Do I hear 51?
Posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
by Lisa Hegdahl
Who is the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA)?
If you ask someone, they may answer this question by saying, “They are the people who organize the California Science Education Conference” or “They are advocates for state policies and legislation that support me in inspiring my students” or “As a statewide organization, they provide me with leadership opportunities.” While all of these are correct answers to the question, perhaps a more complete answer would be:
You are the California Science Teachers Association.
CSTA is a statewide organization that is made up of over 3,000 members, and aside from a small (albeit amazing) office staff, CSTA is run entirely by member volunteers. While sixteen of these volunteers make up the CSTA Board of Directors, the remainder are members at large who give of their valuable time and expertise to make CSTA the leading science educator membership organization in the state of California. It is therefore fitting that the programs and services offered by CSTA exist in large part due to the support of its member volunteers.
In 2016/2017, the California Science Teachers Association had a record number of its members volunteer to serve on its committees—a total of 50 non-Board members! Volunteering connects you with other CSTA members across the state and, as you contribute in your role as a committee member, you also learn from others while gaining insights into the workings behind the scenes of California science education. In addition, having a large number of CSTA members on committees allows for more science teacher voices to be represented at the state level, more sharing about what we are learning, and more input into developing our own professional learning experiences.
SEEKING COMMITTEE VOLUNTEERS
It is that time of year when CSTA calls its members to join one of the many CSTA committees. To join a committee, simply go the CSTA committee volunteer page and click the button. Be sure to indicate a first and 2nd choice. One of the many strengths of CSTA is in the diversity of its membership and it may be that a committee you had not considered will find your unique experiences helpful in making the decisions necessary to carry out its duties. If you are currently serving on a committee, be sure to sign up again to indicate your interest in continuing in that role. Thank you in advance to all who will answer the call and make next year the biggest year for volunteers yet!.
The deadline for CSTA Committee sign ups is midnight, Friday, May 13, 2016.
2017 Conference Planning Committee
This committee plans the California Science Education Conference starting in October 2016 and finishing its work in October 2017. Committee members will meet in person and over the phone to plan the content – both fun and educational – for the 2017 conference. Volunteers needed: 8 – 12.
Legislative Oversight Committee
The Legislative Oversight Committee (LOC) monitors State and Federal legislative and policy issues, develops potential responses to issues and assists Executive Director and President in composing letters and communications in response to proposed legislation and state policies. The LOC informs members of pending legislation by writing articles for CCS and other social media venues. Volunteers needed: 6-10.
Develops strategies for increasing the visibility of the Association and attracting support from currently untapped sources. Reviews and provides feedback on new marketing materials to promote the association and membership. Promotes increased membership in the Association by attracting new members, retention of existing members, and return of past members. Monitors and proposesmembership incentivedesigned to increase membership. Develops strategies to engage new and preservice teachers in the Association. Volunteers needed: 5-7.
To monitor the progress of the implementation ofNGSSand inform the board as necessary, develop strategies and proposals for the CSTA board to consider as it relates to CSTA’s role in the implementation of the NGSS in California. The NGSS committee in 2015/2016 will be active in participating in the curriculum framework development process among other activities. Volunteers needed: 15-20.
Outreach/Electronic Communications Committee
This committee oversees all aspects of electronic communications and social media for the Association. Working in collaboration with the Executive Director and office staff, the Outreach/Electronic Communications Committee maintains all electronic social media and facilitates communications with members. Proposes policies and procedures for maintaining and promoting the digital image of the Association. Volunteers needed: 5-7.
The CSTA Policy Committee works on both policy for CSTA as an organization, in conjunction with CSTA staff, and on position statements that are developed to articulate CSTA’s position and represent the membership’s views on topical issues that will promote high quality science education for all students. Membership on this committee by non-board members is vital to fully represent the diverse voices of California science teachers in this work. Volunteers needed 6-10.
Publications and Materials Review Committee
Oversees the publication of the California Classroom Science newsletter by soliciting, writing, and editing articles from members on a monthly basis. Develops strategies for generating income for the Association through advertising in Association publications. Investigates possible strategies for providing members only content. Volunteers needed: 5-7.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…