P21 / STEAM
AUHSD is fast becoming an acknowledged leader in the national movement to infuse real world learning into the classroom, as recent initiatives served to further raise the District’s profile in successfully preparing students for college and 21st century careers.
The first event was the P21 Summit, which drew more than 350 educators from across Orange County. P21, or the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, was founded as a coalition bringing together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to help students prepare for 21st century careers.
The summit was a great opportunity to share best practices supporting 21st century teaching and learning. The AUHSD was front and center at the event, which drew praise from the likes of Dr. Al Mijares, Orange County superintendent of schools, and Dr. Helen Soule, executive director of the National P21 organization.
The second event that showcased AUHSD’s prominence in the national movement was the P21 Sustainability Conference at Cal State Fullerton. For the second consecutive year, students performed “TED Talks” outlining their solutions for global issues related to the environment, alternative energy, health, or sustainable design.
"The global problems facing the next generation of Americans will bring immense challenges, as well as tremendous opportunities,” said Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Michael B. Matsuda, who also serves as co-chairman of C21, which is the California chapter of P21. “It will take innovators and entrepreneurs in the STEAM field (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) to solve sustainability issues, including climate change, health care, alternative energy, water conservation, and sustainable food.”
The added bonus is that students highlighted in their TED Talks global competency skills such as verbal communication, articulating complex topics, advocacy, and relating issues to their own lives and communities, said Orange County United Way Senior Education Manager Sergio Contreras, whose agency is the primary sponsor of the showcase.
To successfully face rigorous higher education coursework, career challenges, and a globally competitive workforce, it is clear that schools must align classroom environments with real world environments. That means not only emphasizing core content, but other academic subjects such as foreign languages, the visual and performing arts, civics, government, economics, history, and geography. P21 also emphasizes emotional and social intelligence (students being able to collaborate and exhibit good leadership and team skills), literacies in the use of media/technology, financial, civic, and environmental literacy, and global awareness/competence.
We are extremely proud of the work that is under way to bring student learning and instructional practices in line with the goals of P21. We are also extremely grateful to one partner in particular—Orange County United Way—for providing us with significant financial resources to advance our work by supporting many initiatives including the P21 Summit, the P21 Corporate Mentoring Program, P21 Sustainability Showcase, MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) programs, tutors for the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program, and the AUHSD College and Career Fair. The AUHSD and OCUW are aligned and focused on many of the same outcomes, including P21 indicators such as A-G college-readiness courses, Career Technical Education Pathways, literacy, and STEAM education.
OC United Way’s cornerstone program, in place in the AUHSD since 2010, is Destination Graduation (DG), which seeks to encourage students to graduate by addressing an educational achievement gap fueled by family and community poverty, language and cultural barriers, lack of advocacy, and limited educational support outside the school system. This gap disproportionately affects Latino students, who represent the majority of those who do not finish high school.
Destination Graduation partners with five schools in the AUHSD—Anaheim, Katella, and Savanna high schools and South and Brookhurst junior high schools. The schools were selected based on their commitment to AVID, an elective class which creates a college-going culture by focusing on at-risk students who benefit from strategies that promote educational success in high school and beyond. A majority of DG students are low-income Latinos who will be the first in their family to attend college and, in some cases, even complete high school.
With the intensive training and support resources provided to the AVID teachers at the DG campuses, OC United Way is helping to build school leadership and enhance innovative teaching through AVID methods.
Destination Graduation also supports students directly with Roadtrip Nation curriculum designed to help create four-year high school plans to ensure A-G requirements are established and met. A final “roadtrip” project requires students interview community leaders in their career of interest, allowing the students to develop 21st-century skills.
OCUW also offers career exploration opportunities on and off campus through STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning at the Discovery Science and the Ocean Institute, where students engage in grade-level project-based learning and inquiry-based research activities that encourage them to consider pursuing a STEM-related academic career after graduation. Students are also exposed to mobile STEM career exhibits that explore job opportunities. A recent exhibit focused on engineering careers in various sectors, including alternative fuels, along with medical careers. Professionals in the field develop hands-on learning activities and provide students with links to relevant college and certification programs.
Finally, DG students are made aware of local career opportunities with field trips to STEM industry leaders such as ION Reality, Broadcom, Edwards Lifesciences, Allergan, Microsoft, and Saddleback Hospital. The field trips complement the AVID program college exploration field trips that expose students to higher education opportunities.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how the AUHSD is well positioned to be a leader in 21st Century education. Here are some additional highlights to round out our look at our P21 initiatives and our STEAM programs. We hope you have enjoyed visiting this site. Visit again!
Going Beyond Testing to Prepare Students for College and Careers
By Michael Matsuda
Respected educational leaders like Michael Fullan, Linda Darling Hammond, and David Conley have repeatedly warned us that we should not make one big test the main driver of education reform. Sadly, it seems that with the new Smarter Balanced Assessments that students throughout the state are taking now, many school districts are doing just that.
Across California, there is a danger that too many districts are focused on technology just to get students prepared for the Smarter Balanced test and not investing in integrating pedagogy with technology. For example, it would be a horrible misuse of public funds if students were just using iPads to take notes. Fullan warns of a missed opportunity if we are not investing in training teachers to use technology so that students can access more meaningful information and create better ways to problem solve. English learner advocates such as Shelly Spiegel Coleman are concerned that since the Smarter Balanced assessments do not measure speaking skills, oral communication will not be emphasized and long-term English learners will continue to languish behind mainstream students. Civil rights leader and Cal State Long Beach professor Jose Moreno is concerned that districts will implement Common Core with a business-as-usual approach and continue to narrowly focus on reading and math at the expense of all other content areas, thus limiting opportunities for Latinos and other underperforming groups for A-G readiness, which is required for university admissions. (A-G is the UC/CSU course sequence that includes world languages, science, social studies, the arts, and other courses in addition to math and English.)
