September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Call for Nominations for the 2017-2019 CSTA Board of Directors

Posted: Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

nominationformIt’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.

Nominations for Election to Board of Directors of CSTA, 2017-2019 Term

Directors will serve a two-year term beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019.

All current members of CSTA are encouraged to participate in the nomination process.

Only complete nomination packets will be considered. CSTA recommends you review the application and list of required components below and submit all of your materials at once.

Required information and documents:

  • Completed Declaration of Candidacy Form including:
    • Your experience with CSTA and your teaching and professional experience.
    • Candidate Statement (used in ballot)
      • Your Science Education Philosophy (Please address your philosophy of science education, science teaching, and the role of science education in society.) – 100 words maximum
      • Your Philosophy and Vision for CSTA (Please address your philosophy about CSTA, its mission, goals, its role in the education community, and your vision for the association.) – 100 words maximum
  • Resume/CV
  • Two Letters of Recommendation from CSTA members*
  • Head & Shoulders Photo (optional – for use with ballot)

*You must submit two letters of endorsement from CSTA members, other than the President, President-Elect, or members of the CSTA Nominations Committee, endorsing your candidacy for office. If you are unsure whether or not an individual from whom you will be requesting an endorsement letter is a member of CSTA, you may call the CSTA office for that information. The letters should address, insofar as possible, how you meet the Qualifications for Office. http://www.cascience.org/csta/pdf/Qualifications_for_Office.pdf.

Nomination papers will be evaluated by the Nominations Committee, which will select up to two final candidates for each vacant position. Nominees will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Professional Characteristics: Be a science educator and a member in good standing of CSTA; demonstrate a commitment to the improvement of effective science teaching; have a knowledge of the issues facing science education in the state; demonstrate involvement and scholarship in science education; demonstrate knowledge of CSTA and a commitment to its vision and goals; be able to communicate effectively and be a visible spokesperson and strong advocate for CSTA positions; represent the interests and concerns of the members of CSTA. Nominees will be expected to be able to fulfill the duties as described in position descriptions for directors. Directors representing a particular grade level should have adequate experience at that grade level. The Informal Science Education Director must have adequate experience in an organization or institution which conducts science education but is not a school. Regional Directors must reside or work in the region to which they are being elected.

Personal Characteristics: Possess strong leadership skills; possess a high energy level; demonstrate a willingness to make the necessary time commitment to hold a critical leadership position in the association; possess integrity, poise, adaptability, flexibility, a sense of humor, and an appreciation and respect for diversity; possess the ability to create a team effort, build consensus, motivate and involve others, and delegate authority.

Questions? Contact Laura Henriques, Chair, Nominations Committee, at laura.henriques@csulb.edu.

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

Posted: 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. 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. 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.