September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Celebrating CSTA Members in the New School Year

Posted: Thursday, September 15th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

April through July, 2016, the California Science Teachers Association welcomed the following New and Renewing Members
(CSTA/NSTA Joint Memberships may not be reflected in this list):

Rachel Abercrombie
Michelle Abernathy
Jamie Alvarez
Sarah Amarragy
Yvonne Andrade
Joelle Andrews
Brittany Appleby
Richard Archer
Angela Arechiga
Michelle Arias
Monique Armstrong
Guadalupe Arteaga
Mary Jane Ashley
Stacy Baehr
Kathryn Baker
Maria Aurora Barron
Andrea Barron
Jessica Bibbs-Fox
Matt Bidwell
Gypsy Biller
John Billman
Debbie Bonilla
Gina Bosotino
Sarah Boughey
Frank Bovi
Cindy Braby
Jessica Bracken
Meredtih Brandon
Delores Bravo
Michelle Brouchoud
Ryan Brown
Barbara Brown
Teryl Burditt
Nicole Cabase
Araceli Caldera
Mary Campbell
Elizabeth Cantu
Michaelann Carroll
Aaron Carter
Kimberly Cashin
Carmela Castrejon
Stacey Castro
Brikia Cephus
Kathryn Chaffins
Kimberly Claytor
Eugene Cordero
Lydia Cordova
Nancy Cotter
Roger Cramer
Corrie Cruise
Robert Curcio
Hardiman Cureton
Dany Dara
Shauna Dauenhauer
Alyssa Davis
Scott Davis
Olivia De La Torre
Tanvir Dhillon
Julie DiMaio
Gabriella Dominguez
Julie Draa
Lillie Dubai
Shawna Duncan
Carola Dunham
Linda Ekstrom
Elizabeth Elliot
Patrick Escott
Janice Farmer
Irma Fernandez
Joseph Fiktarz
Courtney Fitzgerald
Maria Flaherty
Leslie Flores
Carolina Fonseca
Vannessa Fowler
Eric Garber
Alex Gibbons
David Gomes Bourdier
Sandra Goodrich
Maria Guevara
Ronald Guilliams
Mary Gunderso
Candice Guy
Carla Hale
Stuart Hall
Mark Hamamura
Bill Harris
Gloria Harwood
Allison Hernandez
Kelly Herrman
Kelly Hickman
Linda Hill-Lindsay
Maria Holcomb
Taylor Holloway
Tiffany Hughes
Kristen Hurst
Mary Inglish
Carrie Isbell
Khadija Iyer
Damien Jacotin
Kelly Jacotin
Mozhdeh Jamison
Daniel Jaramillo
Leslie Jimenez
Salvador Jimenez
Susan Johnson
Heather Johnson
Kelly Jones
Jill Jones
Stephanie Jordan
Brooke Judge
Leslie Kapner
Krisha Kerr-Poole
Lyndsey Kier
Jerry Knaack
Carl Kohns
Jennifer Kramer
Jessica Kurtz
Denise Lambert
Michelle Lambeth
Karen Lane
Randy Lapin
Marlene Larios
Rosa Latorre
John LeFay
Eric Lehew
Chelsea Lewis
Jomei Liao
Dolores Loera
Leslie Longabach
Jill Lytle
Michele Marcus
Joni Marques
Vanessa Marquez
Barbara Marrs
Richard Martin
Carol Martindale
Lance Mayhofer
Christine Mazalewski
April McBride
Monique McWayne
Molina Meas
Susana Medina
Richard Medina
Rosa Mitchell
Jill Moeller
James Monroe
April Montes
Kat Montgomery
Michael Mullen
Julie Munoz
Jenny Munoz
Jerry Myers
Patricia Newman
Sheila Nguyen
Ellen Noble
Sara Norris
Linda Nutile
Roger Olson
Shirleen Oplustic
Scot Oschman
Lori Ott
Brian Paavo
Rudolph Patterson
Amanda Penaloza-Banks
Kimberly Petrov
Heidi Plowe
Chelsea Poma
Michelle Posnikoff
Margaret Purdy
Tiffani Quan
Carleen Quezada
Tina Ramsey
Jennifer Rasic
Joy Rasic
Isaac Raymond
Patty Reetz
Stacie Rego
Marcia Reilly
Erin Reiss
Danielle Reo
Stephanie Rice
Michele Robb
Michael Robinson
Dorothy Rodriguez
Brandon Rodriguez
Feliciano Rodriguez
Colin Rodriguez
Beth Rogers
Erick Roldan
Jaclyn Rosen
Renee Rubio
Daisy Rubio
Robert Ruiz
Denise Ryan
Cristina Salas
Siria Salas
Rhonda Salyer Wixom
Emily Sanders
Susan Scott
Hanna Seidler
Jaclyn Severn
Molly Shaw
Tristan Shorba
Kathleen Shreve
Linda Shumate
Elizabeth Silveira
Wendy Simpson
Elizabeth Smit
Laurie Smith
Laura Solarez
Sibyl Sperber
Cyrene St. Amant
Shawneen Staley
Sasha Stallard
Holly Steele
Michelle Steever
Anne Stephens
Andrew Swelnis
Shannon Tabata
Maria Torres
Elizabeth Usher
Jim Vanides
Margaret Vargas
Ana Vazquez
Heather Vernon
Colleen Villasenor
Elaine Wallace
Darren Webb
Anna Weber
Anne Webster
Christi Wilkins
Ben Williams
Rebecca Wingerden
Hilary Wolcott
Marta Wood
Casey Woodgrift
Michelle Woods
Jenae Worsham
Rebecca Wright
Kristine Yoder
Mamiche Young
Derek Zhang


