May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Kathy DiRanna Honored with Outstanding Leadership In Science Education Award

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Kathy DiRanna

Kathy DiRanna

The Outstanding Leadership in Science Education Award is a prestigious award that recognizes and honors a National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) member, who through their professional work, has demonstrated outstanding leadership in science education at the school, district, county, regional, and/or national level.

This award was presented at the NSELA breakfast, held during the annual NSTA National Conference in Chicago on March 12, 2015. The award is accompanied by a check for $1,000 and a plaque donated by Pearson. 

Kathy DiRanna is a lifetime member of CSTA and is well known in the science education community both here in California and nationwide. She has educated and inspired many science teachers throughout her career. CSTA is very pleased to share the news of this honor bestowed upon one of the great minds in science education in this state. The following was provided by NSELA announcing Kathy as the 2015 recipient of the Outstanding Leadership in Science Education Award.

Kathy DiRanna, Statewide Director, K-12 Alliance, WestEd, has demonstrated exemplary leadership in science education for nearly thirty years. Throughout her long-term work, Kathy continues to inspire others by both providing leadership and “growing” leaders. She is actively engaged with her team in planning and implementing a professional development model focused on content, pedagogy, and leadership. Since 1987, many of the leadership development strategies spearheaded by Kathy and her team have been implemented via the K-12 Alliance and are not only used in California but across the nation. One specific example is the WestEd National Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership where Kathy, as a founding member of the team, provided professional development for leaders from many states. Some of these participants have become leaders for NSELA, NSTA, CSSS and other organizations in tandem with leadership at their state, regional, or local level. Kathy has directed many grants in California and co-developed grants with partners at the national level. Kathy is directing a new project, California K-8 NGSS Early Implementation Initiative, which employs successful K-12 Alliance strategies.

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Kathy and her K-12 Alliance colleagues have worked with more than 6,000 schools, resulting in impacting thousands of teachers and millions of students for access to more effective science education. Evaluation results demonstrate that both student achievement on classroom assessments and state achievement tests in mathematics and science for grades 5 and 8 have increased, most notably in schools with high proportions of disadvantaged children.

A quote from Kathy’s nominator states “It is the day-to-day work that she pursues that continues to impress me. Whether it’s presenting at the 2014 NSELA PDI and annually at the California Science Education Conference and NSTA conferences, influencing policy by working with the California Department of Education and California County Science Supervisors, or pulling new-to-leadership teachers aside to provide mentoring and advice, Kathy is that leader we all strive to emulate.”

In 2011, Kathy was awarded the Susan Loucks-Horsley Award for Building Communities of Learners from Learning Forward.  She also received the California Science Teachers Association Margaret Nicholson for Distinguished Service to Science Education Award (in 1998).

Other notable accomplishments include co-authoring the Data Coaches Guide and the lead or a contributing author to other publications. She served as Program Chair for an NSTA National Conference and a Learning Forward Conference.

NSELA and Pearson are proud to honor Kathy’s incredible leadership and her passion for nurturing other science education leaders. Kathy is a great role model for education leaders on how to sustain projects after grant money is gone.

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.

8 Responses

  1. A WELL DESERVED award! Kathy’s tireless and thoughtful work supporting teachers and her leadership in the state advocating for high quality classroom instruction leave me humbled. I am a better teacher because of her influence.

  2. If there is anyone in the state who is more capable of herding cats, I have not met them. Kathy is a leadership genius, the states number one science education promoter, and one of the most generous people you will ever meet.

  3. Congrats to Kathy on this National recognition, California science classrooms have truly been changed for the better during the past 2+ decades of Kathy DiRanna’s thoughtful, purposeful and tireless leadership of the K-12 Alliance!

  4. Congratulations! You deserve all the awards that you received. I certainly would not be the educator that I am without you.

  5. Congratulations, Kathy! Your leadership style and care about all of the students and their future makes our future all the stronger. Thank YOU for all you accomplish every day helping teachers help their students. Well done!

  6. And i would say a WELL-EARNED recognition. Congratulations, Kathy!

  7. To those who have commented here and those who have sent direct emails:
    This award was a total surprise and I accepted it in honor of all of you for your willingness to be the best you can for the children of this state. Thank you for grabbing the dream and making it real. I am humbled to be your colleague and friend.

  8. Well deserved, Kathy. You were a great influence on my teaching. It’s great to see you are still on the forefront of science teaching and learning.

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LATEST POST

Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. 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 NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.