On January 16, 2021, and again on May 15, 2021, IslandWood staff, teacher participants, and collaborative partners gathered on Zoom to discuss community-centered science storylines at the secondary level. With support from a high school science teacher/co-facilitator from North Kitsap School District and two phenomenal guest speakers (a scientist from Olympic National Park and a citizen/scientist from the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe), teachers explored how local phenomena interact with the Next Generation Science Standards, climate change, ecosystems and people in a community. After working through an example storyline focused on changing Dungeness River flows, teachers practiced centering a local phenomena in their own curriculum and witnessed how this practice increases learning equity and supports student engagement.
After multiple small-group sessions to reflect on implementation, teachers left the course having developed tools to increase students’ understanding of climate change and capacity to think about climate change solutions. One teacher said, “This course was definitely worthwhile because it helped me think about my students in new and important ways. Before this course, I did not realize that the NGSS standards were meant to include identities and interests. I have always known that connecting to student lives is important, but this course reminded me that casual connections are not enough. Spending focused time on student experiences and leveraging these experiences to guide lessons has helped my students be even more invested in their learning.”