September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Happenings Around Region 1

Posted: Friday, December 11th, 2015

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Representing CSTA Region 1 counties – from Tuolumne to Del Norte – is pretty awesome. These counties represent the large northern rural stretches and small towns of nearly half the land area of our state. Not surprisingly, many teachers from Region 1 were in attendance at the NSTA Regional Conference in Reno, NV. As the Region 1 Director it only made sense for me to head over to Reno and be present at the CSTA table and I was delighted to see so many familiar faces, from so many counties!

My presence there was not just for the north easterners, it was for all of CSTA. I was there as a CSTA Board Member in a shared booth with our sister organization the Nevada State Science Teachers Association (NSSTA) as their guest. A big thank you to all of the NSSTA board members and booth volunteers who made me feel so welcome, and congratulations on a great conference! I look forward to seeing many of them presenting at CSTA in Palm Springs a year from now, as well as sharing our booth to greet Nevada teachers who will be attending!

CSTA and NSSTA, as state membership organizations, offer what NSTA cannot – contextualized resources and local information about the state in which they represent science teachers. While NSTA is more our partner than ever – offering ongoing joint state and national membership to CA and NV science educators – many teachers still consider membership in just NSTA sufficient. While the national resources, great journals and online forums are truly valuable, without the NGSS Implementation Timeline unique to CA, and state updates about NV and CA initiatives to support teachers in STEM, NGSS and so much more, those national resources can get to the classroom and be less than 100% effective. In addition to that your state associations are the voices advocating for state policies that are good for science education and science educators.

As I mentioned to so many of your colleagues from CA while at the booth – if you are not getting this newsletter sent to you by CSTA then you may only be a member of NSTA – next time you are due to renew, or sooner if you are wanting to be connected to CA conversations about what teaching NGSS is all about – join CSTA as well as NSTA and make use of this joint membership offer that your state association went to bat over for you.

Many teachers told me their districts would only fund attending one conference this year – naturally we at CSTA understand that reality – BUT you can get your district to support JOINT membership to save costs on which ever conference you attend and also be connected to national AND local state science resources and events. Start that conversation now so when renewal time comes around the benefits are so clear you will be supported for finding such a good deal!

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education, is CSTA’s Region 1 director, and is chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

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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.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.