California Charter Schools Conference

CK-12 Foundation is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the

18th Annual California Charter Schools Conference

When: March 7-10, 2011
Where: San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA

Four Chances to Win an iPad!

Visit booth #413 for a hands-on FlexBook demonstration to learn more about how you can deliver a customized textbook to your students. While you’re there, you may enter our raffle for a chance to win a FREE iPad! We will be raffling off 2 iPads on Tuesday and 2 iPads on Wednesday.

You’re Invited

Join us in the San Diego Convention Center’s Mezzanine Lobby for a cocktail reception on Tuesday, March 8th, at 6:30pm.

About the Conference

The California Charter Schools Conference inspires academic excellence, operational integrity and unity among charter schools throughout California.

What You Will Learn

The goal of the conference is to bring together the entire charter school community to support one another in achieving excellence in every aspect of running a school. Innovative charter leaders from throughout California will present their proven strategies for increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap. Our experts will lead sessions about balancing your budget, obtaining a new facility, creating a safe school environment, building a productive and excellent board and how to strongly advocate for you school on the local, state and federal level. We will also have new programming about technology, fund raising, developing new charter schools, independent study and online learning.

Who Should Attend

The conference is for teachers, board members, administrators, business managers, parents, university educators, political leaders, business partners and community stakeholders. Every year the conference features an all-new program, so many attendees come again and again.

For more information about the conference and to register, please visit:
To schedule a meeting with CK-12 at the conference, please email with “CCSA” in the subject line.

“Oh yeah, that’s right!”

Do you ever stop to wonder why we need someone to prove to us something that we innately know to be true?

We tend not to believe certain facts until and unless someone with credentials proves to us that they represent a truth. The proof comes from spending years of their life deciphering the concepts, followed by research papers, book/s on the topic, and that’s when we can safely say “Oh yeah, that’s right. Continue reading…

A CK-12 Case Study

Leadership Public Schools and CK-12 College Access Readers

Leadership Public Schools (LPS) is a network of four urban charter high schools in the California Bay Area. The majority of our students enter 9th grade reading far below grade level but all participate in college preparatory courses. Given this reality, LPS leverages CK-12  not only to develop low-cost, tailored textbooks, but also to scaffold these to provide better access for our students.  Specifically, we are embedding literacy scaffolds directly into CK-12 Algebra, Geometry, and Biology materials to create flexbooks we call College Access Readers. Students with higher-level literacy skills use the original CK-12 content flexed to our scope and sequence. The lowest readers will soon access the materials through text-to-speech versions or Spanish translations.

LPS CK-12 Resources

College Access Reader cover image College Access Readers:  An Introduction
Louise Bay Waters, LPS Superintendent & CEO, EditorAn overview of the rationale, instructional strategies, and systems implications for the Readers.
Flexmath cover image Flexmath
Todd McPeak, CK-12 Math Specialist and former LPS Math Curriculum Specialist, DeveloperA highly successful, web-based, interactive Algebra program with individualized practice and backfill numeracy skills (see chapter 5 from the CAR Introduction, above).

LPS CK-12 Downloads

Algebra I - College Access Reader cover image College Access Reader: Algebra 1
CK-12 Algebra flexed to align with Flexmath with embedded literacy supports.
Geometry - College Access Reader cover image College Access Reader: Geometry
CK-12 Geometry flexed to align with College Access Geometry with embedded literacy supports.
Geometry - Lesson Plans and Exams cover image
Michael Fauteux and Rosamaria Zapata, LPS-Hayward math teachers, authors.

A structured Geometry program of daily lesson plans and teacher supports (see chapter 5 from CAR introduction above). To obtain the version of the Lesson Plans and Exams with embedded answers as well as additional Quizzes, please complete the teacher request form.

Biology - College Access Reader cover image College Access Reader: BiologyCK-12 Biology flexed to provide extensive literacy supports.
With Text-to-Speech cover image College Access Reader: With Text-to-Speech & Spanish Translation SupportsAccelerating the achievement of urban high school students by embedding literacy instruction in college preparatory curricula.

Other Overview Resources

A paper on the LPS flexing process (pdf).

LPS Contact:  Julie Christensen, LPS Reading and Literacy Specialist,

Why even bother with Superman?


For some time there has been much talk about “Waiting for Superman” but I now feel compelled to join the conversation.

I do believe that this movie did a lot to accelerate the dialogue about what we have done with our education system but to be honest I believe the conversation has headed down the wrong path.The problem is not charter schools vs. public schools and which is better than the other but rather what we, as adults, are doing to our children. Continue reading…

Share your content with the CK-12 community

Share your secret sauce with other teachers!

