September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Says Good-Bye and Thanks to Board Members

Posted: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

I would like to use this month’s column to publicly thank our outgoing Board Members. Our spring elections bring new faces and talent to the CSTA Board, but that means we also say good-bye to some colleagues.

There are five Board members whose term just expired, four of whom will be leaving the Board. Their last official Board Meeting was June 14th but we look forward to their continued involvement in CSTA. We also appreciate all that they have done for CSTA.

Heather Wygant joined the Board in 2008. She was fresh from Texas, where she’d been active with STAT (Science Teachers Association of Texas). She served two terms as the CSTA High School representative and one term as Treasurer. She brought us ideas from the Lone Star State and enthusiasm for all things science (especially earth science). While she is officially leaving the Board, Heather will stay active with CSTA serving on the NGSS Committee and the Electronic Communications Committee. Jeanine Wulfenstein, middle school science teacher in Temecula Valley Unified School District, is taking over Heather’s position as Treasurer.

Eric Lewis & Heather Wygant at their final Board Meeting (6/14/14)

Eric Lewis & Heather Wygant at their final Board Meeting (6/14/14)

Eric Lewis has served as the Region 2 Director from 2010-2014. Region 2 encompasses Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Solano Counties. Eric, a science teacher from San Francisco USD, ably reported on science education happenings and events in the region. His columns in CCS helped keep teachers informed and provided them with up-to-date information about professional development opportunities in the area. Eric served on the Electronic Communications Committee and the Marketing Committee. Minda Berbeco, Programs & Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education was elected as Eric’s successor for Region 2 Director.

Greg Potter

Greg Potter

Greg Potter is completing his term as 4-Year College Director. Greg’s experience as a Science Teacher Education faculty member at University of the Pacific helped him represent the 4-year college and preservice teacher perspective on the Board. Greg served on the Membership & Preservice Teacher Committee. He is being replaced by Susan Gomez-Zwiep, Associate Professor of Science Education at California State University, Long Beach.

 

 

Sean Timmons

Sean Timmons

Sean Timmons is stepping down as Intermediate Director. Sean’s classroom experience at that level combined with his responsibilities at the Stanislaus County Office of Education has brought expertise and ideas to duties on the Board. Sean served from 2012-2014. Joanne Michael, a science specialist at Meadows Elementary School in Manhattan Beach USD, was elected as the new Intermediate Director.The last shift to the Board is the addition of Peter A’Hearn. He is the newly elected Region 4 Director, a post he takes over from Jeanine Wulfenstein (the newly elected Treasurer). Jeanine served as the Region 4 Director from 2012-2014, ably representing the counties of Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. In addition to providing information about professional development opportunities in the region and representing CSTA at many of those events, Jeanine also served on the Publications Committee and the Legislative Oversight Committee.It is exciting to add new people to the Board as it broadens our thinking, increases our expertise and reach. I look forward to the contributions that Minda, Joanne, Susan and Peter will make. They were all present, as non-voting members, at the June 2014 Board meeting so they will hit the ground running as we move into the new fiscal year.

My sincere thanks to Heather, Eric, Sean, Greg and Jeanine for their service to CSTA. We are a volunteer-led organization. Any successes we have are a direct result of the work of our Board and our members. I give a special thanks to these CSTA members for their dedication and commitment to CSTA. Thanks also to all our dues paying members for their belief and commitment in our work. Thanks in advance to those of you who want to be further involved by serving on CSTA committees or work groups.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a past-president of CSTA.

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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.