Science@OC program in Buena Park

The Buena Park Story                                The Santa Ana Story

In 2009 Science@OC requested funding to send two of the lowest scoring districts in 8th grade Science to the National Strategic Planning Institute in Washington, D.C. to develop a plan to raise student achievement by implementing an inquiry–centered science program. Buena Park was one of the selected school districts and the Samueli Foundation provided the funding. The six member team from Buena Park representing, central and building level administration, science teachers and business completed a three year strategic. The plan addresses the five critical success categories for a successful science program as recognized by the National Research Council: Curriculum, Professional Development, Assessment, Materials Management and Community and Administrative Support.

Sue Neuen, of Science@OC, put a budget to the plan and approached Nutrilite, a major corporation in Buena Park to provide funding so that implementation of exem- plary science could begin. Nutrilite paved the way for an Amway grant of which the first payment was received in January 2011. In March, the Buena Park School Board passed the Letter of Agreement with Science@OC and immediately the purchase of science units and plans for professional development were underway.

Strategic Plan

The Buena Park Strategic Planning Team

By way of background, in 2010, 35% of the 8th grade students in Buena Park scored Below Basic or Far Below Basic in science on the California STAR test. The student population is 80% minority with 67% of the students participating in the Free and Reduced–priced Lunch Program. Buena Park has one Junior High School where there are 1,212 students in grades 7 and 8.

Buena Park Science Implementation for 2011 includes:

  1. After school planning for all middle school science teachers
  2. Purchase of inquiry-centered science units of study that align with the California State Science Standards for both 7th and 8th grades, beginning with Optics for 7th grade and Force and Motion for 8th grade in the September.
  3. Exemplary professional development on the science units and best practices to be held in August, including Expository Writing for Science, and ePortfolios
  4. Exemplary professional development on the science units and best practices to be held in August, including Expository Writing for Science, and ePortfolios

With strong administrative and community support Buena Park is off to a great start in advancing student achievement in science.