January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Meet the Candidates!

Posted: Sunday, April 1st, 2012

The Nominations Committee of the California Science Teachers Association presents the following individuals for election to the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2012-2014 term.

The election is being conducted electronically and will open April 16, 2012. CSTA members eligible to vote will be sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who requested a paper ballot were mailed a ballot and candidate statements.

The 2012-2014 elections will include voting for the following positions: treasurer, high school director, 4-year college director, region 2 director, and region 4 director. The 2013-2015 elections will begin accepting nominations in September 2012 for the following positions: president-elect, secretary, primary director, middle school director, 2-year college director, informal science education director, region 1 director, and region 3 director.

Here are your candidates for the 2012-2014 CSTA Board of Directors:


Heather Wygant

Heather has been teaching high school science for 14 years, primarily geology and environmental sciences. She has received numerous Teacher of the Year awards, including, most recently, the Northern California Geologic Society and the Pacific Section AAPG teach of the year awards. Heather has been active in CSTA since 2007 serving as the High School Director from 2008-2012. She is eager to continue on the Board in a new position as Treasurer.

I believe science education to be one of the most important in education, as it teaches critical thinking, analysis and improves the overall literacy of our youth. It also utilizes all of the other skills learned from Mathematics, English and History, incorporating them together to make a well-rounded member of society. Without these skills, we are not well equipped to excel in the 21st century. Science education should be discovery, hands-on, inquiry based, and using technology as often as possible to lead students to discover the world around them.

CSTA as an organization is extremely important to the science teachers in California. CSTA follows legislation in California that directly affects our students, the way we teach science and even how much science is mandated and in what grades. CSTA works to improve Science Education in California by working with legislators and the State School Board to improve Science Education. I fully support this, and want to continue to be a part of this organization to help improve Science Education in California.

High School Director

Beverly Berekian

Beverly has been teaching science for over 6 years and has been teaching earth science at Magnolia High School for the past three years. She is a member of CSTA, NSTA, SEPM, Geologic Society of America, Phi Delta Kappa and Women in Mining. In 2011 she was recognized as a CalTeach Distinguished Teacher and in 2012 was nominated at Magnolia High School for teacher of the year. Beverly has attended several California Science Education Conferences and was a presenter at the 2011 conference.

All citizens of society need to have a working knowledge of science in order to make educated decisions about things such as what products to buy, what foods to eat and even which candidate to vote for. It is the role of every science teacher to educate students on the value of this knowledge and teach them that they use science everyday. We live in a world of STEM careers and professions; we owe it to our students to prepare them for this whether they choose to go to college or choose a career path.

CSTA is the perfect vehicle for science teachers and pre-service science teachers to come together, share experiences and effective teaching strategies for the benefit of all students everywhere. The mission and goals of CSTA promotes educating students for the 21st century and giving all students an opportunity to succeed in an ever-changing world. I would like for teachers to feel as though they can have a voice in the course science education takes through their membership with CSTA

Jeff Orlinsky

Jeff has been teaching high school biology for the past 25 years. He currently teaches honors biology, AP biology, and earth science at Warren High School in Irvine, CA. As the committee chair for the Assessment and Testing Committee in the California Teacher’s Association, he observed the development of the state standards and monitored state laws in the legislature. Jeff has been a California Science Education Conference presenter every year since 1992.

It is my goal to make science fun, entertaining and attainable for my students. Science is more than the vocabulary found in textbooks or tests. It is how we progress in society. Every day we learn a little more about our world and how it fits in the universe. Along the way, I hope to inspire some students to enter the field of science.

I believe my view of science and science education aligns very nicely with CSTA’s vision and goals. Scientific literacy is very important to me as I know it is to CSTA. I feel CSTA should be a critical player in the approval and development of science curriculum in the state of California, especially Kindergarten through eighth grade. Presently, in the elementary grades any science that is covered does not promote science inquiry and this has to change. I would like to make CSTA stronger by getting more science teachers involved. We must get our message to the science teachers in California before we do anything else.

4-Year College Director

Frederick Freking

Frederick has been a science teacher educator for the past ten years and currently holds the title of Associate Professor of Clinical Education at USC Rossier School of Education in Los Angeles. He designed and implemented curriculum for EDU 566E, 566S, 539 and 568. He is also the USC PACT Director. Frederick is a member of CSTA, NSTA, ASTE, and NARST, as well as several other science organizations.