The question for us, therefore, is not how prepared are California’s public schools for the Smarter Balanced Assessments, but how prepared are our 6 million K-12 students for college, career, and civic life as the next generation of Americans? Many educators who truly want to teach beyond the test are struggling with what college and career readiness really means.
Fortunately, there is at least one organization that has developed a framework to help build capacity and understanding. The organization is the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, a consortium of educational organizations, business and educational non-profits that have developed a host of tools and rubrics that are helping to move the needle forward using easily understandable terms. For example, the “4 Cs”— collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking — is a term credited to P21 and is language that is accessible and widely used.
Moreover, the framework calls for access to a whole curriculum, including what we in California call the A-G requirements. It is vital to note that access to a whole curriculum should begin in pre-school and should be provided during the school day. When schools had to comply with the demands of the No Child Left Behind law as well as the accountability provisions triggered by he state’s Academic Performance Index, civic education, science, world languages, the arts, and career technical education were often pushed to after-school activities or weren’t taught at all. Millions of elementary and secondary school children, mostly low income and English learners, were given high dosages of reading and math test prep and tragically missed out on the other subjects. This is what happens when the test becomes the driver.
But when college and career readiness becomes the driver, great things can happen. Savanna High School in Anaheim is California’s first National P21 Exemplar School, so named because the learning environment and school culture reflect the fact that 21st century learning is taking place and contributing to student success. It is an urban public school that State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said, “should be cloned.” Why? Because it has implemented reform without changing the teaching staff, without extra monies, and without cherry-picking high performing students. What the staff did do was closely examine the P21 Framework, David Conley’s work on college readiness, and their own research to create a new vision, which has guided and transformed their school. Savanna students are doing well on measureable metrics including A-G readiness, graduation rates, Career Technical Education certificates, Seal of Biliteracy rates, writing and performance tasks, and student surveys.
But more importantly, Savanna students exhibit hard-to-measure metrics such as habits of mind, which are problem-solving, life-related skills necessary to operate effectively in society and navigate difficult and complex situations. These skills are evident through senior capstone interviews, where students sit down for 20 minutes with teachers and community members and reflect both orally and in writing on the relevance of their education and their future plans. I’ve personally interviewed students who may have many Cs on their transcripts, and who may have only average SATs, but who have demonstrated college and career readiness by overcoming difficult circumstances, often poverty related, and who can articulate their goals well and have identified a realistic pathway for getting there.
What is happening at Savanna can happen everywhere if leaders have the courage to do what’s right. It will take bold, innovative principals who can build teams of teacher leaders through collective capital—working together using combined skills and resources. And it will take superintendents and boards who develop 21st century visions that drive school reform. Otherwise, it could be business as usual.
Superintendent Torlakson: Savanna High School Should be 'Cloned'
April 25, 2013--State schools superintendent Tom Torlakson visited Savanna High to recognize AUHSD’s efforts at establishing P-21 partnerships. Under Torlakson's leadership, California had just become the 18th state to join the Partnership for a 21st Century Education alliance. When it comes to preparing students for 21st century careers, Savanna High School is a model for the state: "We want to clone this across California," Torlakson said.
At Savanna, for example, he saw students working on a solar-powered boat, training in the medical academy to graduate as certified nurses’ assistants--in Spanish--and earning IRS certification to assist the elderly and low-income community members during tax season through an online accounting class. "To have the state superintendent come to Savanna “really validates everything we are doing. It's amazing," teacher Bridget Wuff said.
The opportunity to get hands-on experience so they actually see the relevance of their studies is exactly what Torlakson says he is pushing for.
Students Successfully Petition Anaheim to Become Nation’s First P21 City
October 22, 2013--The City of Anaheim took the bold step of joining the P21 movement when some 200 AUHSD students presented more than 5,000 petitions to the Anaheim City Council urging officials to participate.
“We are proud community members in the city of Anaheim, affiliated with (Anaheim) High School in Anaheim Union High School District,” the petition states. “We want to express our support for Partnership for 21st Century Education that promotes the teaching of the 4Cs — Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Communication — in every classroom across all courses for every student. The P21 frameworks have been embraced by the California State Department of Education and now California is the 18th P21 state in the USA.
We are petitioning to support Mayor Tom Tait’s initiative to be the first city in the state to endorse P21 so that local businesses, community organizations, and city officials can better support and collaborate with our schools through internships and other creative partnerships that are aligned with the P21 Framework.
In addition to the 4C’s, we want the city to embrace a 5th C, Character. We believe that Character, the qualities of honor, kindness, and moral integrity are vital to the growth of all citizens and believe that the city of Anaheim should promote the 5 Cs in all civic engagement.”
Savanna High School Named a P21 National Exemplar School
November 14, 2013--At a conference on teaching 21st century skills to students, the National Partnership for 21st Century Skills recognized Savanna High School as an “exemplar school” for its comprehensive and innovative approaches to teaching and learning.
Savanna High’s includes a four-year “capstone” student project that results in a final year portfolio presentation and panel interview with teachers. This program was set in place for students to demonstrate their career and college readiness. Administrators and teachers set high standards for students and expect them to be critical thinkers, academically and personally accountable citizens, good communicators and collaborators, globally aware, culturally competent, and digital-age learners.
Savanna offers college-going programs, a Seal of Biliteracy for graduates with dual language competency, and six career pathway academies, including a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Academy, Medical Academy, where students graduate as certified nurses’ assistants, Automotive Technology Academy, and World Languages Academy.
Savanna High School illustrates how an exemplary 21st century school can make positive changes, when the right leadership is provided.
AUHSD Students Engage in Civic Education Campaign to Prompt Investment in Facilities
April 30, 2014--AUHSD students launched a civic engagement campaign calling on the Board of Trustees to take action on investing in 21st century learning through better facilities.
