My Last Words . . . Thank You!
Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2015
by Laura Henriques
This is my last column as your CSTA President. I thank you for the trust you placed in me to serve as President. It has been my privilege to serve the organization. I am most appreciative of the members who have taken steps to get more involved in promoting high quality science education in California.
Just two years ago, when I was taking over as President I challenged you to become more engaged and involved. This has been a rallying call of mine since I joined the Board of Directors. There are big changes happening to science education in California and we need lots of people involved if we hope to realize the promise of those changes. The CSTA Board of Directors does a great deal but they cannot do everything. As an organization, however, we can make a huge difference! In August 2013, in one of my first columns as President, I urged you to consider baby steps towards leadership. I revisited that theme again by encouraging you to see what you could do for CSTA and how to “lean in” and lead by example. Many of you accepted the challenge – thanks! Those of you who know me (or who have read my columns) know this is an important theme for me. A full twenty percent of my CCS columns were devoted to the topic, I talk about it in leadership forums, and I have been known to twist a few arms to get colleagues engaged.
Now as my term comes to an end, I want to thank you, our members for your extraordinary efforts, and give one last call for you to join our work.
CSTA Committee Members
There are several CSTA committees which oversee the work of the organization. Board members are required to serve on at least one committee. Our efforts are greatly enhanced by the CSTA members who work alongside us. The members below were appointed by the Board of Directors to serve on different committees for the 2014-2015 year. They helped with editing articles, providing input on membership matters, giving input to legislative oversight concerns, and reading/reviewing/editing and giving input to the multiple drafts of the Science Curriculum Framework. On behalf of all our membership, thank you for your contributions!
Katherine (Katie) Schenkelberg
Gini (Virginia) Oberholzer Vandergon
California Science Curriculum Framework Criteria and Evaluation Commission (CFCC)
After six months, 12 days in Sacramento, and more than 3,000 pages of reading, the CFCC had its final meeting on May 20-21. CSTA is appreciative of the time, thoughtfulness, and dedication. The 20 member committee was ably guided by CDE’s Tom Adams, Kristen Cruz Allen and Bryan Boyd. Maria Simani and Kirk Brown oversaw the writing process with authors coming from California Science Project staff and other stakeholders. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide public input during the two 60-day review periods.
Maria Blue, Saugus Union School District
Juanita Chan, Rialto Unified School District
Tina Cheuk, Stanford University
Caleb Cheung, Oakland Unified School District
Teresa De Diego, Forbis Los Angeles Unified School District
Anna Gaiter, Plainview Academic Charter Academy
John Galisky, Lompoc Unified School District
Susan Gomez Zwiep, CSU Long Beach
Nicole Hawke, Coachella Valley Unified School District
Lisa Hegdahl, Galt Elementary School District
Tatiana Lim-Breitbart, Aspire Public Schools
Shawna Metcalf, Glendale Unified School District
Laura O’Dell, El Rancho Unified School District
Stefanie Pechan, Pacific Grove Unified School District
Anthony Quan, Los Angeles County Office of Education
Helen Quinn, Retired, Stanford University
Robert Sherriff, San Juan Unified School District
Jo Topps, WestEd/K-12 Alliance
David Tupper, Lakeside Union School District
Jeanine Wulfenstein, Temecula Valley Unified School District
NGSS Statewide Rollout Symposium II
CSTA partnered with California Science Project, WestEd/K-12 Alliance, County Offices of Education, California Department of Education and ACSA to write and present two days’ worth of professional learning around NGSS. This year’s writing and presenting teams include the following CSTA members:
Marian Murphy Shaw
California Classroom Science (CCS) is our monthly newsletter. This past year we had record numbers of articles submitted by our members. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us. Your contributions make CCS better!
Won’t you consider submitting an article? You’ve got some time this summer – think about writing something to share with your colleagues. We accept article submissions throughout the year but I urge you to write something this summer while you have some time. Look at author guidelines and upcoming themes.
As I pass the gavel to our new President, Lisa Hegdahl, I invite you to stay involved and engaged. When Lisa puts out the call for volunteers, or asks you to participate in the work of CSTA, please give her the same courtesy you’ve given me. Jump in and join us. Not only does the organization benefit, but you grow as well.
I have enjoyed working with our outstanding Board of Directors, the fantastic staff of Jessica Sawko, Connie Morrill and Gretel MacLeod and you – our members. It has been a privilege and honor to serve you.
One final note of appreciation goes to my husband, Al Colburn – the First Man of CSTA these past two years. His patience, tolerance, and support for all things CSTA has been a gift to me and to CSTA.
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 http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
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. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
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
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…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
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…
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…