September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. (more…)

CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

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

CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

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:

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

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)

(more…)

CA Science Framework to Implement NGSS Statewide Rollout#4

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Register today for one of several NGSS Rollout #4: Using California Science Curriculum Framework to Implement NGSS scheduled for this fall across the state – registration is now open for all locations.

Upcoming Dates in 2017:

San Bernardino County/Riverside County: August 22-23, 2017
Registration Deadline: August 8, 2017
Location: Bourns College of Engineering, UC Riverside
446 Winston Chung Hall
Riverside, CA 92507 (more…)

Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application – Deadline Is July 21!

Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). (more…)

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. (more…)

CSTA Endorses March for Science

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.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

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. (more…)

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

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: (more…)

Science Assessments: Are You Ready?

Monday, March 13th, 2017

From the CAASPP Update from the California Department of Education:

March 20—the opening of the CAASPP science administration—is just around the corner! Are you ready? Here are a few resources and reminders for you as you prepare to administer the pilot California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science and the pilot California Science Test (CAST). The high school grade-level assignment for the pilot CAST and the pilot CAA for Science can be confirmed by checking the assignment link on the CAASPP Portal CAST Web page. For more on the pilot assessment see New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Resources for the CAST administration: 

  • A new posting of the “Quick Reference Guide—How to Start a Training Test,” for science and a new letter template for informing parents and guardians about the CAST training test is available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site. From the CDE CAASPP Web page, go to the Coordinators & Administrators tab, and you will find a link to these new resources!

(more…)

2017 Call for Workshop Proposals – Last Chance

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

March 20 is the last day to submit a proposal to present a 90-minute workshops at the 2017 California Science Education Conference. Workshops 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 receive 50% off of their registration fees. For more information regarding proposals, and to submit one today, follow the links below.

Workshop Proposal Deadline: March 20, 2017

About the Conference
The 2017 California Science Education Conference will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center, October 13-15, 2017. The conference is expected to draw as many as 2,000 science educators from across California and the western US. We currently have the following keynote and focus speakers lined up for the 2017 conference: Terry Tamminen, Dr. Lisa White, and Cindy Passmore.  We are also working on some fun field trips and evening events!  A Twitter Throwdown scavenger hunt, wine and painting night, the chemistry of beer, a maker space tour and many others are being looked at as possible events during the conference.  We look forward to seeing you in October! (more…)

Science Assessment Update – Alternate Pilot Item Available

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

California Alternate Assessment for Science Training Sample Is Here!

The training test for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science is now available on the CAASPP Portal CAAs Web page! This training test is the same type of embedded performance task (PT) that will be administered during this year’s pilot CAA for Science. Designed to be administered one on one, the training test PT is nonsecure and for use in preparing for the pilot CAA for Science.

The training test is aligned with the grade five California Next Generation Science Standards but can be used by students in any of the tested grades to familiarize both educators, students, parents, and stakeholders with the testing format of the pilot. The CDE is preparing a letter for LEAs to use to inform parents about this innovative test and the availability of the training test. (more…)

STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

(more…)

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. (more…)

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. (more…)

Opportunities to Support NGSS Implementation with CTC

Friday, January 13th, 2017

What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.

CSET Field Testing Opportunities

Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. (more…)

2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The volunteer/interpreter and judge sign up for the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair are live online.

Volunteer/Interpreter registration website is live. We have volunteer jobs open starting Thurs, May 11 through Fri, May 19. The greatest need for interpreters is Wed, May 17. https://student.societyforscience.org/volunteers. (more…)

VIP Experience at NSTA National Conference – You Could Be a Winner!

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Weir-Header

Huge fan of The Martian?!
Space Geek?
Science Fanatic?
Physics and Astronomy Lover?

You’ll be in good company when you’re at the NSTA National Conference listening to keynote speaker, Andy Weir. Here are some highlighted events surrounding Andy and The Martian and there will be much more happening in the Exhibit Hall like the Cargo Drop Challenge (you’ll be able to recreate a scene from the book by designing your own landing mechanism to drop supplies to a landing area!). (more…)

NGSS Rollout #4 Dates Announced – Registration Opens in 2017

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The next iteration of the NGSS Rollout series of professional learning events written and produced by a collaboration between the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance, and California Science Teachers Association will launch in May 2017 and will focus primarily on the new Science Curriculum Framework. Please mark your calendars for the following dates and locations and stay tuned to your email inbox for a notice when registration opens. (more…)

Apply Now Through Feb. 1 for Edison International’s $1.2 Million Scholarship Program

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

It pays to dream big and Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, through its $1.2 million Edison Scholars Program, is helping high school seniors with a passion for science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) achieve their academic goals.

