May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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!

Beverly Berekian
Carol Cao
Ashley Carter
Jim Clark
Elizabeth Cooke
Bethany Dixon
Mary Elizabeth
Shay Fairchild
Dean Gilbert
LaDonna Guzman
Kurt Holland
Mary Koga
Lisa Marroquin
Hope Oliver
Rodney Olson
Katrina Rotter
Katherine (Katie) Schenkelberg
Gini (Virginia) Oberholzer Vandergon
Heather Wygant

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.

Members of the CFCC, CDE Staff, Framework Writers, and State Board of Education members on the last day of the CFCC meetings on May 22, 2015. The group members are wearing t-shirts that were made by one of the members to commemorate their experience.  Photo by Laura Henriques.

Members of the CFCC, CDE Staff, Framework Writers, and State Board of Education members on the last day of the CFCC meetings on May 22, 2015.
The group members are wearing t-shirts that were made by one of the members to commemorate their experience.
Photo by Laura Henriques.

CFCC Members:
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

Clockwise from bottom left: CSTA Board Members Susan Zwiep, Jeanine Wulfenstein, Lisa Hegdahl, and Laura Henriques outside the California Department of Education in Sacramento, CA.

Clockwise from bottom left: CSTA Board Members Susan Zwiep, Jeanine Wulfenstein, Lisa Hegdahl, and Laura Henriques outside the California Department of Education in Sacramento, CA.

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:

Sarah Aguiñaga
Gretchen Bazela
Katie Beck
Beverly Berekian
Linda Braatz-Brown
Chris Breazeale
Kirk Brown
David Budai
Joseph Calmer
Sue Campbell
Karen Cerwin
Juanita Chan
Kathy DiRanna
Clay Elliott
Shay Fairchild
Michelle French
Roberto Garcia
Dean Gilbert
Lissa Gilmore
Jill Grace
Lisa Hedgahl
Doug Henderson
Laura Henriques
Kurt Holland
Phil Hudec
Nathan Inouye
Jennifer Janzen
Mary Koga
Phil LaFontaine
Melissa Marcucci
Shawna Metcalf
Melody McGill
Marian Murphy Shaw
Dawn O’Connor
Jeff Orlinsky
Myra Pasquier
Anthony Quan
Phil Romig
Terry Shanahan
Jody Sherriff
Robert Sherriff
Henry Shimojyo
Yami Shimojyo
Maria Simani
John Spiegel
Bret States
Holly Steele
Sean Timmons
Jo Topps
Joanna Totino
Colleen Whitlock
Sandra Yellenberg

eccs_headerCalifornia 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.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

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

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for your service to CSTA and contributions to California’s science literacy. You will still be making contributions as past-president in helping the transition in leadership and providing an experienced voice to the board.

    I retired from teaching in 2007 just a couple of years after completing my commitments for CSTA and although I am having a wonderful retirement, I do miss the CSTA involvement. I do take comfort in knowing that my involvement in CSTA’s re-restructuring in the ’90’s insured that there would be a continued succession to leadership. Like other presidents in the past you will be able to continue contributing your skills. Good luck in the future.

  2. Thank you for your exemplary leadership!

  3. Laura, thank you for your hard work and dedication. CSTA is an amazing organization because of people like you!

  4. Laura, Thanks for guiding CSTA through these exciting and challenging times. Science education is changing and you have guided the start of that journey. Enjoy your “Past-Presidency” there is still a lot to do and the continuity of leadership you provide will be invaluable to our incoming President, Lisa Hegdahl.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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