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
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
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 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
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.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
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. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…