March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

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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CSTA Endorses March for Science

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.

The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.

There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.

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.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. 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.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: 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.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.