Continuing Change - Update

Next Generation Science Standards logo

For the last two years, the district I worked for has been tirelessly working toward curriculum changes that would better line up with the new state science standards. The challenge has been to do such a task while minimizing the impact on the IB curriculum and offerings. Previously, unless I am mistaken, Michigan required 1 credit of biology, 1 credit of chemistry or physics, 0.5 credits of earth science, and 0.5 credits of another science for a total of 3 credits. Our district accomplished this by requiring 1 credit of Biology, 0.5 credits of Earth Science, 0.5 credits of Physics 1, 0.5 credits of Chemistry 1, and 0.5 credits of Chemistry 2 or Physics 2 for graduation. The IB curriculum still allowed for these requirements to be met albeit a little bit differently. Now, Michigan is requiring 1 credit Biology, 1 credit Earth Science, and 1 credit of Chemistry or Physics. Here’s what this means for Chemistry: students will meet their Chemistry (and Physics) credit requirement during their freshman year. In other words, Chemistry 2 is no longer required but is instead an elective that some students may choose to take prior to IB Chemistry (or Physics 2 prior to IB Physics). Students on the IB diploma track will also be “exempt” from taking Earth Science.

Note: the Chemistry and Physics courses are semester-long courses.

There is no doubt that the district’s NGSS work will continue. Michigan hasn’t officially adopted NGSS, instead adopting the Michigan Science Standards (based on NGSS). The Michigan Science Standards (MSS) has a lot of similarities with NGSS in terms of how we would teach the content. The district is working toward having a robust Google Team Drive with common assessments and materials accessible at the district office and at each high school. As you might imagine, there will be a push for more Earth Science and/or Biology teachers and less need for Chemistry or Physics instructors after freshman year.

This brings me to an announcement…

June 14, the last day of school, was my last day of teaching in Portage. There are reasons for this that I would be happy to address on a 1:1 basis; ChemEdX is not the proper forum for this discussion. I am job searching both in industry (Learning & Development) and academia (teaching). If I land a teaching position, I will plan to continue contributing to ChemEdX. If I land in industry, I will bid farewell. Ultimately, I will do what is best for my family and me. If you would like to reach out, please email me at