September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Last Call…. Please Consider Running for the Board of Directors!

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

by Laura Henriques

It’s that time of year again when we ask our members to consider nominating themselves (or a peer) to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors. It’s an important task and not to be taken lightly, but it is rewarding, interesting, and if you are a member in good standing, it’s something you are eligible to do.

CSTA Board of Directors take feedback from our members and help move the organization forward. Board members serve for two years (with the opportunity to run for a second two-year term). If elected you would attend quarterly board meetings (virtual meetings and in-person meetings), serve on CSTA committees and provide input to the organization. You get to work with other committed science educators to promote high quality science education in California. As a board member you will be informed of legislative issues, learn about opportunities to serve, and be on the forefront of policies associated with science education. (more…)

Looking for the Perfect Graduation Gift for the Future Teachers in Your Life?

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

by Laura Henriques

Have we got a deal for you!

Graduation

The strains of Pomp & Circumstances are starting to fill the air. Graduation is the most special day of the school year. We celebrate accomplishments and honor excellence. Your students are getting ready to move to the next grade or level. Seniors are getting fitted for caps and gowns and are thinking about their moves into careers and college.

Did you have a student teacher or student aide this year? If you are looking for a graduation gift or a thank you gift, we have a perfect idea. Give them a membership in CSTA! As a new teacher, the cost of membership is a reasonable $50 for two years of membership! (more…)

Science Teachers – In What Ways Have You Partnered with Your School Librarian?

Friday, May 20th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

Early this spring the California School Library Association, CSLA,  hosted their annual conference. They invited subject area professional organizations to attend the meeting and do a presentation. I was there to represent CSTA and do a workshop. Since then I have had a few conversations with Dr. Lesley Farmer, a colleague of mine at CSULB and former President of the California School Library Foundation, CSLA’s Vice President and editor of CSLA’s journal, about ways to that our members might be able to collaborate and learn with and from each other. School librarians and media specialists can be powerful partners and help us find good resources. (more…)

Recognizing and Shining a Light on Excellence

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Future Science Teacher Award to Justin Fournier.

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Future Science Teacher Award to Justin Fournier.

The CSTA Board of Directors likes to recognize excellence and significant contributions. There are many ways that CSTA recognizes contributions of our members. For example, the President publicly acknowledges member contributions to committees and authorship in California Classroom Science at the CSTA California Science Education Conference and in press in CCS. We know that the work of our organization is done by many and we like to recognize and acknowledge your contributions.

Another way that CSTA recognizes and highlights excellence to our field is via the awards program. (more…)

Make 2016 a Year of Service – Join the CSTA Board of Directors

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

As we look forward to 2016 I hope you’ll consider sharing your talents, time, and expertise with your colleagues. There are so many ways you can do that through your involvement with CSTA.

Post great ideas to the various CSTA Facebook Groups – anytime

CSTA has Facebook Groups for elementary, middle school high school and university faculty plus a group for Coaches/District Leaders. Some groups are more active than others, but all of them are venues for sharing exciting teaching ideas, seek input from colleagues, and ask questions about implementing NGSS. We are happy to have you lurk but consider sharing.

Write articles for California Classroom Science – articles due the 1st of the month for the following issue

As a CSTA regular, you know that CCS comes out each month. We try to have a wide range of articles. We update you on policy and NGSS related issues, we share lesson and unit ideas, updates and information from the NGSS Early Implementing Districts, technology tidbits, fieldtrip ideas and more. You have some great things you do in your classroom or informal site. Write for us and share them with the field. Find details about upcoming issues, submission guidelines and deadlines. Submissions are due on the first of the month preceding publication. While the Publishing Committee has selected themes for the year, you are not obligated to write to those themes. (more…)

Consider Supporting CSTA with an End of Year Donation

Friday, December 11th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

I don’t know about you, but I get greeting cards, mailing labels, wrapping paper and even holiday ornaments in the mail – all from organizations hoping that I will open my checkbook and make an end of the year donation. That ploy doesn’t usually work for me.

Instead, I choose to donate to organizations whose goals and missions align with mine. I like to give to organizations which do good work and spend their money wisely. CSTA is one of those organizations and it is why I am giving an end of year donation. I would like to invite you to consider doing so as well.

