September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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

VolunteerIt 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.

Committees of the California Science Teachers Association

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.

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Marketing/Communications/Membership/Preservice Committee
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.

NGSS Committee
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.

Policy Committee

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.

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th-grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is Past-President of CSTA.

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LATEST POST

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.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

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.