Ho ho ho and Education Grants: It’s the OCESS Annual “12 Grants of Christmas”

December 24, 2017

Looking for ways to fund classroom projects, teacher professional development, and science education change at your school? OCESS’s annual “12 Grants of Christmas” can help out:

  • On the First Day of Christmas…I designed a community environmental project to submit to the US EPA for the President’s Environmental Youth Award.
  • On the Second Day of Christmas…I contacted my local Wells Fargo manager to apply for funding for an educational project.
  • On the Third Day of Christmas…I contacted the DuPont Office of Education with an idea for an inquiry-based STEM education project.
  • On the Fourth Day of Christmas…I sent an application to the Toshiba USA America Foundation to purchase instructional equipment for my grade 6-12 classroom.
  • On the Fifth Day of Christmas…I submitted an application to the Fund for Teachers for a summer fellowship for a professional development project.
  • On the Sixth Day of Christmas…I wrote a proposal to the NEA Foundation for a grant of up to $5,000 for a project that promotes students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and self-directed learning.
  • On the Seventh Day of Christmas…I dreamed big dreams for a Toyota USA Foundation grant for my K-12 science and math education project.
  • On the Eighth Day of Christmas…I contacted the McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation with an idea for a professional development project to improve instruction at our school.
  • On the Ninth Day of Christmas…I thought up a classroom STEM project to submit for a $1500 Ohio Space Grant Consortium Mini-Grant.
  • On the Tenth Day of Christmas…I noticed that the Verizon Foundation funds a wide range of educational projects that could help my school.
  • On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…I contacted the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics with an idea for a project to improve STEM instruction in my school.
  • On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…I applied to Pets In the Classroom to support my classroom aquarium.

And during the rest of the year, you can find even more grant opportunities on the OCESS Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/OCESS) and Facebook page.



Save the dates: EECO conferences in 2018

December 3, 2017

Environmental Education Council of Ohio (EECO) Retreat and Winter Snow Conference
February 2–3, 2018
Camp Nuhof, 1077 Hanover Twp. Rd 2916, Perrysville, OH 44864
Conference theme: Creative Ways to Teach STEM in Winter
Conference strands

  • STEM
  • Arts
  • Environmental Literacy
  • 21st Century Skills or Careers and the Environment

2018 EECO Annual Conference
April 12–15 2018
Maumee State Park
Conference strands

  • Lake Erie and Water Education
  • Strategic Growth for Organizations
  • Outdoor Education and Natural History
  • Sustainability and Energy

Updated information will be posted to the EECO website when available: www.eeco-online.org


From ODE: Volunteer for science Model Curriculum team

November 27, 2017

From the Ohio Department of Education:

Beginning today through Jan. 5, 2018, educators who have expertise in science, social studies and financial literacy may nominate themselves or colleagues to serve on writing teams to update Ohio’s Model Curriculum. We are seeking content experts with experience ranging from kindergarten through higher education.

Model curricula writing team members will make updates based on revisions to Ohio’s Learning Standards, which are expected to be approved in early 2018. Click here to nominate yourself or a colleague to serve on a writing team.


Advice about transitioning to the revised science standards

October 20, 2017

Guidelines for Transition to Revised Science Standards

(This document is not official ODE guidance, but was created with information from the ODE science team and educators on the science revision advisory committee and working group)

As most of you are aware, ODE is in the process of revising the standards and model curriculum for science, social studies and financial literacy. The details below are specifically for the science revisions.

Science Standards Bottom Line:

  • Don’t sweat now about possible revisions; there is still time for detailed planning during next school year. You may begin to familiarize yourself with any major topics which have been added to or deleted from your course or grade level, being aware that the information will be incomplete.
  • 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years — continue to teach the 2010 standards
  • 2018-19 school year — work on curriculum mapping in preparation for Fall, 2019 implementation
  • Fall, 2019 — implement the revised standards
  • Spring, 2020 — first administration of tests using revised standards

With input from the field last winter, the advisory committee and working group developed a draft of changes to the standards. Input on those changes was solicited over the summer and a final draft has been submitted to the state board. The draft will be considered by the board and legislature and be available this winter. But once adopted, the standards we see this winter will be incomplete. If you are familiar with the structure of a one-page content statement in K-8, you will remember that there is the content statement along with some descriptors in the left column. The content elaborations, with the real explanatory detail, are in the right column. Officially, the “standards” are only the left column. The “elaborations” are officially part of the model curriculum. The elaborations drafts were developed in tandem with the standards, since they need to be considered together to accurately communicate the expectations to teachers. But the elaborations won’t be approved until next year. Likewise, the high school standards consist only of the syllabi. The elaborations which follow and define the scope of material to be covered for each topic are a part of the model curriculum and will not be officially adopted at this time. Major curriculum and resource decisions should be delayed until information in the elaborations is available and adopted.

