May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

And the Award Goes to…

Posted: Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

CSTA is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014 Awards! Congratulations to Herbert Brunkhorst, Laurie Gillis, Chevron, and Water Education Foundation/California Project WET. CSTA will present these awards during the annual meeting of members to be held on Thursday, December 4, 2014, 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm, at the Long Beach Convention Center. This event will take place during the 2014 NSTA Long Beach Area Conference on Science Education – in Collaboration with CSTA.

2014 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award: Herbert Brunkhorst

Herbert Brunkhorst, recipient of the 2014 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

Herbert Brunkhorst, recipient of the 2014 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.

Dr. Herb Brunkhorst has spent his professional life in science education. He started his career in Iowa where he taught high school biology and later worked as a science consultant for the Area Education Agency (comparable to California’s County Offices). After a decade in K-12 education Herb began his graduate education where he ultimately earned a Ph.D. in both science education and biology. At that point, his career shifted to the post-secondary level. He spent the bulk of his teaching career (~25 years) as a faculty member in the CSU system where he taught both science content classes (e.g. biology, bioethics, nature, and history of science) and education courses (e.g. research methods, elementary and secondary science methods classes).

Dr. Brunkhorst is an elected associate of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has written and peer reviewed numerous scholarly journal articles and presented at many conferences and professional meetings. Dr. Brunkhorst was described in the letters of support for his nomination as having a “warm, generous spirit that encourages new science educators to strive to improve science teaching and learning for future generations.”

Dr. Herbert Brunkhorst joins a distinguished list of California educators who have received this award, CSTA’s highest honor.

2014 CSTA Future Science Teacher Award: Laurie Gillis

Laurie Gillis

Laurie Gillis, recipient of the CSTA 2014 Future Science Teacher Award

The CSTA Future Science Teacher Award recognizes college students who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to science education through volunteer, teaching, and professional organization activities and who show promise to become outstanding science educators. Laurie Gillis is one such exemplary person.

Ms. Gillis started life thinking she’d move into nursing but she soon learned that education was her calling. As a credential student at CSU Long Beach, Ms. Gillis proved eager to be involved in activities that supported her growth as a teacher, going above and beyond the credential program’s expectations. In her nomination letter, Ms. Gillis was described as a student who sought out professional learning opportunities beyond those available to her in the classroom. In her personal statement Ms. Gillis shared the following insight into her plans for her teaching future:

Once I am in my own classroom, one of my main goals is to become involved with or establish a program that assists and encourages young ladies to pursue science careers. I was well into my post-baccalaureate courses when a female professor was the first person to tell me I was a “natural” at science and encouraged me to pursue it as a career. It practically changed my identity. It helped me see potential in myself that I had never considered and it opened my mind up to career choices I had never entertained before. I want to give that experience to other young ladies. I want to help young women recognize their own potential in science and feel empowered to pursue it beyond high school.

Congratulations to Laurie Gillis and CSU Long Beach. For a listing of previous award recipients, please click here.

2014 CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award: Chevron and Water Education Foundation/California Project WET

The CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award, honors an organization, institution, or foundation which has made a sustained, significant impact to science education in the state and which, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching and learning. This is a new award for CSTA and 2014 is its inaugural year. Up to two awards in this category can be presented in any given year.

Chevron

Chevron, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Chevron, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Chevron has been a longtime supporter of science education in California and the nation. Chevron has been a major supporter of CSTA’s California Science Education Conference for several years. Beyond their support of CSTA, though, they have been a major contributor and benefactor to science education efforts in California. Chevron’s El Segundo Refinery recently provided a series of grants totaling $1 million to be distributed among 15 schools in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. In addition, Chevron has already contributed more than $14 million via Donors Choose for STEM proposals in 10 states, including California (support that goes directly to classrooms). They support teacher grants in states where they have facilities.

Chevron was a major financial supporter of Achieve and the development of Next Generation Science Standards. They continue to support Achieve’s efforts by sponsoring the NGSS Lead State Leadership conference (a contingent from California has participated in these meetings). In addition to providing financial support for the development of NGSS, Chevron officials testified in Sacramento at the State Board of Education meetings in support of NGSS and the adoption of new standards. They continue to be a strong business advocates for STEM education in California. While they certainly have lots to gain by California graduating STEM prepared citizens, they are not passive bystanders, hoping that the state makes good decisions. They write letters, show up to testify, and financially support programs that will positively impact science education in the state (and nation). They are a 100Kin10! partner with a commitment to fund partnerships that prepare, retain, develop, and motivate STEM professionals to effectively engage students in engineering design and to support implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards in the classroom.

Water Education Foundation/California Project WET

Water Education Foundation/California Project WET, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Water Education Foundation/California Project WET, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Under the guidance of Brian Brown, the state coordinator for California Project WET, the Water Education Foundation has provided an excellent resource for promoting science education in California. The Project WET curriculum guide includes almost 600 pages of detailed lesson plans and background information. On the Water Education Foundation’s website, teachers can find correlations to state science standards and the California Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum, making the guide a useful tool for covering standards in the classroom.

The Water Education Foundation shares the Project WET curriculum with teachers through local workshops. The workshops are designed to introduce this award-winning curriculum through a hands-on experience. The workshops demonstrate how to the use of the materials and make it as easy as possible for teachers to incorporate into their curriculum. The Water Education Foundation works with facilitators throughout the state to coordinate approximately 50-60 workshops per year with over 1,000 classroom teachers and informal educators. The Water Education Foundation works tirelessly to find funding sources to help local facilitators provide free or low cost workshops to educators.

As this is the first year CSTA has awarded the Distinguished Contributions Award there are no past recipients. The nomination period for the 2015 awards cycle will open in January 2015. Only members are allowed to submit nominations. If you are interested in submitting a nomination you are encouraged to renew or maintain your membership in CSTA].

Congratulations once again to Herbert Brunkhorst, Laurie Gillis, Chevron, and Water Education Foundation/California Project WET. We look forward to seeing you in Long Beach in December.

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.

One Response

  1. […] CSTA expresses deep gratitude to Chevron Foundation for their generous support of this event. Chevron is the recipient of the CSTA 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award. […]

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.