May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

2015-17 CSTA Board of Directors Election Results

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2015

CSTA is pleased to announce the results of the 2015-2017 Board of Director elections. The winners of the election are below. CSTA thanks all candidates and members for their participation in the elections. These directors terms will begin on July 1, 2015 and conclude on June 30, 2017.

President-Elect

Jill Grace

Jill has a broad teaching background that provides a common experience between herself and CSTA’s members. She has been a middle school science teacher for ten years and prior to that she was an elementary science specialist. Outside of the classroom, she has spent a significant amount of her time working in teacher professional development. For the past two years, Jill has served as the Middle School/Jr. High School Director on the CSTA Board of Directors.

Science education empowers. It empowers curiosity as it provides ways to know and understand the world, the mind as it develops a strategy for generating knowledge, the individual as part of an informed citizenry who makes important life decisions, and the dreamer as the creator of new solutions in an ever changing world. As science educators, our role isn’t to just teach science content, but to provide opportunities that empower.

CSTA’s support of quality science education is critical in this new era of education reform. For many years, I have supported CSTA with my membership. Then in 2013 I decided to run for the board as I wanted to do more and to help shape conversations for the very things that directly impact our classrooms: standards, instructional strategies, curriculum, and assessment. As your president elect I will work tirelessly for CSTA to continue informing state leaders and legislation, advocate for high quality science education, expand active support for teachers and their professional growth, and for the empowerment of every student.

Primary (K-2) Director

Valerie Joyner

Valerie’s entire professional career has been dedicated to educating students from their early years in kindergarten through the graduate level with pre-service teachers. She has taught elementary students for 35 years, including over twenty years with grades K-2 and has always placed a special emphasis on science. Valerie is currently serving as the Primary Director on the CSTA Board of Directors.

My philosophy of science education encourages all students to think, access knowledge, and apply science in their everyday life. Today, science education must be based on the three dimensional learning provided through the Next Generation Science Standards. While science education begins at home and in informal settings like gardens, kitchens, museums, and parks. It is enriched and solidified as children enter school and go through the grades. When students personally experience scientific explorations, whether in kindergarten or AP chemistry, they deeply understand and confidently use science disciplinary core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts. With the increasing demands by our society to increase scientific literacy; all science educators must teach students to think and act scientifically, so they can develop the new technologies we will need and to understand its implications for the future.

My vision for CSTA is to promote science learning into every child’s daily curriculum and life experiences. Primary and elementary students in particular are missing crucial skills for success when we fail to capitalize on their natural curiosity and provide them with daily science instruction and experiences. To understand our ever expanding body of science knowledge, students need specific understanding of scientific disciplinary core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts. This understanding is best nurtured by experiencing science first hand. Only then can students eagerly apply critical thinking and science concepts to participate in the technological revolutions of the future. To assure scientific literacy and see our students successfully develop and evaluate future technologies, daily science experiences are a necessity. CSTA will continue to play an important role in the implementation of NGSS in the coming years. It will need strong primary grade leadership to insure that California’s young children receive the very best foundation in science education. This foundation must include science for every student, every day, every year!

Region 1 Director

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian has 22 years as an educator and has experience teaching grades 5-11 in both urban and rural communities. In both instances, she stepped into site and district, then finally county curriculum leadership roles. She currently works in the Educational Services Department of the Siskiyou COE. Marian has served as CSTA Secretary for the past 4 years.

Science education and the need for science literacy – fluency in scientific thought and content – are why I am in my profession. I cannot think of anything I value about education more than providing every student with the ability to assemble evidence and answer a question using the knowledge of those who have gone before and the process of inquiry refined through experience. I see science education as a vital balance when superstition or lack of knowledge might influence personal health or societal well-being. While every teacher has a meaningful role in society and children’s lives, the role of science teacher stands out for its part in sustaining curiosity and providing the voice and logic in a wonderfully complex world. These critical elements of education no longer have to remain in the back seat in California’s schools. With the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) transitioning into place, science needs all the support it can get from educators, policy makers, and organizations like CSTA to move to its proper place in every classroom.

Prior to being on the board, and now after working with the board, I have seen CSTA and the invididuals who comprise it take leadership roles for science education, and live by the mission and goals. I have supported the organization’s efforts to refine itself to be as current and effective as it can be – reducing resource consumption by moving to electronic publications and practices, developing a shared leadership model, and re-envisioning the design of the annual conference for example. I am impressed and encouraged by the difficult but intentional reorganizational decisions CSTA has made to ensure its financial and philosophical survival during a difficult phase in California’s economic history. Each of these reflects the deepest commitment, which I share, to provide and promote science education in California.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

One Response

  1. Congratulations new CSTA officers! Public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provide ‘learning landscapes” of incredible variety and depth. Keep these natural and cultural resources of California’s great outdoors in mind when promoting ideas for the next generation of conservation leaders.

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LATEST POST

Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.