July/August 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 8

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

Science educators gathered in San Diego on December 2, 2015 to review and provide feedback on the first public draft of the California Science Curriculum Framework.

Science educators gathered in San Diego on December 2, 2015 to review and provide feedback on the first public draft of the California Science Curriculum Framework.

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

NGSS Rollout #3 writers and presenters "flash" the Mobius strip sign after a long day of writing and planning for the next series of NGSS Rollouts.

NGSS Rollout #3 writers and presenters “flash” the Mobius strip sign after a long day of writing and planning for the next series of NGSS Rollouts.

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:

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

2016 California Science Education Conference (#cascience16)Registration Opens May 2016.

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.

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.

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CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Posted: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.


Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

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.

CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.