September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Now Seeking Science Teachers for Common Core Focus Groups

Posted: Thursday, March 29th, 2012

The California Department of Education (CDE) is pleased to announce that it is recruiting members for four focus groups to provide input on the upcoming English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (ELA/ELD Framework). The ELA/ELD Framework will incorporate and support the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, adopted by the California State Board of Education (SBE) in August 2010, and reflect current research on English language arts instruction. It will also incorporate new English Language Development Standards, which are due to be adopted by the SBE in late summer of 2012. Curriculum frameworks provide guidance to teachers, administrators, and parents on how a standards-based curriculum is implemented in the classroom. The deadline to apply is April 5.

Pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 9511(c), the CDE will convene four focus groups across California. Each focus group will include between 10 and 15 invitees, who will be selected to ensure balanced representation of regions, types of schools, and grade-level experience. Members of the focus group must be educators at the time of appointment. California Education Code, Section 44013(a) defines an educator:

“Educator” means a certificated person holding a valid California teaching credential or a valid California services credential issued by the commission who is employed by a local education agency or by a special education local planning area and who is not employed as an independent contractor or consultant.

Interested individuals are encouraged to apply and to distribute the application to other potential applicants. Please note that there is no stipend for service on a focus group, and no reimbursements for travel costs or substitute replacements can be provided by the CDE.

The focus group meetings will be open to the public and comments made by both focus group members and members of the public at each meeting will be forwarded to the Instructional Quality Commission and the SBE for consideration.

Focus group meetings are currently planned for the following dates and locations:

  • May 22, 2012          Orange County Office of Education
  • May 31, 2012          California Department of Education, Sacramento
  • June 4, 2012           Monterey County Office of Education
  • June 5, 2012           Contra Costa County Office of Education

Each focus group meeting will be held in the late afternoon. A more detailed agenda will be sent to participants and posted on the CDE Curriculum Frameworks Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/rl/cf prior to each event.

To apply to be a member of a focus group, please use the online application form. The form can be downloaded from the CDE’s Curriculum Frameworks Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/rl/cf. For your convenience, the application form is attached. Applications must be e-mailed to elaframework@cde.ca.gov and received no later than 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2012.

If you have any questions regarding focus groups, please contact Cynthia Gunderson, Education Programs Consultant, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, by phone at 916-319-0451 or by e-mail atcgunderson@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

 

Tom Torlakson

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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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

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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

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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

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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.