Laying the Foundation: Our NGSS Journey of Getting Elementary School Students Ready for Middle School
by Kim Chanda, Janel Poon, and Richard Yang
Providing quality science instruction at the elementary level is an endeavor for many general education teachers. Although intimidating, science instruction in elementary school allows students to develop skills that will enable them to compete in an increasingly scientific and technological society. As California NGSS K-8 early Implementation Initiative Teacher Leaders for Aspire Public Schools, a charter organization that focuses on providing education for underserved students in low-income neighborhoods, Richard Yang and Kim Chanda are elementary science specialists, and Janel Poon is a 6th-grade middle school science teacher. Learn More…
by Maralee Thorburn and Debra Schneider
Teachers in Tracy Unified School District, a CA NGSS Early Implementation Initiative district, recently participated in a lesson study where they planned a lesson to explore the behavior of waves in an 8th grade classroom, and had the opportunity to teach and debrief a portion of the lesson together. They agreed to focus on reading and talk strategies to increase students’ learning; this was a challenge for teachers who were comfortable teaching science but not as comfortable in supporting ELA literacy standards. Teachers were pleased to discover that these strategies gave students time to think, reflect, and cement their learning. The result was rich, deep discussions as well as evidence of content knowledge retention weeks later. Learn More…
CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2017 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. For more information regarding proposals, and to submit one today, follow the links below.
Short Course Proposal Deadline: February 6, 2017
by Laura Henriques
It’s that time of year again when we ask our members to consider nominating themselves (or a peer) to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors. It’s an important task and not to be taken lightly, but it is rewarding, interesting, and if you are a member in good standing, it’s something you are eligible to do.
CSTA Board of Directors take feedback from our members and help move the organization forward. Board members serve for two years (with the opportunity to run for a second two-year term). If elected you would attend quarterly board meetings (virtual meetings and in-person meetings), serve on CSTA committees and provide input to the organization. You get to work with other committed science educators to promote high quality science education in California. As a board member you will be informed of legislative issues, learn about opportunities to serve, and be on the forefront of policies associated with science education. Learn More…
The volunteer/interpreter and judge sign up for the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair are live online.
Volunteer/Interpreter registration website is live. We have volunteer jobs open starting Thurs, May 11 through Fri, May 19. The greatest need for interpreters is Wed, May 17. https://student.societyforscience.org/volunteers. Learn More…
Huge fan of The Martian?!
Physics and Astronomy Lover?
You’ll be in good company when you’re at the NSTA National Conference listening to keynote speaker, Andy Weir. Here are some highlighted events surrounding Andy and The Martian and there will be much more happening in the Exhibit Hall like the Cargo Drop Challenge (you’ll be able to recreate a scene from the book by designing your own landing mechanism to drop supplies to a landing area!). Learn More…
The next iteration of the NGSS Rollout series of professional learning events written and produced by a collaboration between the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance, and California Science Teachers Association will launch in May 2017 and will focus primarily on the new Science Curriculum Framework. Please mark your calendars for the following dates and locations and stay tuned to your email inbox for a notice when registration opens. Learn More…
The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.
Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!
An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. Learn More…
California Alternate Assessment for Science Training Sample Is Here!
The training test for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science is now available on the CAASPP Portal CAAs Web page! This training test is the same type of embedded performance task (PT) that will be administered during this year’s pilot CAA for Science. Designed to be administered one on one, the training test PT is nonsecure and for use in preparing for the pilot CAA for Science.
The training test is aligned with the grade five California Next Generation Science Standards but can be used by students in any of the tested grades to familiarize both educators, students, parents, and stakeholders with the testing format of the pilot. The CDE is preparing a letter for LEAs to use to inform parents about this innovative test and the availability of the training test. Learn More…
by Jessica Sawko
January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.
California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing
The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.
by Lisa Hegdahl
Since the California State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2013, CSTA and its partners across the state have tried vigilantly to get the message out that the NGSS are like nothing any of us have ever seen before in Science education. The focus thus far has been on the structure of NGSS and the conceptual shifts in the classroom instruction. However, these shifts also apply to how we assess NGSS. This assessment conversation will become even more critical as the new California Science Test (CAST) makes its debut.
Facts about the CAST Pilot Test:
- Pilot test will take place in Spring 2017
- All LEAs will administer the pilot versions of the CAST and California Alternate Assessment for Science (CAA) as part of the 2016–17 CAASPP administration.
- Will be taken by all California fifth graders, 8th graders, and all students in a selected grade levels at each High School (The high school grade assignments are now available on the CAASPP Portal High School Grade Assignments for 2016–17 Science Pilot Testing Web page.)
- Each grade level pilot will have 10-15 discrete items and a performance task.
- The pilot will take approximately one-hour to complete including a brief student survey at the end of the test.
- The CAA for Science pilot test will be administered to any student in grade five, eight, or the assigned high school grade with an individualized education program that identifies them for alternate assessment and should be assigned to the CAA for Science pilot test. Instructions for assigning tests can be found in the TOMS Pre-Administration Guide for CAASPP Testing linked on the CAASPP Portal Manuals and Instructions Web page.
- Accessibility Supports for students with IEPs or 504 plans will be limited for the Pilot but will be in place for the Operational Test in Spring 2019.
- Online training tests are now available. These allow teachers, parents and students to go online and try out a small number of sample tasks and questions in preparation for the statewide pilot test in the spring.
CSTA members save up to $90 on registration!
Not a member of CSTA? Join/Renew today:
by Jessica Sawko
The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…
What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.
CSET Field Testing Opportunities
Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. Learn More…
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