CSTA has a small paid staff and a huge volunteer staff. In spite of a relatively small, carefully monitored budget, CSTA manages to do some pretty impressive work. (more…)

Your Chance to Review the California Science Curriculum Framework Is Here

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Updated with additional review events January 11, 2016.

The California Science Curriculum Framework & Evaluation Criteria document is now ready for its first 60 Day Public Feedback period.! This is a critical process for the review and vetting of the document. Anyone from around the state is invited to read the document and provide feedback. CSTA encourages its members to participate in this process.

Just to be clear, the California Curriculum Framework is different from the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education. The NRC Framework is the document which guided the development of Next Generation Science Standards. The California Curriculum Framework is the document which will help us make sense of those standards in our classrooms. (more…)

Preservice Teachers: Opportunities for Professional Learning at the CSTA Conference

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

If you work with preservice teachers, we have a great opportunity for you to pass along to them. If you are a preservice teacher, we’ve got a great opportunity for you!

Next month CSTA will be hosting the 2015 California Science Education Conference in Sacramento. The conference will have more than 200 workshops, multiple lectures and keynote speakers, an amazing exhibit hall filled with the latest science equipment, instructional materials, and resources from commercial vendors and informal and non-profit partners. The three day event, October 2-4, includes something for everyone. (more…)

What Will You Be Doing on July 9th?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Lots of us will be at the NSTA Summer Institute in Anaheim. This year’s Institute will focus on NGSS. CSTA is collaborating in sponsoring the event being held in California.

Image_1_HenriquesThe full-day institute starts with a general session presentation by NASA astronaut Barbara Morgan. Participants will then break into elementary and secondary level groups. The day includes hands-on experiences designed to help you conceptualize and experience the shifts associated with NGSS instruction. Formative assessment issues will also be addressed during the institute. NSTA carefully selected the presenters and you are in for a really good day.

The elementary sessions were designed with these framing questions in mind.

  • What does the shift toward NGSS look like for teaching?
  • How can instruction in science support learning in mathematics and English language arts?
  • How can I manage the shift toward three-dimensional learning?
  • How can I change my teaching so that students are engaging in collaborative sense-making about phenomena?
  • How can I assess my students while teaching science to inform my next teaching steps?

The secondary sessions were designed with similar, but slightly different framing questions.

  • What does the shift toward NGSS look like for teaching?
  • How can I adapt my instructional materials for NGSS-aligned instruction?
  • How can I support the productive discourse needed to engage students in the practices of the NGSS?
  • How can I create and use formative assessment tasks that integrate practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts?

Register now! CSTA members receive a discount on the registration cost.

The event is being held in Anaheim at the Sheraton Hotel (if you are going to spend the night(s) be sure to mention that you are part of the NSTA Housing Block).

Do you know what else is near the Sheraton Hotel? Disneyland! Remember that your CSTA membership gives you discount on Disneyland tickets. So go ahead, bring the family – spend time doing NGSS and then spend some time at Disneyland and California Adventure. Summertime in SoCal doing science and having fun .… what could be better?

See you there. Remember to stop by the CSTA table to get your CSTA member ribbon!

 

 

My Last Words . . . Thank You!

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

This is my last column as your CSTA President. I thank you for the trust you placed in me to serve as President. It has been my privilege to serve the organization. I am most appreciative of the members who have taken steps to get more involved in promoting high quality science education in California.

Just two years ago, when I was taking over as President I challenged you to become more engaged and involved. This has been a rallying call of mine since I joined the Board of Directors. There are big changes happening to science education in California and we need lots of people involved if we hope to realize the promise of those changes. The CSTA Board of Directors does a great deal but they cannot do everything. As an organization, however, we can make a huge difference! In August 2013, in one of my first columns as President, I urged you to consider baby steps towards leadership. I revisited that theme again by encouraging you to see what you could do for CSTA and how to “lean in” and lead by example. Many of you accepted the challenge – thanks! Those of you who know me (or who have read my columns) know this is an important theme for me. A full twenty percent of my CCS columns were devoted to the topic, I talk about it in leadership forums, and I have been known to twist a few arms to get colleagues engaged. (more…)

Science Is in the Air – So Much Going On!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

It’s May and with that comes AP exams, science fair, science Olympiad, NGSS Rollout Symposium, plans for summer professional development opportunities for us and our students. There are so many things happening in our regions and around the state. It’s hard to keep up on everything, but try we must!

