November/December 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 2

CSTA Region 1 – What’s New?

Posted: Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

As a county office Educational Services Director I get to work with many districts, teachers and site leaders on a variety topics, including science. I have the good fortune to be embarking on a new project as part of a team formed by the California State University, Chico – Project ESTEEM.

CSU Chico recruited teams of elementary teachers and their principals to participate in Project ESTEEM, Elementary Science Teachers, Educating, Elevating, and Meliorating; a two-year professional learning grant secured last winter by the University.

The grant aims to improve instructional practice and leadership in elementary science in northeastern California through the development of locally focused standards-aligned curriculum. It also aims to create partnerships among schools, the University, and science and technology resources in the region such as those in industry and agriculture.

Project ESTEEM is funded through the California Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Professional Learning Initiative, and is a part of the department’s Improving Teacher Quality program.

Educators participating in Project ESTEEM will learn

  • the California Next Generation Science Standards;
  • techniques for science curriculum development that include Project-Based Interdisciplinary Instruction and Universal Design for Learning;
  • how to integrate Common Core content literacy and reading comprehension with science;
  • how to meet the science learning needs of English-language learners;
  • how to apply the action research-based Collective Instructional Leadership System developed at CSU, Chico for continuous improvement in education; and
  • the science and technology resources and expertise available in northeastern California that include agriculture, industry, museums, natural areas and higher education.

Principals will also learn strategies for supporting teacher growth and high-quality, standards-aligned elementary science education.

Collaboration and teamwork are essential in Project ESTEEM. Grade-level teams who work across districts within the region will develop innovative elementary science curriculum units.

Project co-directors are CSU, Chico School of Education professors Michael Kotar and Ben Seipel. Supporting school districts are the Red Bluff Union Elementary District, and the Paradise Unified School District. Expertise in science education and content literacy is being supported by a range of local classroom teacher-leaders, county offices of education, and CSU faculty and partners.


creecIn case you want to know who your CREEC coordinator is, and they are based on CA Superintendents Regions 1-11 (not CSTA Regions 1-4) you can go to the CREEC webpage – which is just finishing a remodel – or reach out to them… there are some new names! You can subscribe to get emails and newsletters about events being offered in your region. Join the Email List!  Don’t miss a thing!

CSTA Region 1
Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba Counties

Region 1
Allison Poklemba
Humboldt State University
1 Harpst Street
Arcata, CA 99521   707-826-4479 x3

Region 2
Nathan Fairchild
1644 Magnolia Avenue
Redding, CA     96001
530-225-0214

Region 3
Deborah Bruns
Yolo County Office of Education
1280 Santa Anita Court, Suite 100
Woodland, CA 95776-6127
530-668-3781

Region 6
Conni Bock
San Joaquin County Office of Education
PO Box 213030
Stockton, CA 95213-9030
209-468-9119

or

Colleen Whitlock
175 Fairview Lane
Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 536-2075

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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Priority Features of NGSS-Aligned Instructional Materials

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Recommendations for Publishers, Reviewers, and Educators. The California Science Teachers Association and the science teachers associations of three other Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) west-coast states, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have co-authored a white paper on priority features of NGSS instructional materials. This is the first time our states have collaborated to convey a common vision on an issue of great importance for the implementation of the NGSS. We understand all too well that for meaningful shifts to happen and to support the full vision of the NGSS, strong K-12 Instructional materials are required. 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 Board Moves Forward Two Key Pieces Supporting CA NGSS Implementation

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

CSTA President Jill Grace provides public comment at the November 8, 2017, California State Board of Education meeting.

On November 8, 2017, the California State Board of Education (SBE) took action on two items of import relating to the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). One item was relating to the California Science Test (CAST) and the other to instructional materials. CSTA provided both written and oral comments on both items along with providing input on what CSTA and many other advocates view as a critical component of our state’s emerging accountability system – student access to a broad course of study. 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.

NGSS – Early Attempts and Later Reflections from an Early Implementer Teacher

Posted: Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

by Christa Dunkel

  • There are so many acronyms! Where do I start?
  • What “baby step” should I take first? 
  • How can I make this happen in my elementary classroom?

All of these thoughts and more swam through my head over three years ago when I began my journey into NGSS. I was fresh from a week-long institute with the K-12 Alliance as part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. Much of the week was spent on digging into the NGSS architecture – how the standards are set-up, how to read the standards, what each of the three dimensions meant. Now that I knew how to read them, I needed to figure out how to implement them into my classroom of 24 eight-year-olds. With some guidance from the K-12 Alliance leaders and my own district-level NGSS team, I began the process with some easy “baby steps.” Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

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.

Expanding Your Definition of Informal Science Education

Posted: Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

by Lori Walsh

When deciding on a field trip, zoos, aquariums and science centers typically come to mind. These facilities offer students hands-on opportunities to make science observations using inquiry. Teachers can schedule standards aligned workshops or self-guided visits. If your students have already visited these facilities, you can broaden your options by exploring the larger world of Informal Science Education. Nature centers, non-profits, and environmental groups often also offer NGSS aligned programs in the natural setting. Your students can discover the local environment while making memorable experiences. Learn More…

Written by Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh is the Education/Operations Supervisor at SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort and Informal Science Director for CSTA.