Each year, Edison International awards $40,000 scholarships, paid over four years, to 30 high school students planning to major in STEM fields at four-year colleges and universities. Scholarship applications are now being accepted through Feb. 1.

Eligible students must live or attend a public or private high school in SCE’s service territory or attend an eligible high school surrounding SCE’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Visit scholarsapply.org/edisonscholars for a list of designated high schools.    (more…)

Science Pilot Tests: High School Grade Assignments Posted

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

From the December 2, 2016 CAASPP Update from the California Department of Education:

All LEAs will administer the pilot versions of the California Science Test (CAST) and California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science as part of the 2016–17 CAASPP administration. The pilots will include an assigned high school grade as well as grades five and eight. The high school grade assignments are now available on the CAASPP Portal High School Grade Assignments for 2016–17 Science Pilot Testing Web page.

Soon, the Test Operations Management System will include science test assignments for all students in grades five and eight and the assigned high school grade. The CAST is the default test assignment for students in grades five and eight and for high school students who are in the assigned grade at their school. The CAA for Science pilot test should be administered to any student in grade five, eight, or the assigned high school grade with an individualized education program that identifies them for alternate assessment and should be assigned to the CAA for Science pilot test. Instructions for assigning tests can be found in the TOMS Pre-Administration Guide for CAASPP Testing linked on the CAASPP Portal Manuals and Instructions Web page.

Questions about high school grade assignments for the science pilots and all other topics regarding the 2016–17 CAASPP administration should be directed to the California Technical Assistance Center by phone at 800-955-2954 or by e-mail at caltac@ets.org.

Win a Trip to NSTA’s National Conference in LA this Spring

Monday, December 12th, 2016

NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education takes place March 30–April 2, 2017, in Los Angeles, California and you can win a free ride from NSTA and Southwest Airlines. Enter today to win one of six prizes (1 first-place winner gets airfare, registration, and hotel accommodations; 2 second-place winners get airfare and registration; and 3 third-place winners get airfare). Contest runs through December 22, and you can share with friends via social media to earn extra entries. Winners will be selected at random and notified via email on December 23—good luck!

CDE Now Hiring for Science Assessment Education Programs Consultant

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Interested in working at the California Department of Education? Would you like to be a part of developing the new statewide science assessment? Consider one of these two opportunities currently available in CDE’s Assessment Division. The division is currently in the process of great change in its assessment system as it focuses on comprehensive assessment systems that strive to improve teaching and learning in the state.

Science Assessment Education Programs Consultant

CAASPP Office Education Administrator II

2017 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Monday, November 21st, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2017 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. For more information regarding proposals, and to submit one today, follow the links below.

Short Course Proposal Deadline: February 6, 2017

Workshop Proposal Deadline: March 20, 2017 (more…)

CDE Now Recruiting for Health Science Framework

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Do you want to have a voice in health education in California public schools? Consider applying to serve on the Health Education Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC), which will work closely with the framework writing team to create a new framework for health education. The new framework will be based on the state-adopted health education content standards and reflect both current research and new state laws.

Applicants must be submitted by 3 p.m. on December 15, 2016. More information about the Health Education Framework revision and the CFCC application is available on the CDE Health Education Curriculum Frameworks Web page at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/he/cf/. (more…)

2016 CSTA Conference Sees Largest Attendance in 10 Years!

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

Workshop Hands-On

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop on Friday, October 21, 2016 at the 2016 California Science Education Conference. The conference offered more than 200 workshops over the three-days of the event.

Last month, more than 2,100 science educators convened at the Palm Springs Convention Center for three days of professional learning and networking. The halls buzzed with excitement, the exhibit hall traffic ebbed and flowed like the tides of an ocean, and workshop rooms often filled to capacity with standing room only. CSTA thanks the many volunteers, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors who helped make this year’s conference a success.

Two of the most popular presentations at the conference included presentations on the new Science Curriculum Framework (which ended up being presented twice due to an error in printing in the program book!) and the Science Assessment Update workshop presented by CDE and ETS. Handouts for both of these presentations are available via the conference app. (more…)

CSTA Region 1 – What’s New?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

As a county office Educational Services Director I get to work with many districts, teachers and site leaders on a variety topics, including science. I have the good fortune to be embarking on a new project as part of a team formed by the California State University, Chico – Project ESTEEM.

CSU Chico recruited teams of elementary teachers and their principals to participate in Project ESTEEM, Elementary Science Teachers, Educating, Elevating, and Meliorating; a two-year professional learning grant secured last winter by the University. (more…)

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