January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Advancing Student Engagement: One School’s Journey in Transforming Their School’s Culture for Sustainable Academic Achievement and College and Career Readiness Through Increased Student Engagement

Posted: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

by Judi Hayes

As educators we know at the heart of creating sustainable academic achievement and ensuring the college and career readiness of our students, is the provision of a school culture where engagement is valued and maximized. Lake Canyon Elementary School’s administration, staff, and parents have joined together to make increased student engagement a reality. We are providing varied opportunities for students to discover and explore their areas of interest and talent.

Photo by Lake Canyon Staff

Photo by Lake Canyon Staff

There are a wide variety of innovative after-school clubs on our campus, each with a college readiness or career focus. In addition, we have service learning across every grade level, outdoor learning experiences, field trips, exciting all-school assemblies with expert guest speakers, academic competition opportunities, and the implementation of technology use through blended learning. We want to provide a world-class educational experience where students are engaged and informed, their interests, talents and strengths are valued, and knowledge of careers and professions are emphasized.

For example, Lake Canyon recently partnered with many local businesses and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Schoolyard Habitat Program to create four amazing pollinator gardens at the center of our campus. This project enabled students to learn about the plight of pollinators, which are rapidly disappearing, and the impact on the local agricultural community. Students

Photo by Lake Canyon Staff

Photo by Lake Canyon Staff

worked with local landscaping companies, master gardeners, and a beekeeping expert from the UC Davis Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on the creation of this outdoor learning space. This will now be a permanent outdoor classroom on Lake Canyon’s campus. Also, a popular after-school beekeeping club will expand the project, enabling our students to collaborate on continued community awareness initiatives regarding the plight of honey bees, including designing and building bee boxes, and visiting a local beekeeping facility.

Another exciting example of how Lake Canyon is creating opportunities for our students to broaden their learning experience and heightening their engagement took place recently as the school partnered with the Community Engagement Department of the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD). Their utility company experts will guide and support the creation of student-designed solar powered water fountains. Through this strategic partnership, Lake Canyon students will gain first hand awareness of a wide variety of science applications as applied in a real world setting, and exposure to many connected professions in the local community.

The development of strategic community partnerships has played a vital role in Lake Canyon’s implementation of many opportunities to expand the overall engagement of students. Whether it is with local chefs sharing their culinary expertise in an after-school culinary arts club through the national Chefs Move to Schools program, or in the Computer Programming Club, creating their own video game avatars using Scratch programming, the students of Lake Canyon Elementary School are engaged, and participating in a multitude of experiences. This allows them to apply their strengths, interests, and talents in purposeful ways, which will surely lead to increased engagement, academic achievement and college and career readiness.

Lake Canyon’s efforts demonstrate that an elementary school can incorporate innovative experiences for their students leading to increased engagement and an awareness of professions, especially in science fields, with a little imagination and hard work.

Judith Hayes is the Principal at Lake Canyon Elementary in the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District

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.

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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.