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.
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…