I believe that understanding science is a critical component of a well-rounded education for all children. I believe that working with science teachers to improve science understanding empowers children and makes the world a better place for everyone. Learning through inquiry should be at the heart of any science curriculum. Inquiry based teaching and learning provides children with the experience to question the world around them, design experiments to test their ideas, collect and analyze data to support their conclusions, and present what they have learned to peers, families, teachers, and communities. A strong education program will help children to fully participate and contribute to our society.

I agree whole-heartedly with the CSTA vision statement. Given the importance of science in our society and the role of the science teacher in the understanding of science, the CSTA has a critical role to play in shaping California’s science classrooms. I believe my experience in both private and public universities will help the CSTA increase its’ membership so that this important voice can be heard by more California science teachers.

Gregory Potter

Gregory has been teaching at the university level for 12 years where his focus is on preparing multiple subject preservice teachers how to teach science. He is a Lifetime member of CSTA and is a member in good standing with NSTA and CMC. Gregory is strongly involved in the K-12 Alliance and has been involved in numerous science education projects in Northern California. He is a past Region 1 Director on the CSTA Board and has presented at many CSTA conferences.

Science education is often neglected in the curriculum of elementary schools, particularly during the primary grades. To achieve meaningful approaches to learning, teachers, as primary gatekeepers of early childhood education must be willing to include science in an already full curriculum that focuses intensely on literacy and mathematics. Science education should not be limited to simply increasing students’ knowledge of content, for there is a much broader and more important goal for K-12 science: the development of students as critical thinkers!

I see CSTA representation of science educators statewide as a vital role for the health of the state and education in general. Without CSTA, I am not sure who would advocate for meaningful science education reform. Another vital role CSTA provides is sponsorship of the California Science Education Conference. As we struggle during these tough economic times, it is important that we continue to support organization like CSTA while they fight the good fight. It is times like these that we need a CSTA more than ever!

Region 2 Director

Eric Lewis

Eric has been teaching in the Bay area since 1998 and for the past 5 years has been supporting high school science in the San Francisco Unified School District. Eric has received many grants and awards for his teaching, including the HP Technology for Teaching Grant, a What Kids Can Do Grant, and a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholarship. Eric is a Lifetime member of CSTA and has served as Region 2 Director on the CSTA board for the past two years, representing CSTA at many conferences and resource fairs.

Science provides opportunities for students to develop critical thinking skills and the flexibility to think about information in different ways. As critical thinkers, students can become citizens that question the veracity of scientific claims—looking for evidence from multiple sources. Through scientific thinking, members of society can separate science from pseudoscience and can make decisions that are informed by scientific facts and not hearsay or popular beliefs.

CSTA is the leading organization for science education in California. I believe that CSTA must continue to advocate for the advancement of science in our legislature by tracking bills associated with science education and sponsoring new legislation should the need arise. I believe that the organization’s efforts so far are the reason that our state is in such a great place as the Next Generation Science Standards emerge and become part of the lives of science teachers across our state. I envision a future where CSTA can be even a larger resource for science teachers, utilizing new technologies to bring mentoring, professional development and resources to teachers across the state.

Region 4 Director

Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine has been teaching science for 12 years. She currently teaches at Gardner Middle School in the Temecula Valley USD. She has served as a staff developer for the K-12 Alliance under the continuation of a California Math and Science Partnership grant. Jeanine has also served as a member of the district science curriculum adoption committee, a site GATE coordinator, a science department chair, a science club advisor, and an elementary science coach.

Quality science education is vital to our state’s success. In today’s world, students must be problem solvers in the workplace, champions for their own health, and advocates for the integrity of our planet. In the science classroom, an educator’s charge is to inspire students to wonder, question, research, and push the boundary to learn more about themselves and the world around them. As a community of science educators, our responsibility is to ensure quality instructional practices to support inquiry, problem solving, and communication skills vital to student success.

As a CSTA member, I am committed to scientific literacy for all students. Despite funding and political obstacles, CSTA must continue to be a collective voice for California science teachers. In these tumultuous times, it is imperative that we creatively continue to empower, inspire, and advocate for science education as a collective community. CSTA must continue to be a catalyst for educational innovation, sharing of best practices, problem solving, decision-making, and lobbying for legislation to support our shared vision.


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.

Leave a Reply


Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.



MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.