September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Kudos and Thank You! CSTA Members Serve in a Variety of Ways

Posted: Monday, February 3rd, 2014

by Laura Henriques

Applause_Pres_ArticleFor the last couple of months, CSTA has challenged members to become active participants in California’s science education landscape, and you are stepping up to do that. In the past couple of months CSTA members have volunteered their time and expertise in a variety of ways. I want to take this space in this month’s column to highlight some of those efforts and to provide my heartfelt thanks. Your contributions of time and service will have positive impacts throughout the state.

ELA/ELD Framework Review Committees

CSTA extends a big thanks to Jeanine Wulfenstein, Cristina Trecha, Lisa Hegdahl, Mary Whaley and Marian Murphy-Shaw. Each of them hosted a review session of CSTA members to provide feedback on the ELA/ELD Framework. I also give a huge thanks to dedicated CSTA members who read portions of the Framework and provided their time and input during these meetings. There were five meetings throughout the state. CSTA members were invited to participate in the meetings. Prior to coming to the meeting they read a few chapters of the 1,000+ page draft framework. Teams then spent 2-3 hours together talking about the document and providing specific feedback. This will be compiled and shared with the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC).

A huge shout-out to CSTA members who participated in the review process with us. They include:

  • Long Beach Team: Sarah Aguiñaga, Stephanie Bauer, Amy Frame, Jill Grace, Deborah Gray, Laura Henriques, and Kurt Holland
  • San Diego Team: Norma Acosta, Josephine Golchcer, Denise Maggard, Cristina Trecha, Emily Tsai, and Jeanine Wulfenstein
  • Monterey Team: Rick Carriero, Christian Ceci-MacGillis, Lauren Foote, Elva Garcia, Celia McCormack, Laura Mercer, Heather Murphy, Hope Oliver, Lynda Rogers, Claudio Vargas and Diana Velez
  • Sacramento/San Francisco area Team: Elizabeth Cooke, Lori Corona, Mary Elizabeth, Lisa Hegdahl, Karen Murray, Jessica Sawko, Yvonne White, and Barbara Woods

If you want to provide your own feedback on the ELA/ELD Framework you may do so between now and February 13, 2014. The draft Framework and survey are available on the CDE website.

CSTA Members Participate as Focus Group Members for Science Framework

We know that lots of CSTA members applied to serve on the Science Framework Focus Groups and 26 of you were selected. In addition, several CSTA members observed the Framework Focus Groups as part of the public. Board Member Heather Wygant served as a focus group member at the San Francisco area meeting. You can read about the process in Heather’s article. A full list of Focus Group members is online. Among those who served/will serve are CSTA Members:

Peter Ahearn, Palm Springs Unified School District
Marie Bacher, Alameda County Office of Education
Gwen Blankenship, Newport-Mesa Unified School District
James Michael Boykin, Merced Union High School District
Linda Braatz-Brown, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
Brennan Brockbank, Burlingame School District
Melanie Brown, Sweetwater Union High School District
Juanita Chan, Rialto Unified School District
Ayham Dahi, Los Angeles Unified School District
Hilary Dito, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Mary Elizabeth, Twin Rivers Unified School District
Rae Fearing, Del Norte County Unified School District
Michelle French, Tulare County Office of Education
Jill Grace, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
Crystal Howe, San Diego Unified School District
Michal Kreiselman, Los Angeles Unified School District
Jared Marr, Tulare County Office of Education
Dawn O’Connor, Alameda County Office of Education
Ron Pembleton, Kentfield School District
Philip Romig, Sacramento County Office of Education
Rachael Tarshes, San Diego Unified School District
Eric Thiessen, Tulare County Office of Education
David Tupper, Lakeside Union School District
Don Whisman, San Diego Unified School District
Heather Wygant, Morgan Hill Unified School District
Anne Ybarra, Fresno Unified School District

CSTA Members are Writing for CCS

California Classroom Science (CCS) is your publication. We invite you, members of CSTA, to submit articles for inclusion. This school year has already seen more than a dozen articles by CSTA members. Thanks to CSTA members Peter A’Hearn, Tamara Araya, Minda Berbeco, Bethany Dixon, Stephanie Fisher, Susan Gomez Zwiep & Jody Sherriff, Jim Kisiel, Christina Morales, Walter O’Brien, Cheryl Romig, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Martin Smith and Steven Worker, and Rebecca Smith for their contributions to CCS this academic year. We still have 6 issues left this year. If you would like to write for CCS please see refer to the author guidelines and due-dates. As you think about what you might contribute, consider the types of articles you like to see in CCS. Successful lesson ideas, integration of NGSS practices or crosscutting concepts, and classroom management strategies are always popular topics.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

Leave a Reply


California Science Assessment Update

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 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.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

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. 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.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

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

John Keller

John Keller

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…

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.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.