January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

CSTA Represents CA Science Teachers as IQC Moves to Advance ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework to State Board of Education; Gets Preview of Focus Group Report

Posted: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

by Jessica Sawko

On Friday, March 28, 2014 the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) met to consider the draft of the ELA/ELD curriculum framework and to receive updates on various other matters including progress on the revision of the science curriculum framework. The IQC Science Subject Matter Committee received their update by Bryan Boyd, Education Programs Consultant in the Instructional Resources Unit of the California Department of Education. Boyd is a CSTA member and was a middle school science teacher in the classroom up until 2013. He provided a recap of the progress made to date on the revision of the Science Curriculum Framework, which included a brief report on the early themes that are emerging as the committee works to compile the information gathered during the focus groups that were held around the state in January and February 2014. These early themes include:

  • Explanation of the standards
  • Support for elementary
  • Modeling- what does this mean in the CA NGSS?
  • Middle Grades Progressions
  • High school progressions
  • Resources and support for implementation
  • Education and Environment Initiative (EEI)

The complete report will be submitted to the IQC for approval for submission to the State Board of Education at their May 15-16, 2014 meeting. At that meeting the IQC will also select members of the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC) for approval by the State Board. Applications for the CFCC are due April 18, 2014 (a two day extension was granted due to a technical problem last week).  The CFCC must be made up of a majority of in-classroom science educators. CSTA members are strongly urged to apply. Boyd reported that to date 58 applications had been received. However, a much larger pool of applicants is needed in order to insure a diverse and robust committee.

The bulk of the IQC’s March 28 meeting was spent on the English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Subject Matter Committee meeting. This committee was charged with reviewing the public comments that had been received during the first public comment period for the draft ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework, and incorporating that feedback into the revision of the draft Framework as appropriate. CSTA organized several group review meetings January 2014 and subsequently submitted comments on behalf of those group reviewers. The feedback provided by CSTA and the public in general was largely well received by the ELA/ELD Subject Matter Committee. CSTA was present to represent the voices of science teachers throughout that day as well as at the previous ELA/ELD Subject Matter Committee meeting on March 7, 2014). With the support of the newest IQC member Robert Foster, (a middle school science teacher), and Lori Freiermuth, (a math teacher and current chair of the IQC science subject matter committee), and other commissioners, CSTA was successful in making improvements in several areas of the draft document. Among these will be the creation of separate chapters for middle grades and high school grades, more inclusion of references to the role of hands-on science in the development of literacy, and improved and enhanced snapshots and vignettes that include references to both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

Chapter 1 of the draft ELA/ELD Curriculum Framework does a good job succinctly describing the role this document will play in California public schools:

This framework focuses on the teaching and learning of English literacy and language across the disciplines [emphasis added]. The CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy and the CA ELD Standards define what students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level or span (and, in the case of the CA ELD Standards, English language proficiency levels). The English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework for California Public Schools: Transitional Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (ELA/ELD Framework) provides direction for the implementation of the standards in the context of the most diverse state in the nation and the demands of the twenty-first century. It includes guidance for the design of instructional materials, curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional learning with the purpose of ensuring that the range of California’s learners benefit optimally and achieve their highest potentials.

The framework has two primary audiences: (1) educators, and (2) developers and publishers of curriculum programs and materials. Because proficiency in the language arts (reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language) is crucial for success in every discipline, the ELA/ELD Framework is relevant to all educators of transitional kindergarten through grade twelve and to publishers of programs and materials for every subject matter  [emphasis added]. Educators will use this framework along with the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy and CA ELD Standards as a road map for curriculum and instruction. (Source: December 2013 Draft ELA/ELD Framework, Retrieved March 31, 2014)

As at previous IQC meetings, CSTA was once again the only organization present to represent science educators. I thank the many volunteers who contributed to the review of the document, as well as the support of the CSTA membership at large. Your voices could not have been represented at these meetings without your continued support.

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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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.



MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. 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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. 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.