July/August 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 8

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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CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Posted: Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.


Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

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 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.