November/December 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 2

California Science Project Announces New Executive Director

Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2011

by Jim Postma and Jean Treiman

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Maria C. Simani, Ph.D. as the executive director of the California Science Project (CSP) effective July 1, 2011. The central mission of the California Science Project is to develop and enhance teachers’ content knowledge and to support teaching practices to improve science learning for students in grades K-12. Dr. Simani brings a wealth of experience in research science, professional development for teachers, and in establishing partnerships with the educational and private sectors.

Prior to joining CSP, Dr. Simani served as the Director of the P-20 Regional Alliances program working at the ALPHA Center at the University of California, Riverside since 2007. There, she served as the lead for establishing intersegmental partnerships, leveraging resources between educational segments, including grant writing efforts, and establishing herself across campus as an advisor for the design and implementation of professional development in science for secondary school teachers.

Dr. Simani became an active part of the campus outreach efforts by working as a physical science instructor for the Copernicus Project where she provided professional development to primary and secondary school teachers during summer institutes and assisted with follow-up during the academic year. Additionally, she is a partner on several projects with faculty from the sciences and engineering colleges and with local county offices of education. She developed her own inquiry-based summer science academy for teachers, and collaborated with the Ontario-Montclair Unified School District to deliver research based professional development incorporating state science standards for K-8 teachers as part of the California Science and Mathematics Partnership grant.

In 2009, Dr. Simani became the lead manager and Co-PI on the implementation of a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program to provide advanced preparation to pre-service secondary teachers in mathematics and science to serve in high-need school districts.

Prior to her work at UC Riverside, Dr. Simani served as an associate research scientist at the Particle Physics Division at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, analyzing data from the BaBar experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In 2004, Dr. Simani moved to the Sabes Laboratory at UC San Francisco to support the development of experiments aiming at identifying the neural basis of sensory-motor learning and adaption in the brain.

While conducting her research, Dr. Simani became involved as a volunteer scientist for the UC San Francisco Science and Health Education Partnership and developed several classroom activities for K-2 students in local public schools with the goal of exposing them and their teachers to authentic science learning experiences. This program led Dr. Simani to learn about science education and pedagogy in K-12 schools as well as the power that well prepared teachers have in fostering students’ interest in science.

Dr. Simani received her bachelor of science degree in physics from the University of Ferrara, Italy, and her doctor of philosophy in experimental high energy physics from the Department of Natural Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2002.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Maria Simani to her new role as executive director for the California Science Project.

Jim Postma is the chairman of the advisory board for the California Science Project and a chemistry professor at CSU, Chico. Jean Treiman is the executive director of the California Subject Matter Project.

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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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. 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.

Priority Features of NGSS-Aligned Instructional Materials

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Recommendations for Publishers, Reviewers, and Educators. The California Science Teachers Association and the science teachers associations of three other Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) west-coast states, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have co-authored a white paper on priority features of NGSS instructional materials. This is the first time our states have collaborated to convey a common vision on an issue of great importance for the implementation of the NGSS. We understand all too well that for meaningful shifts to happen and to support the full vision of the NGSS, strong K-12 Instructional materials are required. 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.

State Board Moves Forward Two Key Pieces Supporting CA NGSS Implementation

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

CSTA President Jill Grace provides public comment at the November 8, 2017, California State Board of Education meeting.

On November 8, 2017, the California State Board of Education (SBE) took action on two items of import relating to the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). One item was relating to the California Science Test (CAST) and the other to instructional materials. CSTA provided both written and oral comments on both items along with providing input on what CSTA and many other advocates view as a critical component of our state’s emerging accountability system – student access to a broad course of study. 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.

NGSS – Early Attempts and Later Reflections from an Early Implementer Teacher

Posted: Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

by Christa Dunkel

  • There are so many acronyms! Where do I start?
  • What “baby step” should I take first? 
  • How can I make this happen in my elementary classroom?

All of these thoughts and more swam through my head over three years ago when I began my journey into NGSS. I was fresh from a week-long institute with the K-12 Alliance as part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. Much of the week was spent on digging into the NGSS architecture – how the standards are set-up, how to read the standards, what each of the three dimensions meant. Now that I knew how to read them, I needed to figure out how to implement them into my classroom of 24 eight-year-olds. With some guidance from the K-12 Alliance leaders and my own district-level NGSS team, I began the process with some easy “baby steps.” 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.

CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.