Conference Deadline Proposal Approaches! Short Courses due January 31, Workshops March 4
Posted: Friday, January 4th, 2013
by Rick Pomeroy
Have you ever wondered how many workshops are really offered at a California Science Education Conference, or what the grade or subject distribution is? I do. Over the years, I have come to realize that there are a lot of workshops at each conference that I never get to see. In fact, there are things at every conference for people with vastly different teaching assignments than I have that I have never realized even existed. For example, this year at the 2012 conference in San Jose, there was a dedicated short course specifically for primary teachers. Since the majority of my work is with secondary science teachers, I would never have even thought about attending any of those sessions. I also missed most of the biology workshops, not because I have anything against biology but simply because there was something else at those times that I was more interested in.
After ruminating about my lack of knowledge about the overall picture of workshops at this year’s conference, I decided to do a bit of an analysis of what was proposed and what was offered. Besides my curiosity, I did this as a way of encouraging you to submit workshop proposals for the 2013 conference in Palm Springs. I am hoping that by seeing what was proposed and what was accepted this year, that more members will be interested in submitting their own workshop proposal.
The data for this analysis is the list of submitted proposals. The list includes the subject matter as entered by the proposer, the grade level(s) that the session was targeted for, the subject area, and the results of the blind review (accept, decline, withdrawn). During the submission process, the proposer could select from eight subject areas. In addition, each proposer could select the grade level(s) that the workshop would apply to. Unfortunately, this data is a bit confusing with some proposers picking all grade levels from K-13 while others would select a single grade.
Subject Area Submissions: There were a total of 252 proposals submitted. Of those, 173 were accepted with the results as follows (submitted/accepted): Chemistry (16/14), Earth/Space Science (42/30), Environmental Science (25/18), Integrated Science (14/8), Multidisciplinary Science (75/56), Physical Science (31/20), and Physics (9/5). In an effort to offer a content-balanced conference, it appears that more submissions in the areas of chemistry and physics would help the conference planning committee offer something for every teacher during each of the workshop time slots.
Grade Level Submissions: As stated above, the analysis of submissions by grade level was a bit more difficult. I could have analyzed the number of proposals that listed 1st grade then the number that listed 2nd grade …… but that would have yielded a Mole of data (okay, I may be exaggerating a bit but I put this in to see if anyone is really reading this far) that would have been difficult to make sense of and which would probably not inform the general nature of this article. Instead, I tried to count the number of proposals submitted/accepted at the elementary grade level (PreK-6) the middle/junior high school Level (6-9) and the high school level (9-12). As I said before, this data was not quite as clean as the subject matter and so I had to categorize some of the proposals into one group or another based on the grades listed by the proposer as well as the trend in the grades. For example, something listed for grades 5,6,7,8 would be counted as middle/junior high school where as something that was listed as K, 1,2,3,4,5 would be counted for elementary. The proposals were counted multiple times to check my assumptions. The results of that analysis (submitted/accepted) are elementary (45/42), middle/junior high school (42/27) high school (42/30) and other where the typical grade span included at least two and in some cases all three grade ranges (123/74). The catch-all grade span made it difficult to categorize and evaluate proposals and may have contributed to the fact that almost 50 of those proposals were not accepted.
What can we learn from this simple analysis? First, look for those areas that appear to have low numbers of submissions. If you have a good idea in any of those areas, please consider submitting a proposal for the 2013 conference. Likewise, if you want to do something in one of the more heavily impacted subject areas (Earth/Space Science, Multidisciplinary Science) pay special attention to the grade levels that your workshop applies to as well as crafting a proposal that reviewers can’t wait to accept. Finally, when proposing a workshop, try to identify the target audience that you really want to attract. Many attendees will see a workshop listed for grades K-12 and wonder how valuable it can be for my grade level if it covers everyone.
In closing, I encourage you to take some time to craft your proposals so that they are clear on their content and the grade level standards that they address. Pay particular attention, for at least one more year, to the California Standards. We hope that these will be changing, but for now they are the rules we have to play by. Finally, think of something you have to offer that is unique, that you are passionate about, and that you have found to be successful in supporting high quality learning for your students. Take a risk and submit a proposal. If this is your first time, feel free to contact me, or any of your science colleagues for support. The goal of the conference chair and the entire conference committee is to provide you with three days of awesome sessions that you can’t wait to go home and try.
Posted: 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.
Posted: 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.
Posted: 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. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
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: Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…