Students gathered nearly 5,000 signatures seeking support of repairing AUHSD classrooms and providing more 21st century technology. By collecting petitions and presenting them to the Trustees, students took action in improving their learning environment while engaging in civic engagement. The students presented the signatures to the Board on July 11, when trustees voted to place a $249 million bond measure to upgrade and repair facilities on the November 2014 ballot.
AUHSD joined a number of school districts across the state that are emphasizing the importance of civic education and are being supported in their efforts by the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning. The task force helps define the skills and knowledge that students need to be informed and involved citizens and community members.
First Annual ‘P21: Our Future Now Sustainability Conference: Orange County Students Showcase Solutions for Global Issues
May 24, 2014--Student finalists from 23 elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Orange County highlighted their solutions for global issues affecting local communities or their countries of origin.
The conference was organized by the AUHSD with support from the California Center for 21st Century Education, a chapter of the Partnership for 21st Century Education. The presentations were similar to the popular TED Talks format. The goal of the conference was to help students develop the skills needed for a competitive job market, such as verbal communications, articulating complex topics, advocacy, and by relating issues to their own lives and communities. Students identified a problem and suggested a solution related to the environment, alternative energy, health or sustainable design.
"The global problems facing the next generation of Americans will bring immense challenges as well as tremendous opportunities,” said Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Mike Matsuda. “It will take innovators and entrepreneurs in the STEAM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) in order to solve sustainability issues, including climate change, healthcare, alternative energy, water conservation, or sustainable food.”
State Superintendent Torlakson Honors Recipients of Student Service Grants From Newly Formed AUHSD Student Service Foundation
October 1, 2014--Superintendent Torlakson was on hand as students received the grants that promote community service and support student learning.
The Board of Directors of the Student Service Foundation selected the recipients of the grants. The board is composed of students from each of the nine AUHSD high schools who have a passion for making a difference in their community, and helping other students pursue their passion for learning and service by providing them with the means to do so.
“I am not aware of any other school district in California where students are leading the charge in this fashion,” said AUHSD Superintendent Michael B. Matsuda. “The ideas for the grants originated in our classrooms, through project-based learning. Upon graduation, these students will have demonstrated, through the implementation of these grants, that they have the capacity to problem-solve and take on the challenges facing the next generation.”
The Student Service Foundation was established with a $25,000 grant from the AUHSD Foundation to promote purposeful civic engagement, community building, and problem solving. Students seeking the grants learned the basics of grant writing, including developing plans, rationales, budgets, timelines, and evaluations. Through these grants, students have shown that they can advocate for causes that are important to them and maintain purposeful civic engagement.
AUHSD Stages First District-Wide “Servathon” On MLK King Holiday
January 19, 2015--More than 4,000 Anaheim Union students participated in the first-ever AUHSD Servathon, which coincided with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday and National Day of Service.
The Servathon is a fundraiser similar to a jogathon, but instead of getting sponsors for laps, participants get sponsors for hours of community service. Participants included students from the District’s 19 junior high and high school campuses. These students, led by some 200 District staff members, performed an astonishing 16,000 hours of community service through more than 150 projects across our five communities.
“As superintendent, I have had many proud moments, but I have never more proud of our students and staff than I was on January 19,” Mr. Matsuda said. “The day certainly brought out the finest in people.”
The service projects ranged from traditional campus or beach cleanups to less customary, such as helping seniors with technology needs or going door-to-door to encourage the use of smoke alarms. Overall, these tasks were designed to give students experiences that would better connect them with neighborhoods, businesses, the elderly, and younger students and increase the District’s culture of civic engagement and community service.
AUHSD’S P21 Corporate Mentoring Program Off to a Strong Start
January 29, 2015--Forty-five AUHSD students networked with Kaiser Permanente professionals who are acting as mentors, providing hands-on experience and career guidance for our students.
Students and adults came together for the first of four mentoring sessions at the Kaiser Permanente facility in Anaheim Hills. The P21 Mentoring Program is a partnership between the District and the city of Anaheim, which began when some 200 students presented more than 5,000 petitions to the Anaheim City Council urging officials to participate in the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Program. It seeks to connect students’ time in class with the real world, in order to prepare students for careers, college, and ultimately, life.
After pairing up, the mentoring teams participated in ice-breaking activities and toured the Kaiser Permanente facility. In three subsequent meetings, students had the opportunity to explore careers in the fields of medicine, nutrition and healthcare IT; shadow professionals on the job; build resumes; and participate in mock interviews. In addition to the Kaiser partnership, students also later engaged with professionals at Bunzl manufacturing for the same type of mentoring experience.
National Education Leaders Visit Savanna High School to Learn About Innovative Approaches to 21st Century Teaching and Learning
February 6, 2015--40 national education and civic leaders visited Savanna High School, a P21 National Exemplar School, due to its innovative approaches to 21st century teaching and learning.
Savanna staff modeled the process used to nurture the instructional shift to P21 lessons and the Common Core. The education leaders, which included state superintendents and school district administrators, visited classrooms to observe the innovative work the school is doing.
Added Dr. Al Mijares, Orange County superintendent of schools, “Our national education leaders are rediscovering what we’ve known for years, that commitment to student engagement, innovation, collaboration and critical thinking are at the core of student learning. I am proud to see that Savanna High School exemplifies these qualities and in 2015 has been recognized as a leader across America. Savanna’s students, teachers, parents and support staff must be commended for their outstanding work, and their call to serves as an exemplar for other schools.”
350 Educators from 22 Districts Attend First P21 Summit
April 24, 2015--The Summit brought together a powerful group of presenters who learned from each other how to best connect student learning to the real world.
Speaking at the Summit were Dr. Al Mijares, Orange County Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Helen Soule, executive director of the National P21 organization. The keynote address was delivered by AUHSD’s Kelly Gallagher, who is in his 30th year of teaching at Magnolia High School, and is the author of numerous books on adolescent literacy. His address was titled “Building 21st Century Learners: The View From the Classroom.”
