September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Prepares to Provide Feedback to CDE on New Science Curriculum Framework

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

Twenty five CSTA members are volunteering their time to review approximately 1,000 pages of the early draft of the new Science Curriculum Framework to support NGSS instruction in the classroom and provide guidance to publishers of instructional materials. They are reviewing the document and submitting their feedback to CSTA who will represent science educators from across the state at the end of this month, on August 27-28, when the Science Subject Matter Committee will meet. The Science Subject Matter Committee (SMC) is a committee of the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) (formerly known as the Curriculum Commission) and is responsible for reviewing drafts of the framework and considering public feedback and incorporating that as appropriate as well as providing input based on their expertise. They then forward the draft to the full IQC for approval to be released for a 60-day public comment period.

Robert Foster, chair of the Science Subject Matter Committee being sworn in as a member of the Instructional Quality Commission in March 2014.

Robert Foster, chair of the Science Subject Matter Committee and Lori Freiermuth and Bill Honig, members of the Science SMC being sworn in as members of the Instructional Quality Commission in March 2014.

The Science SMC is chaired by Robert Foster, a middle school teacher at Beattie Middle School. He wrote in June to inform our readers about opportunities for participation in what will be the larger scale first public review, anticipated to take place in October and November of this year. Membership of the Science SMC is made up of the following additional members: Dean Reese, Vice Chair (high school science teacher at Tracy High Shool), Jocelyn Broemmelsiek (high school science teacher at San Dieguito High School Academy and CSTA member), Lori Freiermuth (high school algebra teacher at Olympian High School), Bill Honig (vice chair of the IQC and former state Superintendent), Brian Muller (teacher in LAUSD with experience teaching physics), and Julie Spykerman (math curriculum specialist for the Anaheim Unified High School District).

I have had the pleasure of meeting all of the members of the Science SMC and their commitment, along with CDE, the IQC, and ultimately the State Board of Education, to producing a high quality tool for educators, administrators, and publisher alike, to fully support successful implementation of California’s Next Generation Science Standards, is steadfast. CSTA has taken advantage of every opportunity thus far to provide input into the document and its development. Dozens of CSTA members have been and are involved in the writing, advising, and crafting of this document. We look look forward to continuing our participation in this critical process and representing our 2,500+ members.

15BrochureCoverSmallIf you would like to know more about the new Science Curriculum Framework and how it will be useful to you as a science teacher, I encourage you to register for the 2015 California Science Education Conference taking place this October 2-4 in Sacramento. One of the workshops on the schedule is a presentation on the Science Curriculum Framework by CDE staff and the lead framework authors, CSTA members Maria Simani and Kirk Brown.

Finally, thank you to the members of the 2015/2016 CSTA NGSS Committee for their many hours of volunteer work to review and provide input on the draft document:

Peter A’Hearn
Laura Henriques
Juanita Chan
Bethany Dixon
Joseph Calmer
Ashley Carter
Jim Clark
John Galisky
Susan Gomez-Zwiep
Jill Grace
Lisa Hegdahl
Kurt Holland
Samantha Johnson
Sinead Klement
Elizabeth Marroquin
Kasha Maslowski
Joanne Michael
Hope Oliver
Rodney Olson
Jeff Orlinsky
Katrina Rotter
Katherine Schenkelberg
Katie Tobin
Camie Walker
Yvonne White

 

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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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.

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.

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.