Springtime is when our students show us what they’ve got!

Springtime is the culmination for a wide range of year-long or semester-long science activities. Congratulations and thank you to all of our members and science friends who helped with Science Olympiad, Science Fairs, academic decathlon, AP exams, robotics competitions, science or STEM fairs and more. We all recognize that it takes a lot of time, work, energy and passion from teachers and kids to get to the point where kids are able to share what they know, apply their knowledge and skills, be competitive, and shine. Those long after-school sessions, Saturday work sessions, the time away from family, the extra hours… they are worth it. You do make a difference and the opportunities that you are providing to your students will be remembered long after the event(s) are over.  (more…)

Where Are the Women in STEM? What Can We Do to Support and Retain Them?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Women are far less likely than men to earn pSTEM (physical Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) degrees or work in the field. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has gotten a bit of press lately. US News and World Reports had an article highlighting a Clinton Foundation Report showing women in developing countries have less access to cell phones (and therefore the internet) than men. This results in decreased access to health care, fewer job options, a lack of flexibility with work and childcare related issues, and a lowered sense of empowerment. That article linked to several other articles about the lack of diversity in STEM fields in the US, the leaky pipeline and more. (more…)

NGSS Statewide Symposia: NGSS Transition Phase – Rollout II

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Almost 2,000 of us attended the state’s first round of NGSS workshops. These were two-day symposia held around the state to help district teams of teacher-leaders and administrators learn about Next Generation Science Standards and start to think about what NGSS is, how to plan and think about three-dimensional learning and increase awareness. As the “Rollout I” sessions come to a close (there are two left), “Rollout II” is getting ready to debut.

NGSS Transition Phase Rollout II symposia will again be two full days of NGSS. The sessions for the two days were jointly developed by the consortium of CSTA, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance/WestEd, County Offices of Education and the California Department of Education. The lead presenters for each session will be representatives from these five groups. (more…)

Exploring the Ecosystem That Is Your Classroom

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

by Laura Henriques

As you read through this month’s CCS you’ll find articles about biology, professional learning, NGSS implementation tales, and finding a job. I find the juxtaposition of the articles works. When we look for a job we need to have a good fit – we need to fill a niche in the school’s ecosystem and our needs must be met. When we look at our professional learning needs we are doing a self-assessment, finding out our own needs and meeting them

Earlier this year John Speigel, Anthony Quan and Yami Shimojyo wrote an article for CCS which discussed a pathway from NGSS awareness to implementation. If we use their awareness-transition-implementation matrix to mark our efforts we can start making changes to our instruction and have a mechanism to note progress. So let’s think of our classroom as its own teaching/learning ecosystem and start modifying the system to see what positive changes we can make to student engagement and student learning. (more…)

President’s Message

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

by Laura Henriques

2015 is off to a busy start. As you will read in executive director, Jessica Sawko’s legislative update, there have been numerous meetings at which CSTA has represented your interests in just the first month of the year. There are lots of state entities and organizations working on different elements in order for the implementation of NGSS to become a reality. We recognize that all the different elements must fit together so that we have robust professional learning opportunities, quality instructional materials, well aligned assessments, state accountability plans that count science and local district plans which include science education in their locally controlled accountability plans (this includes teacher professional learning time and support, classroom resources, and dedicated time to teach science). As we see shifts in what will be happening in K-12 classrooms we need to see parallel shifts in higher education, in particular teacher preparation programs. So while the CDE is overseeing the development of the California Science Framework, assessments and accountability plans, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing needs to look at changes to how we credential teachers. Lots of moving parts and CSTA is paying attention to all of them. (more…)

What’s Your 2015 Resolution?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

I heard a story on the radio about New Year’s Resolutions. It seems that about 44% of people make resolutions each year with 42% of them self-reporting that they’ve kept the resolution all year. That means about 18% of us make and keep a resolution each year. While the success rate isn’t all that high, the researcher being interviewed seemed to think that action of making a resolution is still a good thing. It helps us be intentional about our goals and actions, or at least our intended goals and actions! She seemed to think that simply stating your resolution and trying to keep it helped us move in our desired direction.

