September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Make 2016 a Year of Service – Join the CSTA Board of Directors

Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

As we look forward to 2016 I hope you’ll consider sharing your talents, time, and expertise with your colleagues. There are so many ways you can do that through your involvement with CSTA.

Post great ideas to the various CSTA Facebook Groups – anytime

CSTA has Facebook Groups for elementary, middle school high school and university faculty plus a group for Coaches/District Leaders. Some groups are more active than others, but all of them are venues for sharing exciting teaching ideas, seek input from colleagues, and ask questions about implementing NGSS. We are happy to have you lurk but consider sharing.

Write articles for California Classroom Science – articles due the 1st of the month for the following issue

As a CSTA regular, you know that CCS comes out each month. We try to have a wide range of articles. We update you on policy and NGSS related issues, we share lesson and unit ideas, updates and information from the NGSS Early Implementing Districts, technology tidbits, fieldtrip ideas and more. You have some great things you do in your classroom or informal site. Write for us and share them with the field. Find details about upcoming issues, submission guidelines and deadlines. Submissions are due on the first of the month preceding publication. While the Publishing Committee has selected themes for the year, you are not obligated to write to those themes.

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Submit a proposal to present at the 2016 CSTA Conference – proposals due on March 4

The next California Science Education Conference will be October 21-23, 2016 in Palm Springs. The call for proposals is here. We are looking for 90 minute presentations that will help us all be better prepared to implement NGSS! Check out the call for proposals and see where you can contribute. Lead presenters receive reduced registration rates.

Consider joining one of CSTA’s committee for 2016-2017 – call for nominations in the spring

CSTA is run by and for its members. This means we are a volunteer based organization. Won’t you volunteer to serve on one of our committees? Our work is done virtually (although we do try to meet in person during the conference). Stay tuned to CCS. President Lisa Hegdahl will put out a call for CSTA members to serve on committees later this spring. Click here to see what committees we have and learn about their work. You can always e-mail the committee chairs to find out more details.

Run to serve on the Board of Directors – nominations and resume due February 1

The CSTA Board of Directors are elected by the membership. The Board oversees the work of the organization. Board members participate in quarterly Board meetings (at least two are conducted virtually), serve on committees and are the stewards of the organization. As such they help develop policies and procedures, direct the work of our Executive Director, work to ensure we meet the mission and goals of our organization. An organization’s health is improved by more people’s involvement and new ideas being shared. Please consider applying to be on the Board. Positions are for two years (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018) with the possibility of being re-elected to the position once.

We are seeking nominations for the following positions for a spring election.

*Region 2: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano counties.
**Region 4: Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego counties.

Nomination forms and resume are due by 5:00 on February 1st. Upon receipt of your nomination form you will be asked for some additional information plus two letters of endorsement from current CSTA members. You may nominate a colleague or you can self-nominate. Please think about all you have to offer (and all you have to gain) by serving on the Board.

Take the next step….

Many of you have already served on committee, written for CCS or presented at our conferences. Think about taking the next step and getting more involved. I can honestly say that what you get back from serving others is greater than the effort you put forth. Ask me or any other members of the Board of Directors how you can become more involved.

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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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. 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.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.