July/August 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 8

At May 2016 Meeting State Board of Education Responds to Advocacy Efforts Around NGSS

Posted: Friday, May 20th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

The May 11-12 meeting of the California State Board of Education (SBE) addressed three items of great interest to science educators and others who are committed to the successful implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards. (CA-NGSS). The items included the selection of key indicators to be incorporated into the new accountability system under development (Item 2), revisions to the LCAP template (Item 3), and approval of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) plan to apply for a waiver from the federal government to no longer administer the science CST/CMA/CAPA beyond the spring 2016 administration (Item 8). The State Board took action on the first and last of these three items, leaving edits to the LCAP template to be worked on for action at a future meeting.

Trish Williams, State Board of Education Member, NGSS Liaison

Trish Williams, State Board of Education Member, NGSS Liaison

Through the strong support of state board member Trish Williams, and with a tremendous advocacy effort by your very own CSTA, in collaboration with Children Now, the Education Trust-West, the California School Boards Association (CSBA), the California State PTA, K-12 Alliance, California Science Project, California Chamber of Commerce, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the State Board departed from the CDE recommendation in the agenda item and approved an alternate motion that, among other things, will incorporate future statewide science summative assessment test scores into a key indicator of student performance along with results from the grade 3-8 and 11 ELA and math assessments, commonly known as Smarter Balance, or SBAC. More information about the SBE’s action can be found here. CSTA’s President Lisa Hegdahl was in attendance and represented CSTA during the public comment period. A complete copy of CSTA’s letter to the SBE in response to the accountability item is available here (the attachment including the list of more than 580 petition signers was removed for size purposes).

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CSTA is very grateful to all of our petition signers and those that helped to gather signatures on our “Make Science Matter” petition. CSTA will continue to work to develop and propose measures and other indicators of accountability that are supportive of science education at local and state levels. For now, we are celebrating our success in moving from a proposal that didn’t include science at all and “double counted” ELA and math tests to one that more equitably includes all statewide summative test scores (and only once).

Ray Pietersen, Science Program Specialist for the Elk Grove USD (and CSTA member) presents during public comment providing an "on the ground" perspective of how continued use of the CST sends mixed messages to parents and teachers and to encourage the SBE to approve the waiver application.

Ray Pietersen, Science Program Specialist for the Elk Grove USD (and CSTA member) presents during public comment providing an “on the ground” perspective of how continued use of the CST sends mixed messages to parents and teachers and to encourage the SBE to approve the waiver application.

The item that passed with little discussion and with support from stakeholders was Item 8 – the approval to seek a waiver from the Federal government to not report science test scores for two years. With this waiver approved, CDE can move forward with its plan to no longer administer the science CST/CMA/CAPA and in its place administer pilot and field tests designed for assessing the California Next Generation Science Standards in 2016/2017 and 2017/2018, respectively. More information about the assessment design can be found in our March 2016 issue of this newsletter.

CSTA President and 8th Grade Science Teacher Lisa Hegdahl presents during public comment to the State Board of Education on May 11, 2016.

CSTA President and 8th Grade Science Teacher Lisa Hegdahl presents during public comment to the State Board of Education on May 11, 2016.

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl also represented CSTA and the Make Science Matter petition signers when she addressed the SBE during public comment on Item 3. She presented CSTA’s recommendations for making the requirement that Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) address the implementation of CA-NGSS under state priority #2 (implementation of state standards) as well as other priority areas that address student performance and access to a broad course of study. CSTA also requested that the SBE provide additional guidance to County Offices of Education, who are charged with approving LCAPs, on the need to check for inclusion of CA-NGSS in LACAPs. Revisions to the LCAP template will be proposed at a future SBE meeting.

If you would like to see the full board discussion on each of these items, the video archive is available on the SBE website:

  • Item 2: Key Indicators for Accountability
  • Item 3: LCAP Template
  • Item 8: Science CST Waiver

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Posted: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.

Eligibility:

Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

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 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…

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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.

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.