Science Update (11/13/2014)

General Info, Support & Reiterated Points--Please read! :)

General Info--Quick Hitter Points

1) Don't forget/last reminder: Science PLC meets today @ the PDC (4-6pm). Hope to see you there!

2) Here is some important information pertaining to your exam cycle during finals week (1/12/15 to 1/16/15; 4 exam days plus a make-up day built in) January 2015:

Online Assessments:




Earth and Environmental Science

Physical Science

Paper/Pencil Assessments:


Chemistry (Paper & pencil only-Fall 2014; Option to take online Spring 2015)

Physics (Paper & pencil only-Fall 2014; Option to take online Spring 2015)

3) STEM Bus at UCEC: Thursday, 11/20.

NC Bionetwork is going to be bringing their STEMS Bus to the SPCC campus on November 20th. It will be there from 8am until noon. Then resuming again at 12:30 until 3pm. If any high school classes are interested in attending, they can contact Carl Riedl (the chemistry instructor at SPCC). His email is:

4) Need a substitute with Science content knowledge?

Here are a couple of names for you to keep in mind as life inevitably happens (Births, illness, conflicts/appointments, etc...)

David Shelc=Chem & Physics experience; however not available on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Holly Walton=Earth/Environmental Science specialty area; some Chem experience.

5) Test Writers needed for Earth Science & Physical Science Benchmarks!

Please contact me if you're interested (I already have some names). You will be asked to construct two benchmarks that correspond with your content sequence (A or B track). A substitute and lunch will be provided for you on the given day of the project. This will likely take place in late January/early February in order to have those ready for implementation during the 2nd semester.

6) Microscope upgrade needed?

Just passing this info. along as a possibility--I know some microscopes in our schools are somewhat obsolete.

The SmartMicroScope is a huge hit with classrooms & a favorite with students. They love that it’s handheld and so easy to use for discovery and exploration.

Teachers rave about how it saves instructional time and helps foster collaborative learning where everyone can see the live magnified image in real time.

The SmartMicroScope is also far more cost effective than a traditional microscope and you can use your interactive whiteboard to share the image of one scope with your entire classroom.

There are a number of advanced features available as part of the FREE software, These include the ability to take pictures & video and even the power to record measurements.

There are a few different SmartMicroScopes to help meet your specific classroom needs and they connect to PC, Mac, iPads, android devices and even Chromebooks.

To learn more about the SmartMicroScope line, please give me a call or visit our website at: Also, be sure to check our easy to use data loggers and kits.

Contact: Matt Hahn:

7) Biology Benchmark 2A & 2B

The Biology benchmark will run from Monday, 12/8 to Friday, 12/19 from 7am-5pm (M-F only).

This is to ensure that teachers & students have ample opportunity to cover certain objectives since this is a cumulative exam. The benchmark data overall is not useful or valid if the proper measures of student learning from the NCSCOS haven't been addressed due to time constraints.

Benchmarks have typically run for 2-week windows and that is the most just time-frame in allowing for school/teacher choice as well as meaningful reflection of the data (long testing windows can make the exam seem irrelevant by the time it is reviewed from a student perspective). With only a week of instruction/review when classes resume in January 2015, this benchmark will prove a very valuable predictor & hopefully serve as a "dress rehearsal" or "scrimmage".

Additionally, this may alleviate strain on the servers/system functionality through Schoolnet if other contents decide to begin testing the week prior.

****The test is 75 items and theoretically will be run through Schoolnet.

Support & Reiterated Points

1) CEU Assistance/Info:

Here is some possibly helpful info on earning CEU's:

CEU's (Continuing Educational Credits) are required to maintain a professional teaching license. 10 contact hours earn one CEU & 7.5 total CEU's must be earned per renewal cycle (5-year period). However, in order to earn 1.0 credits, the 10 hour requirement must be fulfilled.

Example: 12 contact hours would earn 1.2 CEU's; 14 contact hours earns 1.4.

7 hours does not earn 0.7 credits since the 10 hour mark has not been reached.

New teachers receive an initial teaching license. Lateral entry teachers have their own criteria described further on the link.

You have already obtained 7 contact hours if you attended curriculum day (8/21), but as described, that alone won't provide that one CEU. Please document time spent on your honors portfolio (I will ask for that info during the spring semester), attend a Science PLC meeting, etc.. so you can bank that time and I can then combine that with Curriculum Day in order to help keep your teaching credential in good standing. Thanks!

2) Science Content Resource Folder

These curriculum resources will help teachers of all experience levels:

All of the items are helpful, but for hyperlinked ready to use resources, follow this path:

Click on "Documents for all new UCPS..."; then click on "HS Science Breakout Session".

Note that Biology is not up & running here, but see #3 below for assistance in that area.

3) Biology Specific Content Resources Folder

Just for you--this is an effort between the PRHS Biology PLC which actually includes other teachers in the county! Possibly going global soon--stay tuned for more info! Thanks so much for all of your work to all who have contributed!

4) Chemical Safety Info & Purchasing Form

These items are helpful in obtaining what you need &maintaining safety for all:

5) Honors Document Support--Once More

Here are some items that will assist with the Honors Document process, make it all come together & become more user-friendly. Remember that these are due on March 2nd, 2015.

****Note: "new" instructors received this info. on 11/01, but it won't hurt to help/refresh all involved. The continuum is vast as some teachers have completed the required criteria, some are in-progress and some are new to the process altogether.

I am currently reviewing these documents & will get in touch with everyone (if I haven't already) over the next few days to let you know your current status.

1) Directions for creating your own curriculum site (where you will deposit all of your work):

2) Science Honors Portfolio Prompts (Very important & helpful--has hyperlinks embedded):

3) Sample Rationale II: Instructional Materials & Methods:

6) PLC's (Professional Learning Communities)

UCPS serves 43,000 total students. We had 140 representatives from our school district attend the Solution Tree PLC Conference in Charlotte from Nov.5-7th. That type of investment definitely suggests that this focus is building more momentum & that the conversations will continue. The conference was outstanding and very informative. I have a wealth of info to share--just ask me if you're interested in obtaining some of it. I'm thinking that PLC's are kind of like Lego projects--I can build a sturdy, creative & large structure myself in a given time range; however a group can fairly easily outperform me in all/most areas!

Here's the link once more so you can collectively advance within your content area/the art of teaching in general:

Thanks folks--hope this helps & I will be in touch soon. Please do the same if you need help with anything.