can only expose students to what we know. As we are introduced to new people and new industries we expand OUR thinking about different paths to higher education goals. What I mean by that is that many teachers and counsellors came into our profession directly from a very conventional path (K-12 ->university) so this is the only way we know how to explain.
    Industry experts share their stories about how they entered their fields and this expands our thinking about paths to success. Teachers are able to share that with students, parents and even our counsellors. In RiSMART, we specifically held Professional Development events for counsellors and parents as well. We believe this extends higher education goals to MORE students. (3) CHANGED FOCUS EQUALS EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY: We believe that changing student career focus will expand the opportunities that include those in the community and beyond. As adults we also understand that sometimes it's not always WHAT you know, sometimes it's WHO you know, and by building a stronger community networks, we will expand opportunity outside of the community as well. Lastly, our goal is that once students have those experiences and learning opportunities in far off regions then they COME BACK to the community and share those experiences with the next generation of learners. If you have additional suggestions about how we can strengthen that message for parents, we would LOVE to hear them. Thanks again for taking the time to watch our video and engage in this conversation!

     
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    Lisa Adams

    May 18, 2017 | 06:44 p.m.

    Great video...it shows that when educators have high expectations for ALL students powerful learning can happen.  Empowering students to explore their world and create solutions to real life problems in their community is social justice!

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 18, 2017 | 06:49 p.m.

    Thanks Lisa! Your help was greatly appreciated in our focus on Social Justice with our teachers. Many report that they now think more often and deeply about equity in their classrooms and set up of lessons. Just being aware is part of the battle. We also believe involving the students in community issues will help bring social justice to the whole community. Do you have any other suggestions for what we can do with our teachers?

     
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  • Icon for: Pam Pelletier

    Pam Pelletier

    Facilitator
    May 19, 2017 | 05:08 a.m.

    Your video (as well as your responses!) showcases the excitement of your project. It is critical that teachers and students are empowered with the opportunity to explore and address what is most critical to the community. I am curious how your project has addressed the challenge of teacher content knowledge in such complex scientific issues?

     

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 11:12 a.m.

    Pam, You raise a terrific question - thank you for this! We began by looking at local issues and phenomena, and then the science needed to understand the issue. For instance, one of the NGSS standards addresses the changes to the local environment when humans use local resources (e.g. extract building materials). One of the local mountains (hill actually) has disappeared from the landscape over the course of a few decades - this mountain in the city and along side the freeway - visible for all to see. We've had many comments from teachers in our project (and others within the state) that these changes are not visible (and therefore difficult to teach since they are "out of sight"). So, we've shown images of the mountain over time. Once you introduce the visual phenomena, this makes it easier to understand the issue. In another case, there has been a long delay in connecting a freeway to a city street. Everyone that uses this freeway has noticed that there are spurs on the (newish) freeway, but "no progress" in completing the connection between the freeway and the street. The City of Rialto helped us (they shared the documents from the federal and state governments) understand that the reason for the multi-year delay was the presence of two endangered species (the San Bernardino kangaroo rat and the Santa Ana River woolly star [a plant]) along with some nesting eagles. These species are protected and the construction would have disturbed/killed some of these species - which is not allowed. This enabled us to examine the fragility of ecosystems and what happens when a part of the food web/chain disappears due to human activity. Many of the local issues affect the local environment, so they are ripe for scientific investigation in order to understand the entirety of the issue. The other thing that has helped us tease out the science (besides large amounts of input from our community partners) is the collaboration with IHE partners who bring scientific expertise in both understanding how the science is involved and ways to connect the science to the NGSS standards for students of all ages. The ability to explore different aspects of the science for all ages could not have been done without the immense contributions of elementary school teachers on the professional development delivery teams (we call them "Design Teams") since the university science faculty typically do not have much experience with the translation of the science into the K-12 classroom. It really does take an entire community to make the issue understandable to everyone!

     
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    Lizbeth Mariscal

    K-12 Teacher
    May 19, 2017 | 01:18 p.m.

    Congratulations on an amazing feat!

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 19, 2017 | 01:50 p.m.

    Thank you Lizbeth! We would could not have accomplished anything without you the teachers!!!!!

     
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  • Icon for: Katie Rinehart

    Katie Rinehart

    Undergraduate Student
    May 19, 2017 | 05:51 p.m.

    I love the idea of setting a project up that students can actually see the benefits of it within their own community.  Bringing in community members to help motivate students and give them new perspectives on their project and their learning would help to make it that much more authentic for them.  It's always great to see students actually excited about something being done in the classroom, and you're program helps that excitement occur!

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 01:15 p.m.

    Katie, Thanks for your comment.  The other advantage is that we've had fun (and learned a lot about the community) doing this project.  We hope that the students enjoy the lessons as much as we did creating them.

     
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    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 02:30 p.m.

    Katie, we couldn't agree more. Thanks for taking the time to engage in the conversation.

     
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    Solomon Barber

    K-12 Teacher
    May 22, 2017 | 11:23 a.m.

    Great job!  I have enjoyed the three years spent in the RiSmart program.  The students that I have worked with have learned a lot from the instruction that I was able to deliver, because of this program.  I have learned so much about science content and science instruction from this program.  It really helped me grow as an educator.  Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of it.

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 01:16 p.m.

    Thanks Solomon! I'm very glad that you were a part of this project! I'm glad to hear that the students enjoyed them (as did you!).

     
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  • Icon for: Juanita Chan

    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 02:33 p.m.

    Thank you so much Solomon! We are confident that you will use these experiences to guide all of your future leadership roles.

     
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    Solomon Barber

    K-12 Teacher
    May 22, 2017 | 11:24 a.m.

    Video was awesome!!  Shows a glimpse of the amazing work that was done over the three years.  I have enjoyed working with all of you.  I feel very blessed to have been a part of such an amazing project.

     
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    Xiomara Reyes

    K-12 Teacher
    May 22, 2017 | 11:25 a.m.

    Thank-you for being an incredible and tireless leader. It is your enthusiasm. knowledge and tireless effort that keeps us all going!

     
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    Juanita Chan

    Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 02:44 p.m.

    Thanks Xiomara! Truthfully, it's YOU and and YOUR STUDENTS that make this type of innovation possible and so exciting. Thank you for everything you do!

     
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  • Icon for: Dilafruz Williams

    Dilafruz Williams

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 22, 2017 | 06:43 p.m.

    Hi Juanita:

    It is wonderful to see the emphasis on place-based education. Listening to teachers' voices is really critical and it is energizing to see them energized. Do you have plans for research?

     

     
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  • Icon for: Jodye Selco

    Jodye Selco

    Co-Presenter
    May 22, 2017 | 06:59 p.m.

    Hi Dilafruz! Thanks for the question.  We are examining the Action Research Projects each teacher did, the teacher and student responses to surveys, student work, course taking patterns beyond middle school (where students have some choice).  Although our project funding ends next month, we intend to keep an eye on these indicators to see what happens in the future. We have some data from a previous California MSP grant that indicates that the teachers were able to positively affect their students' abilities in science on the old standardized exam that was NCLB compliant - we are looking forward to new indicators of change.

     
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  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.