November/December 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 2

Last Call…. Please Consider Running for the Board of Directors!

Posted: Thursday, January 12th, 2017

by Laura Henriques

It’s that time of year again when we ask our members to consider nominating themselves (or a peer) to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors. It’s an important task and not to be taken lightly, but it is rewarding, interesting, and if you are a member in good standing, it’s something you are eligible to do.

CSTA Board of Directors take feedback from our members and help move the organization forward. Board members serve for two years (with the opportunity to run for a second two-year term). If elected you would attend quarterly board meetings (virtual meetings and in-person meetings), serve on CSTA committees and provide input to the organization. You get to work with other committed science educators to promote high quality science education in California. As a board member you will be informed of legislative issues, learn about opportunities to serve, and be on the forefront of policies associated with science education.

Nominations are being accepted for the following positions:

  • President-Elect (6-year commitment)
  • Secretary
  • Primary (K-2) Director
  • Middle School/Jr. High Director
  • 2-Year College Director
  • Informal Science Education Director
  • Region 1 Director (Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolomne, Yolo, Yuba counties)
  • Region 3 Director (Fresno, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Ventura counties)

I served as the four-year college director and several years later ran for the President-Elect position. All told I will have served 10 years on the Board. I met lots of interesting people in the state, became involved in leadership positions within CSTA and the state, and became more knowledgeable about NGSS and state education policies. I’ve really enjoyed the people with whom I’ve gotten to work and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve. I know that others who have served on the Board felt that they were able to make valuable contributions and gained personally and professionally from their service.

Remember, CSTA is our organization. We are only as strong and as successful as we are because of the work of our members, committee members, and Board of Directors. Please consider running.

Nominations are due FEBRUARY 2nd. Visit the CSTA website for information and to complete the nomination packet. Feel free to contact me directly if you want to know more about the positions or your responsibilities as a board member.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a past-president of CSTA.

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Priority Features of NGSS-Aligned Instructional Materials

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Recommendations for Publishers, Reviewers, and Educators. The California Science Teachers Association and the science teachers associations of three other Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) west-coast states, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have co-authored a white paper on priority features of NGSS instructional materials. This is the first time our states have collaborated to convey a common vision on an issue of great importance for the implementation of the NGSS. We understand all too well that for meaningful shifts to happen and to support the full vision of the NGSS, strong K-12 Instructional materials are required. 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.

State Board Moves Forward Two Key Pieces Supporting CA NGSS Implementation

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

CSTA President Jill Grace provides public comment at the November 8, 2017, California State Board of Education meeting.

On November 8, 2017, the California State Board of Education (SBE) took action on two items of import relating to the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). One item was relating to the California Science Test (CAST) and the other to instructional materials. CSTA provided both written and oral comments on both items along with providing input on what CSTA and many other advocates view as a critical component of our state’s emerging accountability system – student access to a broad course of study. 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 – Early Attempts and Later Reflections from an Early Implementer Teacher

Posted: Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

by Christa Dunkel

  • There are so many acronyms! Where do I start?
  • What “baby step” should I take first? 
  • How can I make this happen in my elementary classroom?

All of these thoughts and more swam through my head over three years ago when I began my journey into NGSS. I was fresh from a week-long institute with the K-12 Alliance as part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. Much of the week was spent on digging into the NGSS architecture – how the standards are set-up, how to read the standards, what each of the three dimensions meant. Now that I knew how to read them, I needed to figure out how to implement them into my classroom of 24 eight-year-olds. With some guidance from the K-12 Alliance leaders and my own district-level NGSS team, I began the process with some easy “baby steps.” 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.

CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

Expanding Your Definition of Informal Science Education

Posted: Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

by Lori Walsh

When deciding on a field trip, zoos, aquariums and science centers typically come to mind. These facilities offer students hands-on opportunities to make science observations using inquiry. Teachers can schedule standards aligned workshops or self-guided visits. If your students have already visited these facilities, you can broaden your options by exploring the larger world of Informal Science Education. Nature centers, non-profits, and environmental groups often also offer NGSS aligned programs in the natural setting. Your students can discover the local environment while making memorable experiences. Learn More…

Written by Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh is the Education/Operations Supervisor at SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort and Informal Science Director for CSTA.