AUHSD was front and center at the conference during the breakout sessions, with presentations such as “The Power of Parent Learning Walks: Accountability for 21st Century Learning” and “Integrating Pedagogy into Technology.” Savanna High School as a National P21 Exemplar School, our P21 Corporate Mentoring Program, and the P21 Sustainability Showcase also were on the agenda. The second annual sustainability showcase was held the following day.
Each quarter, 60 South Junior High students in Jamie Clapper’s environmental science class participate in a field trip to Bolsa Chica Wetlands Conservancy through the Orange County Coastkeeper’s WHALES (Watershed Heroes- Actions Linking Education to Stewardship) program. Read More Bolsa Chica Fieldtrip
The 2nd California STEM Symposium was held in San Diego on September 22 & 23, 2014. The good work of AUHSD students and teachers was evident in four different presentations over the two days. Read More California STEM Symposium
For the past five years, the Ocean Institute in Dana Point has collaborated with AUHSD to provide Earth Science students and teachers with hands-on, relevant lesson plans and experiences to help educate students about climate change, human impact on our ocean environments and additionally provide an opportunity for students to become stewards of our oceans. Read More Ocean Institute
Transforming Academic and Cultural Identitdad through Biliteracy (TACIB) has set out to increase mathematics and science achievement and engagement among middle grades students in Anaheim at Price Elementary, Sycamore Junior High and South Junior High schools. Read More TACIB @ Closing the Latino Opportunity Gap
Over 100 AUHSD science teachers participated in the return of Science Saturday on October 4, 2014. Read More Science Saturday
Congratulations to our science students and teachers who received funding for their service-learn projects in the first round of funding from the AUHSD Student Service Learning Foundation. Read More Service Learning Grants
On Halloween, Oxford students in Kim Nguyen and Justin Fournier’s AP physics 1 classes embarked on a mission to launch their rockets in costume! Read More Oxford Academy First Annual Water Rocket Launch
On November 19, 2014, the 8th grade class of Lexington Junior High School descended on the Discovery Science Center for a day of inquiry into the science of hockey and more. Read More Lexington Junior High goes to the Discovery Science Center
Students from Sycamore Junior High School’s robotics team were selected to represent the First Robotics FTC Challenge at this year’s Rockwell Automation Fair. The event was held at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 19-20, 2014. Read More BuccyBots @ the Automation Fair
This year, five ambitious students from Anaheim High School participated in the California Forestry Challenge in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. They placed 1st in the Pacing Completion, a method used by foresters to measure tree characteristics within the forest, and 10th out of 23 schools in the main competition. Read More Anaheim High School Forestry Club Competes in Challenge
This year’s NASA-sponsored “Keep It Moving” engineering challenge to California students in grades six through 12: Design and construct a device that will move a billiard ball at least 5 meters using three modes of transportation (akin to a Rube Goldberg chain-reaction contraption; think Pee Wee Herman’s breakfast machine) for 20 seconds. Read More Sycamore Competes in JPL Challenge at Chapman University
Student teams from Kennedy High School, Savanna High School, and South Junior High School were among the 24 teams chosen to participate in the intensive, three- day Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions (POPS) Leadership Summit. Read More Plastic Ocean Pollution Summit (POPS)
Students in the AUHSD STEM Inc. program spent Friday Feb 20, 2015, touring the engineering labs at Cal State Fullerton. Read More STEM Inc. Trip to CSUF
Walker teacher Jack Gupton was honored on Saturday Feb 28, 2015, by the Orange County Engineering Council with a STEM Service Award. Read More OCEC STEM Service Award
Oxford Academy competed in the local American Chemical Society Chemistry Olympiad Exam on Saturday March 7, 2015. Read More Oxford Academy Competes in the Chemistry Olympiad
Anaheim High School students and teacher advisers Mrs. Metcalfe and Mrs. Schultz from the Anaheim Ecology Club spent Tuesday afternoon with Brian Chawn of the city of Anaheim, an AHS alum, and Aaron Flora, CEO and owner of Renewable Farms, water-sealing wood planks and weeding at the site of what will become a 10,000-square-foot Urban Mega Farm in Anaheim. Read More Aquaponics Garden at Boyson Park
On Saturday March 14, 2015, teachers from 11 AUHSD schools met at the Airwolf 3D Printer facility in Costa Mesa to receive training on how to utilize 3D modeling software and 3D printer technology for digital manufacturing processes. Read More Airwolf 3D Printer Training
Students from South Junior High School and Sycamore Junior High School will be competing Saturday March 21, 2015, in the Sea Perch Challenge at the University of Southern California. Read More Sea Perch Challenge
The 5th Annual Science Fair was held on May 14, 2015. Once again, the event was a huge success! There were 130 projects from Magnolia and Loara high schools and Dale Junior High on display. According to event organizer Bev Berekian, “We had judges from universities and industry, many of whom had judged multiple times in the past.” Read More Magnolia Science Fair
This year, nine teachers from across the District were accepted into the Earth's Changing Climate Program. The Ocean Institute came into each participating class and initiated a series of labs to give students the information they needed for the field experience. Read More Earth's Changing Climate Symposium
The 3rd Annual AUHSD Solar Sprint Race was held on March 14, 2015, during the Magnolia Science Fair. Two dozen cars entered the race with students from seven schools in the District (Ball, Dale, Orangeview, South, Sycamore, Kennedy, and Magnolia) represented. Read More AUHSD Solar Sprint Car Race
Lexington held its science fair on March 13, 2015, with 130 projects presented to a group of judges. Ten Lexington students from Anita Dunham’s class have been selected to advance to the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair. Read More Lexington Science Fair
The First Robotics competition took place on Saturday March 12-14, 2015, at the Long Beach Convention Center. Sixty-six teams competed in the regional event, including teams from Chile, Colombia, and Hawaii. Read More First Robotics Competition
Congratulations to the Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) students and advisers from Sycamore Junior High, South Junior High School, and Savanna High School who competed in the MESA Day Prelims at Chapman University on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Read More MESA Day at Chapman
Kudos to South Junior High Science Department chair Rich Padilla for hosting the culminating event of the Santa Ana River project, where more than 50 students presented to their parents and other adults about the animal or plant they studied related to the Santa Ana River. Read More TACIB Santa Ana River project
Bolsa Chica Field Trip
Each quarter, 60 South Junior High students in Jamie Clapper’s environmental science class participate in a field trip to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Conservancy through the Orange County Coastkeeper’s WHALES (Watershed Heroes-Actions Linking Education to Stewardship) program. During the field trip, students hike through the Bolsa Chica wetlands, water column, and surrounding brush while learning about the area’s rich ecology and wildlife, Native American history, and restoration. Next, students collect water quality data from testing various locations at the wetlands for dissolved oxygen, temperature, nitrates, phosphates, pH, and turbidity. Since Anaheim is part of the Huntington Harbor watershed, students see trash in the channels as a direct example of how polluted urban runoff from their neighborhood streets can reach the wetland, and discuss how pollutants can harm wildlife. During the service-learning segment of the trip, students participate in a restoration project, either helping to remove invasive plant species or litter removal. The students’ stewardship is rewarded with a brief trip across the street to the beach for lunch and a few minutes to play in the waves.
