May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Greening by Example 2013 Green Schools Summit & Expo

Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

The seventh annual Green California Schools Summit and Exposition will take place at the Pasadena Convention Center on November 6-7. Developed under the leadership of an Advisory Board chaired by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Architect Chet Widom, the Summit is the state’s largest annual event focused on green programs in California Schools.

The keynote speaker for the Summit will be Tom Steyer. In 2012, Steyer served as chairman for Yes on Proposition 39, setting the stage for an unprecedented influx of funds for energy efficiency projects at public schools in California.

Through an Expo with over 100 companies offering green products and services, an educational program of workshops and concurrent sessions, and special events including a Leadership Awards reception, the Summit offers a unique annual opportunity for public and private sector stakeholders to get updated on developments in policy, practice technology.

Educational Opportunities
In schools across California, energy programs, as well as green building and retrofits are putting significant savings back into school districts’ general funds and providing healthy environments for students. Curriculum and student engagement programs are fostering a culture of sustainability among students, faculty and communities.

Concurrent education sessions at the Summit offer school officials, teachers, administrators an opportunity to be exposed to best practices in these areas, and to hear from regional and national leaders in school sustainability. The education program will also feature sessions on California’s landmark Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum. Information regarding guidelines and best practices for Prop 39 funding for energy efficiency projects will be included in several sessions.

In addition to the Summit’s Advisory board, partners at the U.S. Green Building Council, CalRecycle, Keep California Beautiful, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, the Green Schools Initiative, Grades of Green, the Alliance for Climate Education and others are helping to organize sessions.

On November 5, the day before the Summit begins, a daylong seminar, “Prop 39: Preparing for Success,” will provide information and resources to help districts capture the opportunities that Prop 39 will provide. Topics covered will include the proposal process, a review of the “best practices” that will be expected to be reflected in project proposals, sources of technical support for planning your projects, incentive programs and other financial resources to help districts leverage Prop 39 funds and expand their efficiency efforts.

Two Summits at Once
The Summit is being held concurrently with the Green California Community Colleges Summit, with a single Expo serving both events. “This [is a] unique chance for green leaders from community colleges and K-12 schools to talk to each other and share best practices,” said Carl Smith, editor-in-chief of Green Technology, the organization that produces the summits.

Leadership Awards
At a reception on November 6, the Summit’s Leadership Awards will recognize achievements in categories ranging from green building and energy efficiency to curriculum. The awards were established by the Summit’s Advisory Board to honor individuals and school districts on the leading edge of school sustainability.

Keynotes and exhibit hall are free. For information and to register, go to www.green-technology.org or call Cindy Dangberg at 626-577-5700.

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.