May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Goodbye, and Thank You – Hello, and Welcome

Posted: Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

On June 30th, the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) said, “Goodbye, and Thank You” to five of its dedicated Board members.  On July 1st, we said, “Hello, and Welcome” to the five newly elected.  It is my pleasure to tell you about these outstanding professionals.

Outgoing Board Members

Minda Berbeco, outgoing Region 2 Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

Minda Berbeco, outgoing Region 2 Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

In her role as Region 2 Director, Minda Berbeco raised the bar in terms of outreach. Minda also co-chaired, and will continue to co-chair, the Publications Committee. As president, I have some leeway in my due dates for my monthly President’s Message for the CSTA on-line Journal, California Classroom Science. Minda is very patient with me when my messages do not come in right on time. Recently, Minda, and her employer the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), graciously opened their office on a Saturday to host the CSTA Board of Directors meeting.   

Minda was CSTA Region 2 Director and served faithfully on the:

  • Publications Committee (Co-Chair – a job she will continue)  
  • Membership/Marketing/Preservice Committee

Susan Gomez-Zwiep, outgoing 4-Year College Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

Susan Gomez-Zwiep, outgoing 4-Year College Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

Susan Gomez Zwiep and I initially met back in January of 2014 at one of the first planning meetings for the CA NGSS Rollouts. That summer, she was an instructor for my CA NGSS Early Implementation cadre and she blew me away with her patience and professionalism. It was while serving with her on the California Framework Criteria Committee last year that I experienced her extensive, in-depth knowledge of educational practices.

Susan has served with distinction as Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Her committee work includes:

  • Membership/Marketing/Preservice Committee
  • NGSS Committee
Joanne Michael, outgoing Upper Elementary Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

Joanne Michael, outgoing Upper Elementary Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

One of my fondest memories of Joanne Michael is hosting Comedy Night at the California Science Education Conference in Sacramento, October 2015. It was a long night (after a very long day) of selling tickets, passing out beads, and pointing people in the right direction. We eventually ended up at the photo booth posing in wacky ways. Those photos are on my classroom whiteboard so I can see them every day.

Joanne will complete her role as Upper Elementary Director for CSTA.

She has also provided input on a variety of committees:

  • e-Communications Committee
  • NGSS Committee
  • 2015 Conference  Committee
  • Publications Committee
  • 2016 Conference Committee – where she is helping to spearhead the Upper Elementary Pathways
Jeff Orlinsky, outgoing High School Director is recognized for his service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

Jeff Orlinsky, outgoing High School Director is recognized for his service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

Jeff Orlinsky has a tremendous amount of knowledge about how organizations work and how teachers can influence those mechanisms. In his role as chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee (LOC), he has been instrumental in guiding the CSTA Board’s understanding of legislative issues.  Jeff will continue on as a LOC committee member in 2016/17. Jeff has a wonderful, dry sense of humor that can soften tense moments. I’ll miss his many “Jeffisms.”

Jeff has served as High School DIrector for CSTA and on the:

  • NGSS Committee  
  • Legislative Oversight Committee (Chair)
  • Bylaws Committee  (Chair)
  • e-Communications Committee
Jeanine Wulfenstein, outgoing Treasurer Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

Jeanine Wulfenstein, outgoing Treasurer Director is recognized for her service by CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl.

I first met Jeanine Wulfenstein four years ago when she and I were scheduled to staff the CSTA booth during the annual California Science Education Conference. We hit it off right away. Last year, we served together on the California Framework Criteria Committee. Her good humor got me through many long hours. While it is sad to see Jeanine leave the Board,  she will continue to serve CSTA as a member of the Membership/Marketing/Preservice  Committee.

In Jeanine’s tenure on the Board, she served elected terms as Region 4 Director and Treasurer.

She also served on a wide range of committees:

  • 2013 Conference Committee
  • Publications Committee
  • Nominating Committee
  • Legislative Oversight Committee
  • Executive Committee
  • NGSS Committee
  • 2016 Conference Committee
  • Finance Committee (Chair)
  • Financial Review Committee (Chair)

Meet Your NEW Board Members!

