May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.