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ESCAPE: Equitable Science Curriculum Integrating Arts in Public Education
The Equitable Science Curriculum for integrating Arts in Public Education (ESCAPE) addresses a profound problem: science learning deficits among the growing population of elementary students who are non-native English speakers. Focusing on six high-need Southern California school districts, ESCAPE targets grade 3-5 English Language Learners (ELLs) in developing the academic language needed to understand scientific concepts. To address learning challenges posed by difficult scientific vocabulary, the project integrates the arts' more concrete strategies to illustrate the sciences' more abstract concepts, exploiting similarities between these disciplines' shared basis in crosscutting concepts like pattern, cause/effect, scale, proportion, and quantity. The grade 3-5 focus is crucial because comprehension at this level is pivotal to future achievement. Led by University of California-Irvine STEM faculty (with support from UCI's CalTeach preservice science teacher development program), the partnership includes teachers and administrators from the Orange County Department of Education and six school districts, WestEd educational consultants, and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

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