January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 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. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal Learn More…

The Condensed Framework

by Alan Colburn

The California Science Framework was commissioned by the State Board of Education. Its purpose is to help us translate the vision of the state’s science standards into classroom practice–including guidance to teachers at all grade levels about what to teach, how to teach it, and when to do it.

The California NGSS are ambitious, and their implementation is complex. Communicating complex things requires lots of words. The California Science Framework is more than 1,800 pages long. You’d have to read somewhere between 150 and 200 articles in NSTA journals like The Science Teacher or Science and Children to match that Learn More…

Start Big!

by Peter A’Hearn

“The cell is the basic unit of life”

Oh to be a first-year teacher again! I had just spent four (ok five) years getting a degree in Biology and I was pretty sure I could teach everything I knew in one year of high school Biology. In talking to many other teachers and professors, this turns out to be a pretty common first-year teacher delusion. So I don’t feel so bad. Learn More…

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

Integrating Science & ELA: Discoveries from the Early Implementer Evaluators

by Ashley Iveland and Tyler Burr

Student writing in Science Notebook on results from testing their design next to the finished design of their pollinator.

A second-grade classroom is “a-buzz” with students drawing designs and researching pollinators. They are learning about animals that pollinate plants by watching videos and reading a variety of print and online sources. Their research reinforces the observations they made while in the school garden and will help them as they engineer their own pollinators. In their notebooks, students continually revise their drawings as they get ideas from their research and feedback from their peers. The excitement grows as they finalize plans for the pollinators that they will build and test the next day.

Benefits of Integrating Science and ELA Learn More…

K-12 Alliance Teaching Learning Collaborative: Nuts and Bolts of a Lesson Study

by Rachael Tarshes

San Diego Unified School District is one of eight districts and two charter management organizations across California participating in the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. One of the essential components of our work as part of the Initiative is the lesson study, which is intended to deepen understanding of the NGSS and transform teacher practice. The K-12 Alliance has developed a professional learning strategy for this termed the Teaching Learning Collaborative (TLC) (K-12 Alliance, 2017). All participating teachers experience two cycles of TLC each school year, i.e., one in the fall and one in the spring. Each TLC cycle is composed of two full days of collaborative, grade-alike work, aimed at producing learning sequences aligned with the conceptual shifts called for in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Learn More…

NGSS and the Teaching Learning Collaborative: It’s About the Process

by Dave Tupper and the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative Core Leadership Team at Lakeside Union School District

Change is a process, not an event!

The CA Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS) require significant instructional and conceptual shifts in terms of how science instruction is planned, delivered, and assessed (NGSS Lead States, 2013). With several California Math Science Partnership (CaMSP) Grants under our belt, and now as a district partner in the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative, the Lakeside Union School District is able to provide some perspective related to helping teachers as they address those shifts. Learn More…

Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.



MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

PAEMST 2017-2018 Application for K-6 Grade Mathematics and Science Teachers Now Open

Photo Credit: Philippe Nobile

Corrected on January 22, 2018 – the original post incorrectly announced the call for 2018/19 and grades 7-12. Our apologies for the error.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program is pleased to announce that the 2017-2018 application period for K-6 grade mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers is now open! Please consider nominating a talented teacher or applying yourself by using the PAEMST website today. The nomination deadline is April 1, 2018, and the application deadline is May 1, 2018.

CSTA is proud to partner with the California Department of Education for this award. Every year, CSTA and CDE present awards to the California state finalists for science, and when available, the California educator who is named as a recipient at the national level. This awards presentation takes place at the Awards Luncheon held in conjunction with the annual California Science Education Conference.  Learn More…

Find Your Reason to Engage

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. Learn More…

Call for CSTA Award Nominations

CSTA President Jill Grace presents the 2017 Margaret Nicholson Award to Dennis Mitchell.

The 2018 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 8, 2018, is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…