California STEM Symposium
The 2nd California STEM Symposium was held in San Diego on September 22 & 23, 2014. The good work of AUHSD students and teachers was evident in four different presentations over the two days. The OC Maker Challenge workshop highlighted the work of Jack Gupton’s students at Walker Junior High School. The presentation on the P21 Sustainability Showcase was led by Bev Berekian, Jamie Clapper, and Clay Elliott, and highlighted student presentations from across the District. The Solar Cup presentation was facilitated by Clay Elliott and spotlighted the work of Savanna High School’s Solar Cup team. Mark Ellis from CSUF highlighted the work of the Transforming Academic and Cultural Identitdad through Biliteracy (TACIB) groups at South and Sycamore junior high schools and Anaheim High School.
For the past five years, the Ocean Institute in Dana Point has collaborated with the AUHSD to provide Earth Science students and teachers with hands-on, relevant lesson plans and experiences to help educate students about climate change, human impact on our ocean environments, and additionally provide an opportunity for students to become stewards of our oceans. This year, nearly 1,000 students and eight teachers will be participating in the program. The program starts with a visit to the classroom from Ocean Institute staff that introduces students to the program, including a video about the instruments they will be using as well as the research vessel that they will study aboard. The topic of climate change is approached in different ways. Students explore past climate history by looking at sediment cores, conducting experiments regarding ocean acidification and the effects on sea life, and also by looking at how plate tectonics can affect climate. The pre-trip labs and lessons, along with the field experience provide an anchor point for students and teachers that serve as a common reference for subsequent lessons throughout the year.
Once the field experience is completed, students return o the classroom and efforts are shifted to focus on what they have learned about climate change, and what type of project they would like to complete and share at the Earth's Changing Climate Conference at Magnolia High School on March 14, 2015. Past projects have included fundraising for non-profit organizations, research projects, poster presentations, oral presentations, PSA's and volunteer work at a number of local organizations.
TACIB @ Closing the Latino Opportunity Gap
Transforming Academic and Cultural Identitdad through Biliteracy (TACIB) has set out to increase mathematics and science achievement and engagement among middle school students at Anaheim High School and Sycamore and South junior high schools. The TACIB Teacher Fellows, who teacher math and science, are using a dual language and culturally/community relevant approach to engage students in learning math and science in ways that promote a stronger connection to these subjects. The goal is for students to see math and science as part of their lives.
Rich Padilla, South science department chair and TACIB Fellow, spoke about the TACIB program at the Closing the Latino Opportunity Gap Conference at Fullerton College on October 17, 2014. In this presentation, he highlighted a project his students will be carrying out to investigate the Santa Ana River and watershed.
Over 100 AUHSD science teachers participated in the return of Science Saturday on October 4, 2014. The day featured remarks by AUHSD Superintendent Michael Matsuda and a keynote presentation on Next Generation Science Standards by OCDE Science Coordinator Dean Gilbert. Over the course of the morning, teachers attended breakout workshops, choosing three sessions from the 20 best- practice workshops being facilitated by AUHSD teachers. These workshops represented teachers from 15 different schools in the District. Special thanks goes to all the presenters, teachers, and guests who made this a great event.
Click here for a complete list of workshops from the: AUHSD Science Saturday Program
Service Learning Grants
Congratulations to our science students and teachers who received funding for their service-learn projects in the first round of funding from the AUHSD Student Service Learning Foundation. The students and teachers were recognized at an event held at Oxford Academy on Oct 10, 2014 that included former State Rep. Sharon Quirk-Silva and State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson. Schools receiving grants include Sycamore Junior High, led by teacher Rosezetta Cummings; Dale Junior High, under teachers Phyllis Fukumoto and DeeDee Mann; Gilbert High School, led by Johanna Kersten and Michelle Ray; and Ball Junior High, under Randy Poggio.
In addition to the service learning grants, a number of science teachers have received funding through www.donorschoose.org or other outside sources for classroom projects. Please see the “grant funded” spreadsheet for more details on these teachers and their classroom projects. Congratulations to all.
Read about the Service Learning Grant Event: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/high-638445-students-student.html
Click here to see the science teachers who have received grants this year 2014/15: grant funded document
Oxford Academy First Annual Water Rocket Launch
On Halloween, Oxford students in Kim Nguyen’s and Justin Fournier’s AP physics 1 classes embarked on a mission to launch their rockets in costume! The students had to design and build a rocket that carried a raw egg a minimum of 75 feet into the air, only to detach the “egg-onaut” from the rocket and return it safely to Earth. Weeks leading up to launch day, students carried their rockets around school, tested their parachutes off balconies, and stored dozens of eggs in every teacher’s fridge. Post-launch, the students were required to calculate the initial velocity and maximum height of the rocket and reflect upon their design through the eyes of an engineer.