Note that as of today (10/19/17) the ODE website is still suggesting that implementation of the revised standards begin as early as spring, 2018.


But since the elaborations part may not be released by that time, or if released will only be in draft form and not adopted, we are strongly advising that you hold off on implementation and, instead, begin transition planning during the 2018-19 school year when we will have a more complete and accurate picture of the expectations.

We are hoping that the content elaborations draft will be released later in the school year so districts can have a better idea of what is coming. As soon as we know, we will get the word out. Thanks for your patience.

David Vernot, curriculum consultant, vernotd@bcesc.org

Butler County Educational Service Center


Webinar on connecting children to nature August 24

August 5, 2017

The Role of Youth Leadership & Stewardship in Connecting Children to Nature
Thursday, August 24, 2017 2:00–3:00 pm EDT

Cultivating youth leadership & stewardship can be a valuable tool for city leadership to equitably connect youth to nature. Through strategic youth leadership activities, youth in cities can be more connected to nature and take a leadership role in ensuring younger children are able to experience the benefits of nature connection. In response to the disconnect many youth living in urban environments experience from parks and open spaces, elevating youth stewardship in a city can be a tool to empower youth to see themselves as change-makers in creating accessible public lands. Learn from several cities within the CCCN cohort on strategies they employed to strengthen youth leadership & stewardship in their cities.

Featured Speakers:

Bennett Knox, Parks Administrator, Parks Administrator,
Louisville Metro Parks & Recreation

Sonya Sankaran, Consultant at Madison Dane County Public Health

Pegah Rahmanian, Executive Director, Youth in Action


From ODE: Science test questions and other resources

August 3, 2017

From the Ohio Department of Education:

A partial release of items from the spring 2015, 2016, and 2017 Science Ohio State Tests is now available in the Ohio’s State Test portal.  These items give educators insight into the kinds of questions students experienced, and they are a useful tool to inform classroom instruction.  Both teachers and parents may use this resource to help students know what to expect.

Included with each item in this release are the associated learning standard(s) and the scoring rubrics. Examples of student responses also are available to illustrate actual work and the corresponding points earned on the student examples.

Online Practice Tests Are Now Able To Be Scored

The student on-line practice tests accessed through Ohio’s State Test Portal now feature real-time item-scoring to allow a student immediate feedback on each item. The item score will show how many points the student earned for the response; how many points are possible for the item; and information about why the student’s response was correct or incorrect. The practice tests will not provide test scores (e.g., no scale score, no performance level) or item scoring information for test administrators.  If the Practice Test Sign In page does not appear after selecting the Student Practice Site, try using a different browser, such as Firefox or Google.

To obtain scores on these practice test items, users need to select the End Test icon on the top row of the screen. This icon only appears on screen when the user reaches the last question in the practice test session. Constructed response items are not eligible for scoring by computer. A scoring rubric is available in the Item Release Scoring Guide for each set of these practice items. For released constructed response items, educators can use the scoring rubrics as tools for providing feedback on written student responses.

New Item Types Available for Online Tests

A pair of new item types, Inline Choice and Gap Match, are now available for online Ohio’s State Tests. These new item types will be eligible to appear as field test items during the 2017-2018 school year. Field test items do not count for or against a student’s overall score. To help teachers and students become familiar with these new item types, the practice test for each grade level or high school course feature an example of each new item type.

A video tutorial demonstrating the functionality of each new item type is available in the test portal. Students can access tutorial videos for each of the various item types, including the newly added Inline Choice and Gap Match item types through the test portal any time before or after testing. During testing, students can access the tutorial videos through the testing platform.


Skype a Scientist matches scientists with classrooms around the world

July 31, 2017

Over 1700 scientists are available to videoconference with classrooms. For more information, visit the Skype a Scientist website.