With that in mind, what is your professional resolution for 2015? Will you read an article related to teaching science each month? Support a colleague? Be a Master Teacher for a student teacher? Serve on a committee at school or the district? Share your expertise with others by presenting a workshop at the CSTA conference in Sacramento or writing an article for California Classroom Science (CCS)? Get better connected to other science education professionals? Try something new to help you transition to NGSS? Apply to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors?

Whatever your science education resolution is for 2015, CSTA can help.  (more…)

Season’s Greetings

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

Happy December! I am exhausted but really happy after the Long Beach Conference. It was great to see so many CSTA members! With more than 5,200 people in attendance (most from California), this was one of the biggest NSTA regional conferences ever. Sessions were packed, some to the point of overflowing. I applaud NSTA’s efforts to extend the conference into Saturday afternoon and I thank the conference presenters who were willing to repeat their workshop on Saturday. (To get handouts from the sessions please visit the NSTA Conference site, browse sessions and select the session(s) of interest. If the presenter has uploaded handouts you will find them posted with the session information.) (more…)

Focus on Physical Science

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

As a former physics/physical science teacher, the California Classroom Science (CCS) issue focusing on physical science is always one of my favorites. I enjoy reading about lessons, labs and teaching ideas that my colleagues share in each month’s CCS, but I really enjoy reading physics and physical science lesson ideas as those apply most directly to what I teach. As with past issues of CCS, we have some great articles written by a wide variety of members on a range of topics. Sadly (for me), only a couple of them focus on physical science.

One of the physical science highlights is Padma Haldar’s article that has students doing ‘mythbuster’ activities to help them better understand the Nature of Science. This project requires students to engage in many of the science and engineering practices (they ask questions, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, and evaluate and communicate information) and Ms. Haldar seems to be explicit in helping students understand the nature of science throughout the process. Another article in this month’s issue is Valerie Joyner’s where she shares a primary activity which focuses on the crosscutting concept of patterns. Her lesson links patterns with properties of plastic lids. As is the case with crosscutting concepts, she shares how this activity about patterns could be linked to other patterns in nature and science. (more…)

State Science Education Updates

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

The start of a school year is always a busy time. This year has a great deal more energy around science education than we’ve seen in a long time. The adoption of new science standards has taken place, the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee has begun their work, a few thousand STEM education enthusiasts descended on San Diego for the STEM Symposium, NGSS State Rollout Symposiums are being conducted around the state, LCFF/LCAP legislation allows districts to support science professional development and science standards implementation, and the NSTA Regional Conference in Long Beach is just around the corner.  These are good times for science education in California! Read on to learn how CSTA is involved in these activities and how you too can be involved. (more…)

Where Will You Be in December?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

by Laura Henriques

I sure hope you answered that question with an enthusiastic “I’ll be in Long Beach for the conference” sort of response!

Come join your science education colleagues for three to four days of professional learning. The conference, hosted by NSTA with some input from CSTA, will take place on December 4-6. With a couple hundred workshops, lectures, short courses and field trips, this is the place to be! You can peruse the schedule on-line and get a sense of some of the outstanding sessions awaiting you. The keynote speakers will address a range of topics that include linkages between science and Common Core ELA, STEM, and science education moving forward. (Go online today to verify your membership or join CSTA today – CSTA members can register for the conference at the NSTA Affiliate Member rate and save $90 on their registration!) (more…)

The Power of Linking Science to Common Core

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

by Laura Henriques

If you are like me, there are significantly more things you would like to do in your class than time allows. Finding ways to link my science instruction to other curricular expectations is one way for me to ‘buy’ time. This sometimes means that I grade an assignment for multiple purposes – I am looking at students’ understanding of science concepts and content and also looking at their writing. Students may even get two grades on the assignment. (more…)

Time for a New Start – Again!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

It is early August as you read this. For lots of people, August means summer vacations. For educators, however, August means it is time to begin another school year. I tend to think of the start of the school year as New Year’s Eve. My husband, also an educator, and I toast the start of the school year in ways that most people toast the start of a new calendar year. We reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead. Just like New Year’s resolutions, the act of setting educationally related goals helps keep me on track. My New Year’s resolution of going to the gym five times a week may not pan out, but having committed to improve my level of physical activity has been clearly stated and set as a goal. Similarly, as I set my goals for the academic year I am making a commitment to do something to improve my practice, my skills, or content knowledge. (more…)

Get Ready for December’s NSTA/CSTA Joint Conference!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

This year’s NSTA Long Beach Area Conference is being hosted in collaboration with CSTA. There are all sorts of exciting events planned for the conference and we hope you’ll be with us to take advantage of all of them!