Have you designed a great lesson plan for your class, developed an interesting worksheet or set of problems for your students, or created exciting labs and activities to supplement your science/math textbook? How would you like to share this creative product with your teaching community? We’d like to hear about it.
Just donate your favorite problem set, worksheet, lab, activity or lesson plan that covers any of the middle- or high-school science/math subjects and we will publish it on CK-12 under the CC-BY-NC-SA license. Attach your work to an email and include the abstract of your idea, the grade level for which it is intended and the course it is designed to cover. Send your work as a Word document to .
Thanks for your interest in CK-12 Foundation and for sharing your secret sauce with the teaching community at large!

Author Agreements and Terms of Use

You agree that you are donating your contributions to CK-12 and you will not receive monetary reimbursement. If the submission is accepted, we reserve the right to correct minor oversights in punctuation, grammar, or spelling. We will attribute you as author under the CC-BY-NC-SA license.   We may contact you if your submission is accepted for use. Submissions may be accepted and used at a later time. We cannot guarantee acceptance or date of publication of any submission.

By submitting your work, you authorize publication of your contribution in any or all of the following:

  1. CK-12 FlexBooks

  2. CK-12 Website

  3. CK-12 ePUB Editions (and other supported output formats)

For further information, you can also take a look at our Guide to Authoring a Science FlexBook.

By submitting to the CK-12 site, you are agreeing to abide by its terms of use. We want to make sure you are pleased with how your contribution appears on the site. If you have further questions, please click here.

To submit your contribution, click here. Please enter the type of submission in the subject line and attach your Word and/or zipped up art files. In the body of the email, please include a short description, the intended grade and appropriate course for your given attachment. If you are interested in donating other types of materials to CK-12, like a full-blown learning module, chapter, book, or a translation of something already in the CK-12 library, please contact us directly.

Note: Some ISPs limit the size of attachments. We suggest limiting the size to 10Mb or less. Please contact us directly if you’d like to submit documents exceeding this limit.

Your email address is held in strictest confidence according to our privacy agreement and used only to contact you with any questions regarding your submission or to let you know that your contribution was accepted.

Common Cause

It was really thrilling to be invited to represent the educational part of a recent White House delegation to India, led by White House CTO Aneesh Chopra and Alec Ross, senior adviser for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.The trip was quite informative for me, since I have not kept up with the educational system in India.


An Indian Classroom

Use of Resources

To be honest, I was expecting the “same old same old” list of complaints… we don’t have enough resources, our teachers don’t show up or aren’t truly present in the classroom, our students are not interested, etc.But what struck me the most was the use of resources:when there are resources, they are not being used in a very productive way.For the most part, the Continue reading…

Words with Friends


I am a big fan of Scrabble – I played it on a board until Facebook offered it online. So, I played it with absolute delight with my friends. Life got even more interesting when “Words with Friends” (a twist on Scrabble) was offered on the iPAD and iPhone. Now – I play with my friends, my children, with their friends, colleagues, my nephew and my sister in India.By now you should be asking “where do you have the time?” I don’t.

“Aren’t you working on your dream project?” Actually, I work all the time.

So when do I play? Whenever I have a few minutes – you don’t need hours like I did with a board. The way these online games work is that you play at your own pace. For example, if I have a few minutes between meetings, when I need something different to do, I can take a turn with whoever else has their game turned on at the same time.

Earlier this year when I was at the TED conference (I love this conference and I go every year) I was watching Jane McGonigal – a game designer – present on gaming and its value proposition. I know that there is a lot going on in this field for learning. The proposition is very simple – by the time gamers are 21 years-old they have played for 10,000 hours. Now we all know that there is literature on this concept “making of an expert.” 10,000 hours is the number of hours that people have to immerse themselves to become an expert. So, I ask what do these gamers become “experts” at?

McGonigal believes that gamers learn four main things from gaming:

  • Urgent optimism
  • Creating a tight social fabric
  • Blissful productivity, and
  • Epic meaning

I have a different view of gaming. Here’s how I think gaming and learning affect players:

  • Excitement about the process – the appealing colorfulness, friendliness and fluidity all combine to produce an exciting process
  • Unpredictability – “what’s coming next” produces endorphins that keep the excitement going
  • “Fix it” mentality – the realization that this is not final and I can always restart and do it again
  • “Face saving” – only I will see the outcome
  • “Instant gratification” – both disappointing as well as rewarding, it allows me to keep going and fix it next time or at least have the chance to fix it
  • “Repeatability” – I can do it again

The question is… is there really any learning going on?  And what does this learning look like?  Can we compromise with this kind of learning with the kind of learning that we have traditionally accepted as real learning?

