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Delving deeply into science

Hands-on, project-based learning and a deeper understanding of science concepts, practices and key ideas are at the heart of the plan to transition Fort Plain students to be successful with new learning expectations related to the updated New York State P-12 Science Learning Standards.

Patty Sweet, a retired Harry Hoag Elementary teacher, is working with the district’s teachers on strategies to implement a successful transition with teaching to the state’s new benchmarks. “She dedicates two hours each day that she is contracted to be here to each grade level, diving deeper into the meaning of the standards and practices that will allow students to demonstrate understanding of them,” said Harry Hoag Principal Jodi Coppolo.

“Ms. Sweet has been working with our teachers on preparing for the transition of the related NYS Science Assessment. Formerly, students took a paper-based test in grades 4 and 8. Now, with these newer standards, students will be asked to sit for an exam in grade 5 and 8. In addition, in grades 3-8, students will need to complete a required Investigation (a learning lab).

“The Investigations are aligned to grade-level standards and require many supplies. The district needed to purchase the new supplies in preparation to offer students the lab experiences. Some of the supplies are consumable, so we are planning thoughtfully to adjust our budget expenses to ensure yearly preparation.”

The district is using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to cover professional development expenses associated with this transition work.

The NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards were revised to reflect practices associated with Next Generation Learning. The standards give local educators the flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that stimulate students’ interests in science and prepare them for college, careers, and citizenship.