The official conference is December 4-6, 2014 but there are will be two full-day field trip options on Wednesday, December 3rd. There will be an array of field trips and short courses as part of the conference. The field trip choices include The Science in your Beer: Chemistry, Microbiology, and Sensory Analysis at Smog City Brewing, Up Close & Personal with Ocean Critters: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Slip-Sliding Away: a Palos Verdes Geology Tour, Looking to the Future: Visiting the Endeavour Space Shuttle and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Journey into Space at the City of Downey, Columbia Memorial Space Center, and Wet & Wild Adventures with the Southern CA Marine Institute. (more…)

CSTA Says Good-Bye and Thanks to Board Members

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

I would like to use this month’s column to publicly thank our outgoing Board Members. Our spring elections bring new faces and talent to the CSTA Board, but that means we also say good-bye to some colleagues.

There are five Board members whose term just expired, four of whom will be leaving the Board. Their last official Board Meeting was June 14th but we look forward to their continued involvement in CSTA. We also appreciate all that they have done for CSTA.

Heather Wygant joined the Board in 2008. She was fresh from Texas, where she’d been active with STAT (Science Teachers Association of Texas). She served two terms as the CSTA High School representative and one term as Treasurer. She brought us ideas from the Lone Star State and enthusiasm for all things science (especially earth science). While she is officially leaving the Board, Heather will stay active with CSTA serving on the NGSS Committee and the Electronic Communications Committee. Jeanine Wulfenstein, middle school science teacher in Temecula Valley Unified School District, is taking over Heather’s position as Treasurer. (more…)

CSTA and NSTA Team Up to Provide Professional Development for California Science Educators

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

by Laura Henriques

The end of the school year is almost upon us! As we finish teaching our last units, pack up our classrooms, and send students out to do exciting science and STEM adventures it is time to think about our own professional learning.

The theme for this month’s California Classroom Science is related to summer opportunities for educators and kids. Summertime brings opportunities for us to be in the role of student, letting us learn new things. We have time to reflect on our practice, work with colleagues, and improve what we do. We can read for our own professional growth (if you have not yet read the K12 Framework for Science Education or the NGSS and related appendices summer could be a perfect time for that). We can attend workshops and institutes. Museums and informal science institutions run a wide range of programs. As you peruse the articles in this issue you’ll find just a few of the options available. Look around your area to see what’s offered. You will be surprised to find so many exciting opportunities. County Offices, California Science Projects and other support providers will be hosting workshops and professional learning opportunities to help us become more familiar with NGSS, linkages between Common Core and science, and the role of engineering in our classrooms. See what you can find to help you begin to transition NGSS into your teaching practice.

CSTA has been actively involved in helping create and provide learning opportunities as well. In May we co-led three NGSS Rollout Workshops with colleagues from California Science Project, K12 Alliance/WestEd, County Offices of Education, and the California Department of Education. More than 700 science teacher leaders and administrators from San Joaquin, LA, Orange, Riverside, and surrounding counties attended these workshops. The workshops will be repeated in the fall in other parts of the state (San Diego, Fresno, Redbluff, and the San Francisco Bay Area). You can find out more about the fall workshops on the NGSS Rollout Website.

NGSSLogo

As part of CSTA’s professional development plan leading up to the Long Beach NSTA Area Conference on Science Education – in Collaboration with CSTA, we are offering webinars and a summer professional development program around NGSS and Common Core. Educators will have the opportunity to participate in a webinar on June 17, a day-long workshop in July (July 21st in Foster City/San Mateo and July 25th in Anaheim). There will be additional webinars in the fall and a culminating experience at the joint conference in December. There are multiple ways for you to participate in these learning experiences. It’s our hope that you’ll be able to do the webinars, the summer workshop and the follow-up at the conference but we know that some of you will only be able to do the summer components (workshop and/or webinars) while others will only be able to attend the workshop in Long Beach. The intention of creating the extended learning opportunity is to allow you time to learn new things, practice them in your classroom and then come back together to expand upon what you learned. The workshops and webinars will be led by Kathy DiRanna and Cynthia Passmore. These two women are fantastic presenters and I know you’ll learn lots by attending! Kathy will help you dig into NGSS and Common Core integrations while Cynthia will be help you explore Science & Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts during the face-to-face workshops. (more…)

