January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

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.

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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.

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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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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

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!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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…

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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.