September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Connections Between Common Core State Standards, the Coming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and Career and Technical Education for STEM

Posted: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

I recently participated in the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) Professional Development Institute and the Annual meeting of the NSF-funded STEM Equity Pipeline Project. The meetings were rich and offered more information than I can sum up than this article. I encourage you to visit their websites for complete information.

NAPE: www.napequity.org

STEM Equity Pipeline: http://www.stemequitypipeline.org

Highlights from the meetings included:

  • Being part of the California state team representing K-12 and community colleges together;
  • Hearing from Departments of Education and Labor in person;
  • Sharing on-the-ground information with congressional staff in the form of district data and state program summaries about what is working for students in CA and what we need help with;
  • Seeing first-hand how examining local data has lead to improved access to quality STEM education pathways for non-traditional student populations;
  • Learning about best practices from multiple states that have potential as models for CA districts, regions, or partnerships in college/career readiness for all the student populations we serve;
  • Discussing connection between Common Core State Standards, the coming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Career and Technical Education for STEM.

It is this last point that warrants some additional thought. While the California assessments for measuring student success in Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and Language Arts (CCSS) are still a few years away, the work for educators at all levels starts today.  Beginning to discuss the implications of the CCSS, and then the NGSS, on instruction and professional learning makes sense as it will take time to prepare the groundwork – or cultivate the soil as Sir Ken Robinson would say. Then tending to the work of implementation in coming years, which will reach across disciplines and educational sectors, becomes the next phase.  It is this intersection of mathematical success demonstrated by application, science application through engineering, and literacy applied to informational language in civics or CTE where college/career readiness will really develop into a harvest of meaningful learning for all students.  No single area of expertise or content specialty will be able to accomplish this in isolation. It will be the shared talents of those who teach applied skills and those who develop rich understanding that support the student outcomes describe in the CCSS and NGSS for all learners.

The scope of the work is significant but so are the potential results, which is why I am looking forward to the many opportunities I will have to share in the professional learning and conversations. I invite you to join in them too through CSTA’s eCCS, at our annual conference this October in San Jose, through partnerships with math and CTE colleagues, the California Math Council, and STEM networks statewide.

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s secretary and chair of CSTA’s Legislative Oversight Committee.

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.

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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

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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

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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.