The event drew a crowd of parents, students, and staff. “Parents and grandparents were also very happy to be able to experience the event and see ‘physics in action,’” said Hilda Vazquez, assistant principal of Oxford Academy.
The event even inspired many teachers such as Tina Matic. “This was so fun,” she said. “It reminded me of projects we used to do outside in world languages, and inspired me to go beyond the classroom more often.”
Also, here’s a short trailer http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/. If you have not already seen this, it is a very touching story with ties to sustainability, project-based learning, kids, music, and the power of the human spirit.
"People realize we shouldn't throw trash away carelessly... well we shouldn't throw people away, either." From Kim Nguyen @ Oxford Here's the link to the LandPhilharmonics, where kids from other countries make music from instruments made from trash: http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/
Lexington Junior High goes to the Discovery Science Center
On November 19, 2014, the 8th grade class of Lexington Junior High School descended on the Discovery Science Center for a day of inquiry into the science of hockey and more. The logistics of getting 649 students to and from the center was itself quite a feat of organization, involving 12 buses carrying 21 faculty members and 14 parent volunteers. Students prepared for the trip by learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion in their science classes. The trip came about through a Discovery Science Center grant.
Students were encouraged to use 21st century skills to capture their learning throughout the day. Cell phones and digital cameras recorded the learning experiences. Images were brought back to the classroom and discussed. Students participated in a variety of activities on all three levels of the center. From Dino Quest to Eco Challenge to the climbing wall, students were active and involved in learning about their world through investigation.
“Over 85% of students polled felt that the trip was educational, and over half of our group felt the trip was actually FUN! Any time you can get a group of 8th grader students to enjoy an activity that promotes learning is a win in my book.” Ms. Glidden said.
“I expected not to learn much, but I actually learned a lot about inertia and physics and it was fun!” Joshua Suh said.
Participation in inquiry can provide students with the opportunity to develop general inquiry abilities, acquire investigational skills, and understand some of the concepts and principles of science. That is just what our 8th grade students from Lexington were able to do, thanks to the Discovery Science Center!
BuccyBots @ the Automation Fair
Students from Sycamore Junior High School’s robotics team were selected to represent the First Robotics FTC Challenge at this year’s Rockwell Automation Fair. The event was held at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 19-20, 2014. The Automation Fair is an industry trade show with over 150 integrated-control and information businesses represented, the leading edge of the high tech industry and manufacturing.
At the automation fair, the Sycamore students were able to demonstrate their own robots, as well as interact with adults working in the robotics field. According to team coach RoseZetta Cummings, “I am very proud of all our Sycamore kids. They really did a great job with their knowledge of engineering and their robot. Our best was from a man who was walking away, saying, "I think I just met my future boss!"
Jessica Tran, mother of team member Justin Tran, said: “I thought my son was shy, but seeing him presenting his experiences to these engineers and business people has been amazing! There is so much going on here; it is a great opportunity for the students to really see what is possible. Justin wants to continue robotics now at Anaheim High School and beyond.”
This is Sycamore’s first year competing in the First Tech Challenge. The students currently have three robots that they are working with (driving, programming, etc.).
Anaheim High School Forestry Club
This year, five ambitious students from Anaheim High School participated in the California Forestry Challenge in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. They placed 1st in the Pacing Completion, a method used by foresters to measure tree characteristics within the forest, and 10th out of 23 schools in the main competition. They currently hold the all-time precision record for the pacing contest, which is within ½ inch of a chain length (66 feet).
The Anaheim High School Forestry team is unique in being both an all-girl team and from an urban Southern California high school. On Feb. 27, 2015, state California Forestry Challenge representative Diane Dealy Neill from Sacramento visited Anaheim High School to present the team their award.
Congratulations to the Anaheim High School students and their teacher advisers, Mrs. Schultz and Mrs. Metcalfe.
Sycamore Competes at JPL Challenge at Chapman University
This year’s NASA-sponsored “Keep It Moving” engineering challenge to California students in grades six through 12: Design and construct a device that will move a billiard ball at least 5 meters using three modes of transportation (akin to a Rube Goldberg chain-reaction contraption; think Pee Wee Herman’s breakfast machine) for 20 seconds.
More than a dozen teams from schools in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Arcadia, and Apple Valley, among others, tackled the annual Jet Propulsion Laboratory Invention Challenge.
The Sycamore MESA students, under the guidance of teachers Shawn McBride and Chris McQuerrey, worked tirelessly for two months to construct their device, which utilizes gravity, elastic force, and electricity to move the billiard ball. Students Emily Calleros, Jennifer Garzon, Edwin Bermejo, Jonathan Montejo, Dennis Del Gadillo, Jaquelyn Serrano, and Jorgely Yzquierdo’s device, named “Rube Special,” delivered the billiard ball in 21.18 seconds, a score that qualifies them to travel to Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Lab for the finals, where they will compete against teams from the Los Angeles area qualifier, as well as devices built by JPL employees. Read more about the event here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/jpl-643354-teams- students.html
Plastic Ocean Pollution Summit (POPS)
Student teams from Kennedy High School, Savanna High School, and South Junior High School were among the 24 teams chosen to participate in the intensive, three-day Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions (POPS) Leadership Summit.
Coming from all over the U.S, as far afield as the Caribbean, India and Africa, these committed students already grasp the severity of plastic in the ocean. They won places at the Summit based on their innovative ideas on how best to monitor and publicize ocean plastic trash and also reduce this non-biodegradable waste.
