March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

Meet the Candidates for the 2015-2017 CSTA Board of Directors Election

Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

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The slate of candidates for the 2015 – 2017  CSTA Board of Directors election was approved by the CSTA Board of Directors at its March board meeting. The elections will open on April 15, 2015. CSTA members who have a membership valid as of April 1, 2015 are eligible to vote in the election. An email will be sent to those members with an email address on file to vote online. For those members who have opt-ed out of email or don’t have an address on file, they will be sent a ballot in the mail.

Please take a moment to learn more about the candidates for the positions of  President Elect, Primary Director, and Region One Director.

Please be sure to participate in the elections, every vote counts! Voting will open on April 15, 2015 and close on May 15, 2015.

Candidates for President-Elect

Jill Grace

Jill has a broad teaching background that provides a common experience between herself and CSTA’s members. She has been a middle school science teacher for ten years and prior to that she was an elementary science specialist. Outside of the classroom, she has spent a significant amount of her time working in teacher professional development. For the past two years, Jill has served as the Middle School/Jr. High School Director on the CSTA Board of Directors.

Science education empowers. It empowers curiosity as it provides ways to know and understand the world, the mind as it develops a strategy for generating knowledge, the individual as part of an informed citizenry who makes important life decisions, and the dreamer as the creator of new solutions in an ever changing world. As science educators, our role isn’t to just teach science content, but to provide opportunities that empower.

CSTA’s support of quality science education is critical in this new era of education reform. For many years, I have supported CSTA with my membership. Then in 2013 I decided to run for the board as I wanted to do more and to help shape conversations for the very things that directly impact our classrooms: standards, instructional strategies, curriculum, and assessment. As your president elect I will work tirelessly for CSTA to continue informing state leaders and legislation, advocate for high quality science education, expand active support for teachers and their professional growth, and for the empowerment of every student.

Heather Wygant

Heather has been teaching high school science for 17 years, primarily geology and environmental sciences. She has received numerous teacher of the year awards, including recently the Northern California Geologic Society and the Pacific Section AAPG teacher of the year awards. She has been active in CSTA since 2007, serving as the High School Director from 2008-2012, and the Treasurer from 2012-2014.

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, including the adoption and development of NGSS. I fully support this, and want to continue to be a part of this organization to help improve Science Education in California. I believe as one of the largest states in the United States, California should be at the top of the pack in education once again. We (California) need to be the leaders in Science Education, and CSTA helps Science Teachers to become leaders.

Candidate for Primary Director

Valerie Joyner

Valerie’s entire professional career has been dedicated to educating students from their early years in kindergarten through the graduate level with pre-service teachers. She has taught elementary students for 35 years, including over twenty years with grades K-2 and has always placed a special emphasis on science. Valerie is currently serving as the Primary Director on the CSTA Board of Directors.

My philosophy of science education encourages all students to think, access knowledge, and apply science in their everyday life. Today, science education must be based on the three dimensional learning provided through the Next Generation Science Standards. While science education begins at home and in informal settings like gardens, kitchens, museums, and parks. It is enriched and solidified as children enter school and go through the grades. When students personally experience scientific explorations, whether in kindergarten or AP chemistry, they deeply understand and confidently use science disciplinary core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts. With the increasing demands by our society to increase scientific literacy; all science educators must teach students to think and act scientifically, so they can develop the new technologies we will need and to understand its implications for the future.

My vision for CSTA is to promote science learning into every child’s daily curriculum and life experiences. Primary and elementary students in particular are missing crucial skills for success when we fail to capitalize on their natural curiosity and provide them with daily science instruction and experiences. To understand our ever expanding body of science knowledge, students need specific understanding of scientific disciplinary core ideas, practices, and crosscutting concepts. This understanding is best nurtured by experiencing science first hand. Only then can students eagerly apply critical thinking and science concepts to participate in the technological revolutions of the future. To assure scientific literacy and see our students successfully develop and evaluate future technologies, daily science experiences are a necessity. CSTA will continue to play an important role in the implementation of NGSS in the coming years. It will need strong primary grade leadership to insure that California’s young children receive the very best foundation in science education. This foundation must include science for every student, every day, every year!

Candidate for Region 1 Director

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian has 22 years as an educator and has experience teaching grades 5-11 in both urban and rural communities. In both instances, she stepped into site and district, then finally county curriculum leadership roles. She currently works in the Educational Services Department of the Siskiyou COE. Marian has served as CSTA Secretary for the past 4 years.

Science education and the need for science literacy – fluency in scientific thought and content – are why I am in my profession. I cannot think of anything I value about education more than providing every student with the ability to assemble evidence and answer a question using the knowledge of those who have gone before and the process of inquiry refined through experience. I see science education as a vital balance when superstition or lack of knowledge might influence personal health or societal well-being. While every teacher has a meaningful role in society and children’s lives, the role of science teacher stands out for its part in sustaining curiosity and providing the voice and logic in a wonderfully complex world. These critical elements of education no longer have to remain in the back seat in California’s schools. With the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) transitioning into place, science needs all the support it can get from educators, policy makers, and organizations like CSTA to move to its proper place in every classroom.

Prior to being on the board, and now after working with the board, I have seen CSTA and the invididuals who comprise it take leadership roles for science education, and live by the mission and goals. I have supported the organization’s efforts to refine itself to be as current and effective as it can be – reducing resource consumption by moving to electronic publications and practices, developing a shared leadership model, and re-envisioning the design of the annual conference for example. I am impressed and encouraged by the difficult but intentional reorganizational decisions CSTA has made to ensure its financial and philosophical survival during a difficult phase in California’s economic history. Each of these reflects the deepest commitment, which I share, to provide and promote science education in California.

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.

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CSTA Endorses March for Science

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.

The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.

There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.

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.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education 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.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: 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.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. 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.