January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

NSTA Is Coming to Los Angeles!

Posted: Monday, November 14th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

With the 2016 California Science Education Conference now in our rear view, CSTA has begun to look towards the next major science education event scheduled to take place in our fine state – the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference on Science Education! This incredible event is expected to draw more than 10,000 science educators from all over the country to the Los Angeles Convention Center March 30-April 2, 2017. Luckily for us here in California, this incredible event right here in our great state, and CSTA members are eligible to register for the conference at member rates! For more information and to register today, visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences/national.aspx.

To help you make the most of the professional learning opportunities available at the Los Angeles conference, the Conference Committee has planned the conference around four strands that explore topics of current significance, enabling you to focus on a specific area of interest or need.

NGSS: The Next Generation of Science Teaching

Celebrate the vision of three-dimensional teaching and learning in the NRC Framework and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This strand provides engaging and collaborative examination of the NGSSarchitecture to allow teachers to implement the changes necessary to construct a coherent program, including classroom practice and instructional sequence, as well as to build student skills. Bundling performance expectations connects the three key dimensions within a progression. This strand will focus on providing opportunities for students to collaborate as they develop and use science and engineering practices, communicate evidence of core scientific understanding, and apply real-world contexts. Alignment of assessments connecting core concepts, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts is essential.

2017: A STEM Odyssey

Students’ science learning has changed dramatically from learning in the past. In a STEM environment, students’ understanding of the world around them is facilitated through the intentional connections between the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM curriculum provides research-based instructional strategies that engage diverse learners and highlights career pathways in STEM-related fields. More importantly, STEM provides opportunities for all students to place themselves in a 21st-century world. In this strand, participants will connect and collaborate to increase their understanding and ability to teach STEM-based lessons and instructional sequences.

Science & Literacy Reloaded

With the continued emphasis on mathematics and language arts, elementary teachers have not been encouraged or given opportunities to teach science. This strand will support these teachers in seeing the connections between science and literacy. Elementary science will be re-envisioned as an opportunity for authentic language learning and not just one more thing to squeeze into the curriculum. As students investigate natural phenomena, they collect data to then make claims from their evidence and explain their reasoning, arguing from their evidence. Teachers can then support their students’ language and literacy through science notebooks, technical writing, interactive journals, and e-portfolios. This strand will allow teachers to become advocates of literacy in science, blending oral and written communication skills within the science curriculum.

Mission Possible: Equity for Universal Access

Access to science education is not a privilege; it is a right for students of all abilities, genders, languages, socioeconomic status, and geographic locations. A quality science education is essential in closing the skills gap in our current workforce. Science learning must start in early childhood and be sustained through postsecondary education to keep our nation as a leader in innovation. Current challenges provide opportunities for equitable access to science education. Some issues include maximizing student achievement for exceptional students while respecting cultural and linguistic diversity in order to celebrate those differences. The sessions in this strand will focus on pedagogical best practices to enhance learning for ALL.

Make your plans to join CSTA in Los Angeles this March 30-April 2, 2017. Register today!

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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Science Assessment Update – Alternate Pilot Item Available

Posted: Thursday, January 26th, 2017

California Alternate Assessment for Science Training Sample Is Here!

The training test for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science is now available on the CAASPP Portal CAAs Web page! This training test is the same type of embedded performance task (PT) that will be administered during this year’s pilot CAA for Science. Designed to be administered one on one, the training test PT is nonsecure and for use in preparing for the pilot CAA for Science.

The training test is aligned with the grade five California Next Generation Science Standards but can be used by students in any of the tested grades to familiarize both educators, students, parents, and stakeholders with the testing format of the pilot. The CDE is preparing a letter for LEAs to use to inform parents about this innovative test and the availability of the training test. 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.

STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.