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Science Department Objectives

Objective 1

To identify and develop best practices, instructional materials and strageties to improve and accelerate student achievement in Chemistry and Biology, as almost uniquely among high schools, we require all students to fulfill the State Standards in both Biology and Chemistry to graduate.

Why Objective was selected:  Our State standards testing results for Chemistry are lower than our other sciences and do not correlate with our internal testing results.  However, our Biology results do correlate.

How Objective relates to the standards and the school vision / ESLRs / direction:  Our intent is to refind our curriculum sequence and emphasis, as well as our instructional methods, in order to maximize student progress towards achieving proficiency in State Standards.  This is a fulfillment of part of our school vision, as encapsulated in the ESLRs.

Acitivities to meet Objective:  The department routinely will analyze data from internal benchmark and final assessments in both Chemistry and Biology to identify achievement disparities.  Data is now available to break down student achievement in individual State Standards.  This will finally allow us to correlate our internal data with the external examination data and calibrate our benchmarks precisely.

How will this Objective be monitored and by whom?  The department will review the progress made towards our Objective of reducing by 10% the number of below basic and far below basic students in the 2006 Chemistry CST test in comparison with the 2005 test.  The standard departmental data analysis will produce data on the % improvements and report to the administration in the end of year report.

The department will implement the new Active Chemistry Course as the standard course for all non-honors students, using the full range of departmentally developed materials, as well as the instructional materials and assessments provided by the NSF supported It's About Time organization, their developers and publishers.  This nationally piloted program has been shown to significantly improve out of state schools testing scores at those sites nationwide which have been piloting the program earlier than San Rafael High School.

Objective 2:

To develope cross curricular strageties with other departments to better support ELL students, with an emphasis on Science.

Why Objective was selected:  Our analysis of D and F grades as well as students falling into the below basic and far below basic categories indicate that many, although by no means all, of our ELL students are having difficulties learing in our traditional High School environment.  We feel this is equally true of the situation in our feeder schools.

How Objective relates to the standards and the school vision /ESLRs / direction:  Our intent is to refine our curriculum sequence and emphases, as well as our instructional methods, in order to maximize student progress towards achieving proficiency in State Standards.  This is a fulfillment of part of our school vision, as encapsulated in the ESLRs.

Activities to meet Objective:  Explore the rapdily developing response to improving science literacy at a state level.  Teachers will attend workshops and support professional develoopment activities sponsored by the CSP (California Science Project) and Science Alliance organizations.

How will this Objective be monitored and by whom

  • The Department Chair will summarize our activities in the end of the year report to the administration. 
  • To articulate with feeder schools to determine existing best practices and implement like practices as soon as possible.
  • The outcome of this plan objective is that the ELL test scores will improve in Biology and Chemistry or appropriate CST test.  The reduction will be at least 10% reduction in the number of below basic and far below basic students in our foundation two years of science.  The standard departmental data analysis will produce data on the % improvement and report to the administration in the end of year report.
  • Explore an introductory high school level class for 9th grade students to prepare for high school level courses. This class would be planned as an f elective, but would be effectively a 'hands on lab' science.  It would fulfill graduation requirements and would prepare all students for the more rigorous high school conceptual and quantitative science experience, of Biology and Chemistry, taken at the UC 'd laboratory science level in 10th and 11th grade.
  • ELL test scores will improve in Biology and Chemistry or appropriate CST test.  All students Chemistry CST scores will improve, by reducing the number of basic or below basic student by 10% per year. The standard departmental data analysis will produce data on the % improvements and report to the administration in the end of year report.
  • Identify other possible textbooks or supplementary materials for Biology ELL students.
  • ELL test scores will improve in the Biology CST test.  This means a reduction of basic and categories below by 10% per year. The standard departmental data analysis will produce data on the % improvements and report to the administration in the end of year report.