Jennie Guzman, 2016-2018 4-Year College Director

Jennie Guzman, 2016-2018 4-Year College Director

Jennie Guzman, CSTA 4-Year College Director, is a Professor of Physics at California State University, East Bay in Hayward. She has participated in many science education initiatives, including Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) Program, STEM West Institute, The Integrated Middle School Science (IMSS) Partnership, and Science Partnership for Instructional Innovation (SPFII). Jennie believes in inspiring curiosity and excitement for learning at all levels by transforming the science classroom and providing opportunities for the community to learn about science in their everyday life. She is excited about being more involved in CSTA as the organization serves a pivotal role in this process. In addition she sees CSTA as an advocate for science educators at the state level, ensuring that the interests of science educators are well known to policy-makers and state-level legislators.

 

Toby Spencer, 2016-18 High School Director

Toby Spencer, 2016-18 High School Director

Toby Spencer, CSTA High School Director, has taught secondary science for 17 years in most curricular areas, including biology, medical science, physiology, Earth science, chemistry, physical science, and math. He currently chairs the NEA Science Caucus, which he founded and organized nationally over the past 7 years. Toby also serves as Vice Chair of the CTA Career Technical Education Committee, where they create policy to direct their legislative lobbyists.  Currently, he is a semi-finalist for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship. Toby believes that a Science educator’s primary mission is to cultivate students’ innate wonder, which builds scientific skills and knowledge through iterations of discovery and failure. Teaching of students must shift to include a full range of science practices through authentic lab experiences. Toby is honored to help CSTA lead the shift to student-centered science and 21st century skills of NGSS.

Mena Parmar, 2016-18 Upper Elementary Director

Mena Parmar, 2016-18 Upper Elementary Director

Mena Parmar, CSTA Upper Elementary Director, is an experienced Elementary Classroom Teacher and Elementary Science Specialist in Fremont. Her work with the Exploratorium in San Francisco, as a Master Teacher with Bay Sci Champions, has given her the opportunity to collaborate with master teachers from all around the San Francisco Bay Area. Mena’s experience as an Instructional Case Field Tester and an NGSS Instructional Innovator has given her insight into the shifts required in Elementary Science. Mena asserts that Science education must prepare all students to be 21st century citizens who are scientifically literate, can make informed decisions, discuss science and engineering issues and are careful consumers of scientific and technological information related to their everyday lives. In order for all students to have the skills required to enter careers of their choice, science concepts must be organized systematically from PK through College in a way that keeps students natural wonder alive. She would like to help CSTA reach out to all elementary multiple subject classroom teachers to lead them in the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

Marie Bacher, Region 2 Director

Marie Bacher, Region 2 Director

Marie Bacher, CSTA Region 2 Director, has been an educator for 25 years. She has taught almost every grade level from preschool through 8th grade. For the past 16 years, she has been a Science Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA) for the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD). In addition, she served as an administrator for the Santa Clara County of Education as a co-director of environmental education at Walden West Camp. Currently in SCUSD, Marie plans, leads and facilitates the implementation of NGSS K-12 and coordinates the district science fair. Marie states that Science education and the role of science education in society is to create a scientifically literate community that can make decisions based on the evidence that is known currently. As a member of the CSTA Board of Directors, Marie hopes to help the Association continue to provide resources for science teachers, administrators and pre-service teachers and inspire and educate all teachers about the cutting edge and best practices that science teaching has to offer.

Gini Vandergon, 2016-18 Treasurer

Gini Vandergon, 2016-18 Treasurer

Virginia (Gini) Vandergon, CSTA Treasurer, began her teaching career as a high school biology teacher in 1984. She earned her doctoral degree in Genetics at University of California, Riverside (UCR). She is currently a Full Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). At CSUN, she was hired into a dual position in which she was expected to teach and do research in genetics and serve as the K-12 science education liaison. Virginia feels she is qualified for the Treasurer position as she handles most of the grant finances and has controlled finances for many clubs and scout programs. She has a minor in mathematics and a background in teaching secondary school math. Virginia explains that with the adoption of NGSS, we are entering a new era where science can be taught the way it is performed. She believes that the primary challenge for CSTA will be to integrate NGSS into K-16 curriculum. As a member of the writing team of the NGSS frameworks for the state, she is deeply involved in this work. It is an exciting time to be part of CSTA which is involved in framework, curriculum, and assessment development, especially as the nation looks to California as a leader in NGSS education.

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 zi@cascience.org.)

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: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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.