2016 – Already a Busy Year in California Science Education
Posted: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
by Lisa Hegdahl
As I write this message, it is the waning days of January. Only the first month of 2016 and yet a great deal is happening in Science education within the California Science Teachers Association and the state of California as a whole. Indeed, this an exciting time to be a science educator. Let’s take a look back at all that has taken place these past few weeks.
California Science Framework Public Review Sessions
The beginning of January 2016 found California at the end of the first public review of the draft California Science Framework. A dedicated, 25 member, CSTA NGSS Committee under the leadership of co-chairs Laura Henriques, Past President of CSTA, and Peter A’Hearn, CSTA Region 4 Director, coordinated 30 Framework review sessions in 22 California counties in which 625 educators participated. In addition, many people sent their feedback directly to the California Department of Education. The members of the NGSS committee, those that read the Framework, and those who attended and hosted review sessions, volunteered in order to make the Framework useful for all of us. This represents countless hours of personal time. You can be confident that CSTA will keep you informed about the dates for the 2nd public review of the draft CA Science Framework currently scheduled for June-July 2016. A copy of CSTA’s response to the first draft is available here (1MB). I will be attending the two meetings where public comments are considered (February 19 and March 18) by the Science Subject Matter Committee of the Instructional Quality Commission to advocate on behalf of CSTA membership.
California Science Education Conference – Palm Springs, October 21-23, 2016 (#cascience16)
Planning for the 2016 California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs is well underway with 3 planning meetings having already occurred, the most recent taking place on January 19th. The committee, under the leadership of the 2016 Chair, CSTA President Elect, Jill Grace, is busy soliciting Workshop Proposals due March 4th, securing speakers, and organizing Field Courses. Workshops for the 2016 Conference have been extended from 60 minutes to 90 minutes in order for participants to dive more deeply into the shifts required by the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS). I encourage all of you to consider submitting a workshop proposal and share with others how you are beginning to implement NGSS. Remember that lead presenters receive 50% off on conference registration and CSTA members receive a significant discount.
CA NGSS Rollout #3
The Doubletree in Claremont, California, January 24-25, was the home of the CA NGSS Rollout #3 Training of Trainers. Since October 2015, volunteers representing the California Science Teachers Association, K-12 Alliance, California Department of Education, California Science Project, and California County Superintendents Educational Services Association have worked tirelessly to create 2-3 hour long Workshops for the 3rd California Next Generation Science Standards Rollout. At the January meeting, educators who, beginning in April, will present the workshops across the state, were introduced to the new sessions and learned the finer points of presenting them. The CA NGSS Rollout Symposia are the outcome of Strategy 1 of the California Department of Education Implementation Plan for the CA NGSS which states:
“CDE participates with other professional learning stakeholder organizations to convene CA NGSS transition roll-out workshops and webinars for local teams of teacher leaders and administrators focused on the differentiated needs and standards for each grade span.”
Keep checking the CSTA website and reading California Classroom Science for CA NGSS Rollout #3 registration links. The first of these events will take place at the San Joaquin County Office of Education April 13 2016 8:00AM – April 14 2016 4:00PM. (#cangssrollout)
California Next Generation Science Standards Early Implementation Initiative (@earlyimplement)
On January 21-23, over 100 science educators belonging to 8 California public school districts and 2 California Charter Organizations, took part in an intensive Mid-Year Leadership Training. The event was guided by Kathy DiRanna, Statewide Director, K-12 Alliance/WestEd, K-12 Alliance Regional Directors, and District Project Directors. Participants explored how to further advance NGSS education in their districts and better implement lesson sequences in their own classrooms. To learn more about the experiences of the CA NGSS Early Implementers, continue to read California Classroom Science and check out these past articles:
- September 2015 – February 2016 articles are available here.
- Cup of Tea (June 2015)
- NGSS — Next Generation Science Students (May 2015)
- California’s NGSS Early Implementers Meet for Mid-Year Training (March 2015)
- Bold: adj. Showing the Ability to Take Risks (February 2015)
- Next Generation Science Standards: Jump Right In (January 2015)
- NGSS Early Implementation Begins! (September 2014)
In the coming months, keep your eyes open for these events and opportunities:
CSTA Committee Appointments
The 2015/2016 year saw a record number of volunteers staying connected to California science education by getting involved. The call for 2016/2017 committee members will be coming soon. If you are currently volunteering on a committee, thank you for your time and service – I hope you consider submitting your name once again. If you are not currently on a committee, I encourage you to consider volunteering. Serving on a CSTA committee is an excellent way to hone your leadership skills, meet incredible California science educators, and stay up-to-date on what is happening in California science education.
CSTA Committees include:
- 2017 Conference Committee
- Outreach/Electronic Communications Committee
- Legislative Oversight Committee
- Marketing/Communications/Membership/Preservice Committee
- NGSS Committee
- Publications and Materials Review Committee
Palm Spring, October 21-23, 2016
2016 will be an exciting year for science education in California. Implementation of the California NGSS will be in year three, the California Science Curriculum Framework will be released for a second public review and may even be adopted before the end of the year, components of the state’s new accountability system will be on-line, and we will have a better idea of what to expect for science from our statewide assessment system. The only place in California that will have information about all of these components as well as offer high quality educational workshops and opportunities for networking with fellow educators to talk about how this translates into your local context is at the 2016 California Science Education Conference. No other event will bring together this many California science educators in one location that is large enough to offer the diversity of programming educators need, but also small enough to create an environment that
A Special Note of Thanks
Before I wrap up this month’s message I feel compelled to say something off topic. One of the perks of being President of the California Science Teachers Association is that the un-edited version of the California Classroom Science arrives in my email inbox about a week earlier than the final draft goes out to our subscribers. It arrives with the intent of me providing edits (along with the edits made by our dedicated CSTA Publications Committee), but I often get so involved in the articles that I lose sight of my purpose. I just finished reading the February issue and was blown away by the articles. I continue to be impressed by the authors who give their personal time to share their insights with all of us. Thank you to all the authors of this issue, and those of past issues, for volunteering your time to contribute your expertise. Thank you also to the talented CSTA Publications Committee members who work long hours behind the scenes to put out California Classroom Science each month – Valerie Joyner, Minda Berbeco, Mary Elizabeth, Joanne Michael, and Jessica Sawko.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…