September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Member Anne Marie Bergen Awarded PAEMST

Posted: Sunday, May 1st, 2011

CSTA is pleased to announce that CSTA member Anne Marie Bergen was awarded the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching!

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level.  Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.  The 2010 awardees named today teach kindergarten through 6th grade.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration.

President Obama has committed to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and prepare 100,000 effective science and mathematics teachers over the next decade.  These commitments build on the President’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which has attracted more than $700 million in donations and in-kind support from corporations, philanthropies, service organizations, and others to help bolster science and technology education in the classroom.

“The teachers we honor today have demonstrated uncommon skill and devotion in the classroom, nurturing the young minds of tomorrow’s science and math leaders,” said President Obama.  “America’s competitiveness rests on the excellence of our citizens in technical fields, and we owe these teachers a debt of gratitude for strengthening America’s prosperity.”

About Anne Marie Bergen:

Currently the leader of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District science program, Ms. Anne Marie Bergen discovered the natural connection students had to experiential learning when she was an intern at Sonora’s Foothill Horizons Outdoor School, leading hikes for sixth-grade students and their teachers.

She went on to become head naturalist at Foothill Horizons and later performed a variety of roles in Oakdale schools, including GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) teacher coordinator (1991-2001), district science mentor teacher (1992-1996), district science demonstration teacher (1999-2000), elementary science specialist (1998-2001) and district science fair coordinator (2000-present).

Bergen was named California Teacher of the Year in 2003, Stanislaus County Teacher of the Year in 2002 and a semifinalist for the National Science Teachers Association Shell Oil Science Award in 1998.  Other honors include the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence (2006); the CATALYST Award for Excellence in Science Leadership/Instruction (1998); and numerous grants, including a $15,000 Oakdale Education Foundation/Oakdale Irrigation District Community Grant (From the River to the Tap/Salmon Project, 2007-2009), a $20,000 British Petroleum A+ for Energy Grant Award (Passport to Science, 2005-2006) and a $10,000 Toyota TAPESTRY Grant Award (Passport to Science, 2004).

Bergen has been a presenter at conferences sponsored by the Capitol Area Science Education Leaders, the Association of Environmental and Outdoor Educators, the California Science Teachers Association, the National Science Teachers Association and other educational organizations. Her leadership in science education includes directing the Salmonids in the Classroom Program/Oakdale Salmon Project (1995-present) and serving as a member of the Stanislaus Teaching Academy Network advisory board (2001-2004). She has also acted as a K-12 Alliance lead teacher (2001-2004), a science seminar coordinator/facilitator (2003-present) and a Science Olympiad coach (1995, 2001, 2008-2009).

Late last summer, she moved to Cal Poly SLO, where she now works in a teacher education support program.

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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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.

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.