Savanna student Andres Licea, a junior, said the following: “Going to the summit, I felt very excited. It was the next part to completing our project. I felt nervous to be around a lot of new people, because of the anticipation of presenting our ideas. We heard lots of other ideas, which made it less scary. I learned many valuable speaking tips. I learned how bad our actual ocean situation really is. One thing is that tourists of several different islands don’t know the whole picture of how dirty and ugly the island really is and how they are contributing to it. I do feel more confident about our project. I feel that now we can actually communicate with the community and get them to participate in our project. I think our next steps would be applying for the District grant so we can rally support from the community and our school with the collection of bottle caps."
Congratulation to the students and their teacher advisers: Mrs. Ledterman (Kennedy High School), Mrs. Nielsen (Savanna High School), and Mrs. Marquez (South Junior High School).
STEM Inc. Trip to CSUF
Students in the AUHSD STEM Inc. program spent Friday Feb 20, 2015, touring the engineering labs at Cal State Fullerton. The students interacted with graduate students studying a range of engineering disciplines. They saw firsthand the projects being developed, including autonomous robotic vehicles, drones, alternative fuel racecars, video games, and a range of model airplanes, some larger than a truck.
STEM Inc. is a National Science Foundation-funded, after-school enrichment program that operates in collaboration with California State University Fullerton. It targets 7th and 8th grade students at four junior high schools: Ball, Brookhurst, Lexington, and South. By using real-world activities that incorporate engineering, computer science, and business/ entrepreneurship, the program seeks to increase the number of students interested in STEM studies and careers, especially those who are female and from underrepresented groups. In this program, students work in teams to conceive, develop, and create engineering and computer-science-based products, generating high interest at an age when students typically lose interest in science and mathematics.
The STEM Inc. program is an attempt to address the following question: "Given the shifting demographics reflected in our current classrooms and in our country, what are effective and productive ways to ensure broadening participation by engaging diverse underrepresented populations in STEM programs and careers?"
Currently, the students are using the MIT app inventor to create their own video game style apps for the android platform (cell phone or tablets). Next, they will be learning to program Arduino micro- controller. This will allow them to invent autonomous intelligent devices, anything from a small robot, to an autonomous pet sitter, to a device to monitor and report pollution. There are endless possibilities.
The teacher advisers for the STEM Inc. program are Mrs. Cao and Mr. Martin of Ball Junior HG; Mr. Imbriano and Mr. Hoffman of Brookhurst Junior High;, Mr. Day and Mrs. Galvan of Lexington Junior High; and Mrs. Cho and Mrs. Ashton of South Junior High School.
OCEC STEM Service Award
Walker teacher Jack Gupton was honored on Saturday Feb 28, 2015 by the Orange County Engineering Council with a STEM Service Award.
Jack Gupton is the founding teacher of the Walker Junior High STEAM program, which introduces students to hands-on, project based learning experiences that allow them to develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving, while building real-world, in-demand skills in computer and micro-controller programming (computer science), electronics, and robotics (science and electrical engineering), computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD and 3D printing).
As an extension of their work in class, students bring their ideas to life as competitors in the OC Maker Challenge, a competition to solve a problem by designing something new or repurposing an existing item. In this event, Mr. Gupton’s junior high students compete against high school and college students from across Orange County. Last year, Mr. Gupton’s 7th and 8th grade students collectively won more awards than any other school or institution, beating out teams from local colleges in the highest level of the event, intelligent prototype design.
One of Jack’s ongoing goals in all of his educational endeavors is to promote the inclusion and success of girls and other underrepresented groups in engineering. By creating high interest activities he has created a program with a 50/50 ratio of girls to boys, as well as representation of students of socio-economic groups who are typically underrepresented in STEAM careers.
Under Jack Gupton’s leadership the Walker STEAM Academy has become a model for innovative STEM education. Teachers, university faculty, and community leaders regularly visit Walker Junior High's STEAM program to see how it can be duplicated.
Oxford Academy Competes in the Chemistry Olympiad
Oxford Academy competed in the local American Chemical Society Chemistry Olympiad Exam on Saturday March 7, 2015. The top-scoring students in this exam move on to compete in the national exam. Anna Lou, a 10th grader in Robert Nguyen’s AP Chemistry class, qualified to compete in the national exam given on April 18th, 2015.
Aquaponics Garden at Boyson Park
Anaheim High School students and teacher advisers Mrs. Metcalfe and Mrs. Schultz from the Anaheim Ecology Club spent Tuesday afternoon with Brian Chawn of the city of Anaheim, an AHS alum, and Aaron Flora, CEO and owner of Renewable Farms, water-sealing wood planks and weeding at the site of what will become a 10,000-square-foot Urban Mega Farm in Anaheim.
Airwolf 3D Printer Training
On Saturday March 14, 2015 teachers from 11 AUHSD schools met at the Airwolf 3D Printer facility in Costa Mesa to receive training on how to utilize 3D modeling software and 3D printer technology for digital manufacturing processes. Digital fabrication is based on having a digital (computer) model of something you want made and then using a digital fabrication tool to make it (digital model - digital production). Digital models are amazing to work with because they allow you to share the exact details of something you would like made with a shop up the street or on the other side of the world. Once given a digital model, a digital fabrication tool can reproduce it reliably and in high fidelity, whether you want one piece or a thousand.
The goal of the training was to give the identified teachers the skill set necessary to bring this technology back to their respective schools for use by colleagues and students. There are now 3D printers in place at all of AUHSD’s comprehensive campuses.
Sea Perch Challenge
Students from South Junior High School and Sycamore Junior High School will be competing Saturday March 21, 2015 in the Sea Perch Challenge at the University of Southern California.
SeaPerch is an innovative underwater-robotics program funded by the U.S. Navy that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). During the SeaPerch Challenge students will compete against 20 teams from across Southern California. The robot will compete in an agility course called finesse and students will be judged on their poster presentation about their build and an oral presentation led by questions from a panel of judges.
