By Isabella Craig
UW News Lab

OpenSciEd, a curriculum crafted by leading science researchers and educators that goes beyond traditional science teaching methods, was touted as a success in its initial pilot process at the Highline School District Board Meeting on Wednesday night, May 1, 2024.

“Students have responded very favorably to the curriculum. The students are really asking that their learning be relevant,” said Laura Schneider, Director of Secondary Instruction, during her presentation on the outcomes of the pilot.

First piloted in the Winter of 2023-2024, the resulting success led the team to recommend the curriculum for permanent adoption in the district. “Based on our thorough review of the program submitted and available open education resources, as well as data from piloting two of the highest quality programs, the committee is recommending adoption of the OpenSciEd biology program, which scored highly throughout all phases of the review and pilot process,” said Nicole Flynn, Secondary Science Specialist. The introduced curriculum aligns with the State Science Learning Standards (NGSS). 

The OpenSciEd curriculum, which has already been piloted by more than half of high school biology teachers, will continue the implementation plan to include co-teachers and new teachers for the following year. For schools that do not offer biology courses, such as Maritime or Innovation Heights, the OpenSciEd curriculum will be accessible for life science courses.

Student pilot surveys found that “an average of about 80% of students shared that they made contributions to the lessons” and “that they also felt their ideas were respected,” Flynn commented. Flynn also noted that students found “The OpenSciEd Materials were easy to learn and understand” and that they “really appreciated getting to look at real data.”

Called to order by President Angelica Alvarez, the school board meeting covered two action items, three introductory items, and recognitions for Teachers Appreciation Week, Arts Education Month, School Nurse Day, School Lunch Hero Day, and a presentation by White Center Heights Elementary School.

Two action items were approved during the meeting. The first was Resolution No. 05-24 Authorizing Interlocal Contract with Harris County Department of Education to Access Competitively Bid Contracts. Chief Financial Officer of Highline Public Schools, Jackie Bryan, said that interlocal agreements would save the district time and money at no cost. President Alvarez moved the Highline School Board to approve the motion, which passed 5-0.

The second action item, Resolution No. 06-24, Authorizing Master Intergovernmental Cooperative Purchasing Agreement with GovMVMT Purchasing Cooperative to Access Competitively Bid Contracts. President Alvarez said: “This enables both entities to collaborate and jointly pursue procurement of services and goods to the mutual benefit and efficiency of the community.” The motion passed unanimously.

Read the full agenda packet for this meeting here.

More info on the Highline School Board is here.

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