January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Apply to Join Achieve’s Science Peer Review Panel

Posted: Friday, December 15th, 2017

Achieve is excited to announce the expansion of the Science Peer Review Panel!

Achieve’s Science Peer Review Panel (“Science PRP”) is an elite group of educators who work to evaluate and share high-quality lesson sequences and units that are designed for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Members of the Science PRP are part of the solution to a persistent problem in the science education field: not enough examples of high-quality instructional materials designed for the NGSS.

Join the Science PRP by filling out this online application and connect with a network of educators across the country committed to advancing science education for all students, develop your expertise in the NGSS, and work to make better science instructional materials more widely available to the science education field. This opportunity includes free, valuable professional learning experiences designed to deepen your understanding of the NGSS and the evaluation process for instructional materials.

Here are a few things members of the Science PRP have to say about the first year:

“I have been able to collaborate and discuss with people across the nation, and connect with some of the best thinkers in the field. I have grown in my understanding of NGSS and what good science instruction looks like. I have had my views challenged, and have been able to develop confidence and my own voice to share ideas about good science instruction.”

“The professional growth I am experiencing is at such a higher rate than I have ever experienced before. This has been extremely valuable.”

“The best thing about being a PRP member is the team. It is truly amazing experience of being part of this group. The professional learning network that has been created is very valuable to improving my practice.”

“Every time I review a lesson or come to a PRP meeting, I grow as a professional”

Those who are accepted to the Science PRP will receive recognition on the Achieve website, a sample press release for your district or organization announcing your acceptance to the Science PRP, and at the end of the year-long commitment, peer reviewers will be recognized with a certificate of excellence.

Any materials that are determined to be of high quality by the Science PRP will be publicly shared on nextgenscience.org/hqngss so educators and curriculum developers across all states and districts can benefit from these materials. Apply here, and learn more about the Science PRP here.


Ideal applicants for this program will have a solid foundation in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, are comfortable navigating the NGSS across content areas (including the Appendices), and will have experience using the EQuIP Rubric for Science. Applicants will be selected based on their ability to make consistent, criterion-based evaluations using the latest version of the EQuIP Rubric for Science.

Achieve is committed to building a diverse panel and strongly encourages people of color to apply. Applicants from a mix of rural, urban, and suburban communities will be accepted.

As we expand the Science PRP, we are looking for more representatives from the K-2 and 9-12 grade bands in particular, but all are welcome to apply.


  1. Interested individuals must complete this online application, which includes links to grade-banded science lessons to evaluate with the EQuIP Rubric for Science (Version 3) (Application period is Dec. 14, 2017 – Jan. 15, 2018)
  2. Applicants must submit their completed EQuIP Rubric reviews for consideration. (Due no later than Jan. 15, 2018)
  3. Accepted applicants will be invited to join the Science PRP as a peer reviewer. (By Feb. 19, 2018)
  4. Selected peer reviewers must confirm their commitment and interest. (No later than Feb. 28, 2018)


The responsibilities of the peer reviewers will include:

  1. Convening in person at least twice in the calendar year, starting with a two-day new member kickoff meeting April 19-20, 2018 in Washington, DC. Achieve covers the travel costs for these meetings.
  2. Completing a quality review process for up to ten assigned reviews per year, including submitting written, criterion-based feedback in a timely manner, participating in a consensus call with other reviewers, and developing a final consensus report.

Read more about what to expect as a peer reviewer here. While peer reviewers are committing to a one-year term, the work will be ongoing and there will be opportunities to extend their involvement. A more detailed description of responsibilities will be provided to selected peer reviewers in the kickoff meeting April 19-20, 2018.

For answers to common questions, check out the Science Peer Review Panel website.


Achieve thanks Arconic Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Bayer Foundation, and Pisces Foundation for their generous support of the Science PRP, EQuIP Rubric for Science, and for working to ensure all students have access to a quality science education.

Please contact Vanessa Wolbring, Program Associate for Achieve at vwolbrink@achieve.org for additional questions or comments.

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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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!

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!

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.



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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

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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

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.