September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Thanks NGSS Curriculum Framework Review Session Hosts and NGSS Committee

Posted: Sunday, February 7th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

Dawn O'Connor of the Alameda County Office of Education kicks of a Draft Science Framework Group Review Event.

Dawn O’Connor of the Alameda County Office of Education kicks of a Draft Science Framework Group Review Event.

As Lisa Hegdahl wrote about in her President’s column, there were 30 California Science Framework First Public Review Sessions hosted across the state. More than 625 people participated in them and they provided feedback directly to the California Department of Education and to CSTA. We’d like to give a shout out and thanks to all the review session hosts and committee members who participated in this process.

Hosts had to secure a venue, advertise, coordinate RSVPs, get snacks and then coordinate all the feedback (both to CDE and to CSTA). As many of these review sessions happened towards the end of the 60 day public comment period, they had to do this quickly.

NGSS Committee Members read the feedback for a chapter, analyzing the feedback to be able to get a synthesis of the comments submitted to us. This was then used by CSTA for our formal response to the state.

This was a huge undertaking. Thanks to all of you who attended a session and thanks to the leaders who made the process work.

Review Session Hosts
Antony Quan
Barbara Woods
Christie Compton
Christie Pearce
Claudio Vargas
Dawn O’Connor
Dawn Rege
Debra Schneider
Gretchen Bazela
Hilary Dito
Hope Oliver
Jason Borgen
Jason Pitman
Jennifer Allison
Jennifer Janzen
Jennifer Wiebert
Jill Grace
Juanita Chan
Kurt Holland
Lari Powell
Laura Henriques
Linda Braatz-Brown
Linda Chilton
Linda Tolladay
Lisa Hegdahl
Marina Murphy-Shaw
Marissa Stillittano
Mary Whaley
Nathan Inouye
Paeter A’Hearn
Ryamond Pieterson
Sandi Yellenberg
Shay Fairchild
Sinead Klement
Valerie Joyner
Yami Shimojyo

2015-16 NGSS Committee
Ashley Carter
Bethany Dixon
Camie Walker
Elizabeth Marroquin
Hope Oliver
Jeff Orlinsky
Jessica Sawko
Jill Grace
Jim Clark
Joanne Michael
John Galisky
Joseph Calmer
Juanita Chan
Katie Tobin
Kasha Maslowski
Katherine Schenkelberg
Katrina Rotter
Kurt Holland
Laura Henriques
Lisa Hegdahl
Peter A’Hearn
Rodney Olson
Samantha Johnson
Sinead Klement
Susan Gomez-Zwiep
Yvonne White

There will be one more 60-day public review period before the Framework comes before the State Board of Education. Keep your membership current so that you can find out about the next round of review sessions and stay abreast of everything that is happening related to the Framework and NGSS.

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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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


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.