September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Member Wins 2013-2014 Einstein Fellowship

Posted: Monday, April 1st, 2013

Zovig Minassian, a teacher at Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, and CSTA member, will serve at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the guidance of Patricia Dehmer. The complete press release and information regarding the Einstein Fellowship is below. CSTA congratulates Zovig on this incredible accomplishment!

Triangle Coalition Announces 2013-2014 Einstein Fellowships

Twenty-seven distinguished STEM educators selected to serve next school-year at four federal agencies

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 26, 2013) – The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education today announced 27 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators who have been selected for the 2013-2014 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. Selected educators will serve in Washington, D.C. for 11 months beginning September 1, 2013 at sponsoring federal agencies which include the Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Einstein Fellows provide practical classroom insight in guiding education programs and policies, especially those related to STEM education.

Founded in 1990, the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educators with demonstrated excellence in teaching. Fellowships aim to increase understanding, communication, and cooperation between the legislative and executive branches of the government and the STEM education community. The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Act, authorized by Congress in 1994, gave DOE federal responsibility for the program. The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education administers the Program for the DOE Office of Science in partnership with the other participating federal agencies.

The 2013-2014 Einstein Fellows were selected through a rigorous application and interview process from a competitive, nationwide pool of nearly 200 applicants. Of the 27 fellows in the 2013-2014 cohort, five are returning fellows invited to serve for a second year in their sponsoring agencies. Triangle Coalition is pleased to announce the names of the 22 newly selected Einstein Fellows as follows:

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Anne Artz, a teacher at The Preuss School UCSD in La Jolla, Calif., will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

Michelle Basile, a teacher at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington, D.C., will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

James Forester, a teacher at the Salem High School in Salem, Va., will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

Zovig Minassian, a teacher at Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, Calif., will serve at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the guidance of Patricia Dehmer.

Joshua Sneideman, a teacher at Tarbut V Torah in Irvine, Calif., will serve at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the guidance of Michelle Fox.

Shawn Tiegs, a teacher at Nezperce Joint School District in Nezperce, Idaho, will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

Jennifer Kennedy, a teacher at Athens Middle School in Athens, Ala., will serve at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) under the guidance of Tony Springer.

Melinda Higgins, a teacher at The Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tenn., will serve at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Office of Education (OE) & Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) under the guidance of Robert Gabrys.

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Ophelia Barizo, a teacher at the Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, Md., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Emerging Frontiers in Research Innovation Division (EFRI) under the guidance of Rosemarie Wesson.

Elaine Blomeyer, a teacher at South Gate High School in South Gate, Calif. will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Human Resources Development Division (HRD) under the guidance of Marilyn Suiter.

Barbara Buckner, a teacher at Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tenn., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Office of the Assistant Director (OAD) under the guidance of Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

Kaye Ebelt, a teacher at Target Range School in Missoula, Mont., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division (CMMI) under the guidance of George Hazelrigg.

Steve Griffin, a teacher at Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge, La., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Industrial Innovation and Partnerships Division (IIP) under the guidance of Sonya Williams.

Natalie Harr, a teacher at Crestwood Primary School in Mantua, Ohio, will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE), Information and Intelligent Systems Division (IIS) under the guidance of Janet Kolodner.

Kathryn Hoppe, a teacher at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES in Spencerport, N.Y., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) under the guidance of Mary Poats.

Jennie Lyons, a teacher at Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE), Computer and Network Systems Division (CNS) under the guidance of Jan Cuny.

Stephen Portz, a teacher at Space Coast Junior/Senior High School in Cocoa, Fla., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE), Cyber Physical Systems Division (CPS) under the guidance of Keith Marzullo.

Rebecca Sansom, a teacher at Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) under the guidance of Joan Prival.

Florentia Spires, a teacher at Howard University Middle School in Washington, D.C., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate  (CISE),  Computer and Network Systems Division (CNS) under the guidance of Jan Cuny.

Sheryl Sotelo, a teacher at McNeil Canyon Elementary in Homer, Alaska, will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Human Resources Development Division (HRD) under the guidance of Marilyn Suiter.

David Thesenga, a teacher at Lake Forest Country Day School in Lake Forest, Ill., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Geosciences Directorate (GEO) under the guidance of Jill Karsten.

James Town, a teacher at West Sacramento College Prep Charter School in West Sacramento, Calif., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Research on Learning (DRL) under the guidance of Janice Earle.

About the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education

Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education is a 501c (3) nonprofit organization that works in partnership with its members to lead the nation in advocating for improved STEM education. Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metro area, the Triangle Coalition is uniquely comprised of member organizations that represent the diverse voices of businesses, education alliances, nonprofit organizations, and STEM societies from across the U.S. Through a combination of advocacy, communications, and programmatic efforts, Triangle Coalition works diligently to advance STEM education for all students.

Triangle Coalition administers the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program on behalf of the Department of Energy, in partnership with other participating federal agencies and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The federally authorized Einstein Fellowship Program provides a unique professional development opportunity for educators to inform national policy and improve communication between the K-12 STEM education community and national leaders. Fellows spend eleven months working in a federal agency or in a U.S. Congressional office, bringing extensive knowledge and classroom experience to education programs and policy efforts. To learn more about the Triangle Coalition and the Einstein Fellowship Program, visit www.trianglecoalition.org.

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.