September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSULB Alumnus, Faculty Member Honored By California Science Teachers Association

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Republished with permission from Everything Long Beach

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) named California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) science education teaching credential alumnus Josiah Jones as the 2012 Future Science Teacher Award winner and CSULB adjunct science faculty member Dean Gilbert as the Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Josiah Jones named the 2012 Future Science Teacher Award winner by The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA)

Both Jones and Gilbert were recognized at CSTA’s annual Science Education Conference, Oct. 19-21, in San Jose, Calif.

Jones is CSULB’s seventh Future Science Teacher recipient since 2005, said Laura Henriques, chair of CSULB’s Department of Science Education, who nominated him.  The award comes with a $1,000 prize from SeaWorld San Diego in recognition of exceptional college students who demonstrate a commitment to science education along with volunteerism and professional activities.

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) named Dean Gilbert as the Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award recipient.

He received dual bachelor of science degrees in environmental science and geography at UC Santa Barbara before earning his credential in earth science at CSULB, where he received a National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Scholarship for science teaching preparation—CSULB’s fourth Noyce scholar to be a CSTA honoree.  He also taught for two summers in the university’s Science Education Experience to Help Underserved Students Succeed program, a two-week daytime science camp for homeless children in Long Beach.

He did his student teaching at Long Beach’s Wilson Classical High School, which hired him to teach earth science and Advance Placement environmental science beginning this fall.

“I was blown away.  I received a letter in the mail and couldn’t believe the words on the page,” Jones said of the award.  “I knew CSULB had a great track record for winning the award and Laura mentioned that my extra work and experience while completing my credential would help my chances, but I never thought I’d actually be selected.  I had pretty low expectations and was very surprised to win.  I was simply doing all I could to be a better teacher, but I never thought I’d win an award for it.  It’s an absolute honor and I’m humbled to be selected.

“The Science Education program at CSULB has really helped me learn the teaching profession and begin my career,” he continued.  “They have given me fantastic support and guidance all throughout my program and even beyond it.  Through countless development workshops, extensive community contacts and various hands-on teaching experiences, they have provided me with ample opportunities to hone my craft.  The Science Education program at CSULB is much more than just a credential program—they are passionate and will do anything they can to help you succeed in your career.”

Having so many CSTA honorees “speaks to the depth of our program and the richness of experience that we offer to students,” Henriques said.  “When CSTA is looking at the award, they’re looking for more than just somebody who has a credential and wants to be a teacher.  They want to know that they’ve done volunteer opportunities and had experiences with kids beyond just what the credential program would require of them.  So, Josiah and the others before him have been involved in multiple activities beyond what they need to do to get their teaching credential and I think that makes them stand out.”

Gilbert is science coordinator with the Orange County Department of Education and previously held similar positions with the Los Angeles County Department of Education and Long Beach Unified School District.  He has taught an Integrated Science Education class at CSULB.

“Dean has been a partner with us for years,” said Henriques, adding that in addition to teaching, Gilbert assisted her department in placing or supervising CSULB student science teachers as part of his duties with various educational agencies.  “He is the most committed, passionate science educator that I know and I’m really excited that he got this award.  He’s such a huge advocate for science teaching and learning.”

“I am honored to be selected as the 2012 recipient of the Margaret Nicholson Award,” Gilbert said.  “It is amazing to be recognized by colleagues at the state level for my contributions to improve science education in our state and nation.  My motivation is and has always been to improve the educational experiences for students.”

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 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.

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.

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.