core_ideasAll CSTA members benefit from:

  • The timely content of California Classroom Science 12 times per year
  • Up to date information concerning California’s adoption of NGSS provided through, among other forums, town hall meetings, NGSS resource page on the CSTA website – California Classroom Science, and e-mail blasts.
  • Reduced registration fees to the annual California Science Education Conference (and other CSTA-sponsored events)
  • Exclusive, member-only e-mail alerts on hot topics and issues
  • Representation for members at the state level to influence state policies that enhance the profession


It is no wonder thousands of California science teachers are proud CSTA members.

Additional membership benefits:



  • Reduced pricing on over 25,000 in-stock products and 4,000 environmentally responsible products and services.
  • Flexible purchasing options via catalog, online, dedicated, customer service team or in store.
  • Retail Connect SM card gives members their contract-negotiated price in store at any one of nearly 1,000 OfficeMax retail locations.
  • Customized digital print solutions through OfficeMax.

(Check out the Member-only Discount page for the discount codes.)


  • Monterey Bay Aquarium ticket discounts are available to CSTA members via the CSTA Preferred Ticket sales store.
  • CSTA members and their guests save $5 on admission.
  • Tickets must be purchased via the online store and printed to take to the Aquarium for admission.
  • Visit the CSTA Members Only benefits page to access the online store.


  • Up to 25% off promotional rates.
  • Convenient airport locations.
  • Where2TM GPS – State-of-the-art GPS system that guides through every mile of your trip, giving you clear, simple directions, real-time road conditions and much more.
  • Timesaving services, like Avis Preferred Service, e-Receipt and Roving Rapid Return
  • Avis e-Receipt – Within 24 hours of returning your vehicle, you’ll have your Avis receipt e-mailed to you, free of charge. It’s a convenient way to avoid lost receipts, complete expense reports, and save time when returning your car.
  • Complimentary Preferred® Service enrollment – A fast and easy counter bypass program with added benefits and special amenities, such as the best parking spots and more vehicles. Available at participating locations.
  • (Check out the Member-only Discount page for the discount codes.)

The California Science Teachers Association would like to thank you for your membership. Without your support, we could not have accomplished all we have these past 50 years.

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

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California Science Assessment Update

Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at 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.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. 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.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well 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.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.