Boston Teacher Leadership Summit

Elementary Science (K-5) and the STAAR

The basic foundation of my Teacher Leadership Idea is encouraging academic growth in the area of science in elementary. More importantly, the successful collaboration of teachers in grades 3 through 5. In the state of Texas, students in public education are assessed in fifth grade in science, math and reading. Much emphasis is placed on both reading and math at a very young age, but science (as well as social studies) is cast by the wayside and picked up back up on periodically or after testing. The third and fourth grades are crucial to success on the Science STAAR in fifth grade. In fifth grade, the students spend one school year revisiting all the student expectations from both third and fourth grade and are introduced to very little new material. Within schools across the state of Texas, 5th grade is considered elementary, but can often be found placed within middle schools and junior highs. This physical disconnectedness has led to large academic gaps in science and less accountability for teachers. Regardless of where you teach science, whether it be the elementary school building or the middle school campus, teachers need to be coming together and collaborating through vertical alignment meetings, professional development specifically built for 3-5 teachers and department meetings that encourage side-by-side planning for a better connection to the TEKS. Utilizing cadres and science teacher mentors, 3-5 teachers can rebuild the science foundation grade-by-grade.

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