May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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 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.