Good luck to both teams! The adviser for the Sycamore team is Mrs. Cummings, while the advisers for the South team are Mr. Bidwell and Mr. Smith.
Magnolia Science Fair
The 5th Annual Science Fair was held on May 14, 2015. Once again, the event was a huge success! There were 130 projects from Magnolia and Loara high schools and Dale Junior High on display. According to event organizer Bev Berekian, “We had judges from universities and industry, many of whom had judged multiple times in the past. The judges reported that they noticed considerable improvements in methodology this year and said we are headed in the right direction with our students."
Bev also said she is pleased to have six projects compete in the high school division from Loara High School under the direction of Sean Phi. One of Sean's students, Allan Contreras, won 3rd Place in the Product Testing Category. “Having another high school involved was a great turning point for us,” Bev said. “We will continue to invite all high schools and junior highs to compete in our annual event."
Earth's Changing Climate Symposium
This year, nine teachers from across the district were accepted into the Earth's Changing Climate Program.
The Ocean Institute came into each participating class and initiated a series of labs to give students the information they needed for the field experience. All 1,032 students then went to the Ocean Institute and participated in engaging, hands-on lessons and experiences that included a trip out to the open ocean to gather data about present ocean conditions.
Afterward, teachers led their classes in projects that reflected what they learned about Earth's climate, and in some cases, inspired student activism. This year, the symposium was kicked off by keynote speaker Carol Kravitz of the Science Reality Project, an organization funded by Al Gore in 2006. Students did oral presentations as well as a poster session. It was a wonderful success!
Solar Sprint Race
The 3rd Annual AUHSD Solar Sprint Race was held on March 14, 2015 during the Magnolia Science Fair.
Two dozen cars entered the race on Saturday with students from seven schools in the district (Ball, Dale, Orangeview, South, Sycamore, Kennedy, and Magnolia) represented.
For the Solar Sprint Race, students built a model solar-powered electric car that races down a 10 meter course. They had to apply concepts from mechanics, electricity, and design to solve this open-ended engineering problem. This year, the junior high trophy for fastest car went to students from Bill Cavenaugh’s class at Sycamore Junior High School. For the third year in a row, students from Adrian Culciar’s class at Kennedy High School won the trophy for fastest high school car.
Lexington Science Fair
Lexington held its science fair on March 13, 2015, with 130 projects presented to a group of judges. Ten Lexington Jr. High students from Anita Dunham’s class have been selected to advance to the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair.
The fair’s mission is to enable students to improve their science and engineering skills and literacy while inspiring them to consider careers in STEM fields. “We are committed to challenging students to inquire, design, investigate, and present scientific and engineering concepts through hands-on experimentation.”
This year, Mrs. Dunham had 182 students enter the fair. Projects included everything from investigations of how color filters effect solar panels, the Stroop effect, the Mpemba effect, luminols luminosity, and how caffeine affects the heart rate of water fleas. According to Mrs. Dunham, the science fair represents “21st century learning at its finest. The students are able to demonstrate the full range of skills from research, to design, to collaboration and presenting their ideas to the community, all together in one project.”
For student Manasa Lakshmi Narasimhan, the science fair “was a bit tough, due to the safety precautions required by the experiment. But it gave me the new experience of presenting to an audience, which is an important life skill. It was fun!”
First Robotics Competition (Anaheim High School + Oxford Academy)
The First Robotics competition took place on Saturday March 12-14, 2015 at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Sixty-six teams competed in the regional event, including teams from Chile, Colombia, and Hawaii. The AHS robot (aka Scrapbot) performed admirably by doing everything that was asked of him.
The mission for this year’s contest began in early January. Students had six weeks to design, build, test, redesign, rebuild, retest, and complete their robot, a big mission, with too little time, and too little resources. This leads to strategy, planning and prioritizing challenges, just like in real world engineering projects.
Anaheim High School is deeply indebted to their mentors and sponsors from Raytheon, Boeing, and VXB Ball Bearings. The kids put in a lot of hours during the build period, as well as at the competition. The above group photo was taken on a Saturday afternoon when all were exhausted after three consecutive, 14-hour days. You can learn more about the FIRST Robotics programs at http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/.
MESA Day at Chapman
Congratulations to the Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) students and advisers from Sycamore Junior High, South Junior High School, and Savanna High School who competed in the MESA Day Prelims at Chapman University on Saturday, March 7, 2015
The students competed in six different engineering based events, including speak up, team mathematics, bridges, egg drop, gliders, and mousetrap cars. All students represented AUHSD well. Outstanding job and good luck to the students who are advancing to the finals next month. Advisers for MESA are: Mr. McBride (Sycamore Junior High), Mrs. Marquez (South Junior High), and Mr. Stuart (Savanna High School).
TACIB Santa Ana River Project
Kudos to South Junior High Science Department Chair Rich Padilla for hosting the culminating event of the Santa Ana River project--over 50 students presenting to their parents and other adults about the animal or plant they studied related to the Santa Ana River!
The pictures show it was a lively and well-attended event. Thank you to staff who helped tabulate results, judge the event, develop unit materials, film the event, and, in general, support the students. CSUF faculty who had witnessed students developing these presentations a couple weeks earlier were impressed with how they turned out. Thanks, too, to all who were on hand to witness the energy and enthusiasm.
Most importantly, a big round of applause for the brave 7th graders at South who gave public presentations of 2-3 minutes to a room full of adults! This energy led many more parents to sign up for the March 27 fieldtrip to CSUF.
Transforming Academic and Cultural Identitdad through Biliteracy (TACIB) has set out to increase mathematics and science achievement and engagement among students at Sycamore and South junior high schools. The TACIB Teacher Fellows, who teach math and science, are using a dual language and culturally/community relevant approach to engage students in learning in ways that promote a stronger connection to these subjects. The goal is for students to see math and science as part of their lives.