Leaning In and Leading by Example

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

The retirement of Phil Lafontaine from the California Department of Education has me thinking again about leadership in science education, particularly in California. In addition to hiring Phil’s replacement, CDE’s STEM Office was also hiring. As I think about science educators around the state who might apply for these positions I fear we are not doing a good enough job of helping foster our future leaders. I recognize that lean budgets and multiple years of teacher lay-offs contribute to an environment that is not conducive to building leadership. However, times are changing and there is a renewed focus and energy around STEM education. As a community, we need to take advantage of this opportunity and help develop a pipeline of science education leaders. (more…)

NGSS Implementation Rollout – Seeking Teams of Teacher Leaders and Administrators

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Laura Henriques
Updated May 14, 2014

This month’s issue of CCS focuses on biology and chemistry. Articles in this issue highlight some of the challenges around teaching these topics as we move towards Common Core and NGSS implementation. Jeanine Wulfenstein points out that the ideas are often abstract and difficult for students to grasp. These topics include a large number of vocabulary words that can get in the way of understanding, especially for English learners and students with special needs. Barbara Woods points out how discrepant events can be used to motivate and engage students by including the wow factor.  Both articles provide us with teaching strategies that engage and support students while incorporating aspects of NGSS and Common Core.

I do not think any of us could teach chemistry (or other abstract topics) without using models (one of the NGSS science and engineering practices). A discrepant event or surprising moment causes us to ask questions (another of the science and engineering practices). These questions are followed by investigations, tentative explanations and more investigations as students and teachers try to make sense of natural phenomena (even more science and engineering practices!). This approach puts the student-developed models to the test. Adjustments need to be made and the model gets refined. As they explain relationships, cause and effect, and try to make sense of the science they are seeing, they are meeting Common Core standards and science standards. (more…)

LCFF and LCAP: Tools to Help Move Science Education Forward

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

I think it’s safe to say that CSTA members recognize that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are California’s current science standards. As I travel around the state I find that not everyone is as informed as you are! In case you want to forward this article to some less informed colleagues, allow me to recap.

NGSS were unanimously adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in September 2013. In November 2013 the State Board of Education voted unanimously (with one abstention) to adopt the CA NGSS Integrated Model for 6-8 (as developed by the CA Science Expert Panel) as the SPI/ SBE’s preferred model for middle grades science instruction in California. To provide for local option, the Board also requested that the California Department of Education provide an alternate discipline specific model for grades 6-8. This model will be presented to the SBE in spring.

The Board’s intent in the November action was for there to be one Integrated NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8 (the one preferred by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Board), and one Discipline Specific NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8, as an alternate local option where needed.

While NGSS will not be fully implemented into our classrooms for a few years, there is a current need for teachers and administrators to start learning about NGSS immediately. This means awareness and learning about the standards for some. For others it means starting to tweak our current practices to incorporate science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. Regardless of where you are on the awareness/implementation spectrum, none of us can wait two or three years to do anything. We need to start now! (more…)

Synergy of Formal, Informal and Out of School Learning

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

January CSTA’s CCS  was a special issue dedicated to informal science education. Since then there have been a few reports released that highlight model programs that partner across these entities, and a couple of conferences and gatherings addressing the topic. A National Research Council Convocation, STEM is Everywhere, was held in Irvine in mid-February which brought leaders together from across the three worlds of science teaching and learning: formal, informal and out-of-school. (more…)

Kudos and Thank You! CSTA Members Serve in a Variety of Ways

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

by Laura Henriques

Applause_Pres_ArticleFor the last couple of months, CSTA has challenged members to become active participants in California’s science education landscape, and you are stepping up to do that. In the past couple of months CSTA members have volunteered their time and expertise in a variety of ways. I want to take this space in this month’s column to highlight some of those efforts and to provide my heartfelt thanks. Your contributions of time and service will have positive impacts throughout the state. (more…)

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