Science Books Page

CK-12 Earth Science – Middle School
A work in progress, CK-12 Earth Science for the middle school student covers the study of Earth – its minerals and energy resources, processes inside and on its surface, its past, water, weather and climate, the environment and human actions, and astronomy.
For the HTML version, click here.
For the PDF version, click here.

CK-12 Life Science – Middle School
An introduction to Life Science, this FlexBook for the middle school student is a work in progress covering seven units: Understanding Living Things; Cells: The Building Blocks of Life; Genetics and Evolution; Prokaryotes, Protists, Fungi, and Plants; The Animal Kingdom; The Human Body; and Ecology.
To view the book, click here.

CK-12 Earth Science – High School
A work in progress, CK-12 Earth Science for the high school student covers the study of Earth – its minerals and energy resources, processes inside and on its surface, its past, water, weather and climate, the environment and human actions, and astronomy.

To view the book, click here.

CK-12 Biology
CK-12 Biology is a high school FlexBook covering cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, microorganisms, eukaryotes, plants, animals, and physiology – it is a work in progress.
To view the book, click here.

CK-12 Chemistry – Second Edition
A new and improved second edition, this FlexBook covers: Scientific Method; Matter; Atomic Structure; Elements & Their Properties; Chemical Reactions; Stoichiometry; Chemical Kinetics; Physical States of Matter; Thermodynamics; Nuclear Chemistry; and Organic Chemistry.
To view the book, click here.

Cellphoon Reapars (Cellphone Repair)

I cannot help but think about all the money that we are spending on education and educating our future generation. Often I wonder “How much?” “How much is enough?” I struggle with this question and have not come up with any answer yet. We spend billions of dollars and say repeatedly “we are the best country in the world” and yet we are falling behind many other countries in educating our children.

The truth is, people who have passion or curiosity or desire don’t stop. They want to do……. For example, I have seen students sitting in extremely hot temperatures with very little water or food and yet out of these conditions comes brilliance. I know many stories of people who came from places where they had nothing and yet they achieved much. We talk about being turned off by teachers yet there are many examples of teachers who are the “light” behind their students’ love for learning.

I would like to share this snippet from the blog of Shekar Kapur, a leading director of Indian movies. It illustrates the interesting issue of money spent not always correlating with results achieved. This blog excerpt, talks about his experience with a couple of young poor boys in Juhu Market in Mumbai:

“A greater ‘hole in the wall’ you cannot imagine.  A small fading sign on the top saying “Cellphoon reapars” barely visible through the street vendors crowding the Juhu Market in Mumbai. On my way to buy a new Blackberry, my innate sense of adventure (foolishness) made me stop my car and investigate. A shop not more than 6 feet by 6 feet. Grimy and uncleaned.

“Can you fix a blackberry ?”

“Of course , show me.”

“How old are you?”


Bullshit. He was no more than 10. Not handing my precious blackberry to a 10 year old in unwashed and torn T shirt and pyjama’s! At least if I buy a new one, they would extract the data for me. Something I have been meaning to do for a year now.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“Well, the roller track ball does not respond. It’s kind of stuck and I cannot operate it.”

He grabs it from my hand and looks at it.

“You should wash your hands. Many customers have same problem. Roller ball get greasy and dirty, then no working.”

Look who was telling me to wash my hands. He probably has not bathed for 10 days; I leaned out to snatch my useless blackberry back.

“You come back in one hour and I fix it.’”

You may wonder “how the heck do these kids with no access of any kind of information know how to work out the problem with a Blackberry?” Yet, fix it they did, he and his brother. In six minutes! Where does all this knowledge or experience come from?

Where would he even get a Blackberry to learn from in the first place?

What does it say about our students and their passion?  What does it say about our constant lamenting about lack of resources?

Is lack of resources just a mindset?  What level of resources is enough to teach and learn from?  Really, is the issue that our students just don’t care about learning the way we teach or what they want to learn?

“I went home having discovered the true entrepreneurship that lies at what we call the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Some may call it piracy, which of course it is, but what can you say about two uneducated and untrained brothers aged 10 and 19 that set up a ‘hole in the wall’ shop and can fix any technology that the greatest technologists in the world can throw at them.

I smiled at the future of our country.  If only we could learn to harness this potential.

“Please wash your hands before use” were his last words to me. Now I am feeling seriously unclean.”

Food for thought!

(Photo by Podknox