January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

An Evening Conversation on Leadership

Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2011

by Jeff Bradbury and Dean Gilbert

As we all know the baby boomer generation is on the cusp of retiring enormous numbers of people from the American workforce, and this includes teachers.  One important fact that has not been lost on CSTA is that as many people leave the teaching profession, there will be huge voids in leadership positions at all levels as well.  The CSTA Board of Directors has been quite concerned about this and has been asking: “Who will replace this retiring generation on the board of CSTA?”  Who is going to replace leaders in schools, districts, county offices of education, education departments and statewide positions?  Who will step up and be mentors to the incoming younger generation of teachers?

As a result of many hours of discussion, CSTA leaders and some friends of CSTA decided to host “An Evening Conversation on Leadership” as a 5-hour pre-conference event the night before the 2011 Science Education Conference in Pasadena.

Although every person in CSTA leadership from the executive director to the president to past board members firmly agreed that we need to go forward with the conference, there was one glaring problem: We had no budget!  More on that later…that was not going to stop us.

The “Evening Conversation” planning team, consisting of a former CSTA board president, a retired Rockwell/NASA engineer (hey, he helped put men on the Moon, he could probably help us with our problem!), and a former CSTA board member, decided it is of first importance to listen to the younger generation, to hear their concerns, listen to their needs, and understand their values.  This significantly helped the team shape the evening’s proceedings.  Since this had never really been done before, the planning team wondered if there would be any interest.  We decided to have a “pizza night round table discussion” with younger teachers to help us plan.  We sent out an invitation to nine people we had never met before, wondering if they would even read an email from complete strangers, let alone join us for dinner.  Nevertheless six of the nine young teachers showed up with great hunger, and it was not an appetite just for pizza.  They were as concerned and interested in leadership as we, the planning team.  Some of the focus group participants drove over 25 miles in rush hour traffic.  I guess we can conclude that people want to know more about the issue of leadership!

The “Conversation” started with “participants” and “mentors” in table groups working through an activity discussing and coming to consensus on the most important characteristics of a leader. This activity was followed by a talk by Nikki DiRanna, a young leader in education talking about issues she faces everyday as an administrator.  She wisely mixed the theory of leadership with its practice.

We continued our conversation over dinner.  Now, the reader might wonder how we paid for dinner for 55 people when convention center meals can cost $40 a plate.  Well we begged Chipotle and they came through by donating burritos, chips, and guacamole. Dessert was homemade cookies.  It can be done on no budget!

After dinner, we experienced team and leadership building activities (it got a little loud at times), followed by a panel of educational leaders sharing their “Personal Story of Leadership”.

George Howell, a teacher-participant from Cathedral City High School reflects on how “the pre-conference allowed for a great discussion about teaching our current and future students.  I felt like after the conference I walked away a better educator.  My belief is that everything falls back on leadership and this discussion made my belief even more concrete and valid in my mind.”  Marian Murphy Shaw, one of the planners and facilitators for the evening states, “it impressed me to see educators attend an event that was not necessarily a familiar topic, on a Thursday night.  It became apparent that the relationship each guest had with the “mentor” who invited them is what made the difference.  Multiple times the guest teachers commented that they did not see themselves as leaders, but by the end of the evening they were reassuring each other that someone saw it in you, that’s why you are here.”

So many great experiences shared, we are already talking about holding a Conversation next year in San Jose.

After a fulfilling time of discussion, interaction, personal growth, and making new friends, we came away with some conclusions.

1) There is a tremendous hunger for knowledge and skill development regarding leadership.  A few people drove all the way from San Diego at the end of their school day in L.A. traffic to come to the “Conversation” and then hopped in their cars and drove all the way back home. People are willing to make sacrifices to learn and grow.

2) The younger generation is not apathetic about taking the lead. They want to be part of something meaningful and they want to make a contribution. What they need is the confidence, tools and mentoring to get into the game.

3) After the focus group, listening to many discussions at the “Conversation” on values of leadership, listening to energetic Nikki DiRanna, talking over dinner, and the activities of the evening, one truth came through loud and clear: Leadership is all about Relationship.

Leadership is not primarily about issues, tasks, projects, or programs.  Leadership is primarily about people.  As eloquently stated by Nikki DiRanna, “the best leadership advice I ever got was to figure out what my leadership style would be. As a young leader I am learning that leadership is all about building, developing, and nurturing relationships.”

This next generation has ideas and an optimism and energy that is just waiting to be tapped!  Many potential leaders simply need encouragement to set them on their way. Maybe, just maybe, the next decade or two will see a renaissance of leadership and education.

Jeff Bradbury is a professor of chemistry at Cerritos College and Dean Gilbert is science consultant with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and is CSTA’s region 3 director.

 

Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of CSTA.

One Response

  1. Excellent article, especially as it pertains to leadership style. It’s easy to determine your natural leadership style via a psychometric instrument – the one I prefer is based on neuroscience. From there, determine how to lead from ‘outside your strengths’ by developing the skills to overcome your weaknesses.

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LATEST POST

California Science Test Academy for Educators

Posted: Thursday, February 15th, 2018

California Science Test Academy for Educators

To support implementation of the California Science Test (CAST), the California Department of Education is partnering with Educational Testing Service and WestEd to offer a one-day CAST Academy for local educational agency (LEA) science educators, to be presented at three locations in California from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As an alternative to traveling, LEA teams can participate virtually via WebEx on one of the dates listed below.

The dates and locations for the CAST Academy are as follows:

  • Monday, April 23, 2018—Sacramento
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018—Fresno
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018—Irvine

The CAST Academy will help participants develop a deeper understanding of the assessment design and expectations of the CAST. The academy also will provide information and activities designed to assist educators in their implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional learning to help them gain an understanding of how these new science assessment item types can inform teaching and learning. The CAST Academy dates above are intended for school and district science instructional leaders, including teacher leaders, teacher trainers, and instructional coaches. Additional trainings will be offered at a later date specifically for county staff. In addition, curriculum, professional development, and assessment leaders would benefit from this training.

A $100 registration fee will be charged for each person attending the in-person training. Each virtual team participating via WebEx will be charged $100 for up to 10 participants through one access point. Each workshop will have the capacity to accommodate a maximum of 50 virtual teams. Each virtual team will need to designate a lead, who is responsible for organizing the group locally. Registration and payment must be completed online at http://www.cvent.com/d/6tqg8k.

For more information regarding the CAST Academy, please contact Elizabeth Dilke, Program Coordinator, Educational Testing Service, by phone at 916-403-2407 or by e‑mail at caasppworkshops@ets.org.

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.

Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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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Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

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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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

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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.