January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

One Year Ends, Another Begins!

Posted: Thursday, September 15th, 2016

By Lisa Hegdahl

June 30, 2016 was the end of my first full year as President of the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA).  During that time, I have learned a tremendous amount, worked with amazingly talented and passionate people, and had the opportunity to participate in events that would not have been available to me if I were not president.  While there is still much to do, I feel compelled to express what an honor it is to be part of an association that has accomplished so much in the past 12 months.

2015/16 California Science Teachers Association Highlights and Next Steps for 2016/17

State Board of Education – California State Accountability System


Within 10 days of my presidency, I was before the California State Board of Education (SBE) speaking on behalf of the California Science Teachers Association regarding agenda Item 1: Developing a New Accountability System: Update on the Local Control Funding Formula Evaluation Rubrics. CSTA urged the board to consider how it would incorporate into its policy frame additional outcome measures, to those that were initially provided that give an early indication of a student’s scientific literacy and if they are meeting or exceeding grade-level science standards in the early years of their education, both elementary and middle school. Much discussion and thoughtful consideration followed throughout the year, and while there is still much work to be done, in May 2016, the California State Board of Education voted to include the results for the new Science Assessment as a state indicator in the State’s Accountability System Evaluation Rubrics when the assessment results become available.



Next Steps

  • Staff will provide an update to the SBE in July about how to include data on college and career readiness, school climate, and a composite measure of English learner proficiency in the new accountability system. The SBE will continue its work through this summer and early fall in order to meet the statutory October 1, 2016 deadline for the new accountability system.

California Science Education Conference in Sacramento, October 2015 – Chair of 2015 planning committee, Deb Farkas

  • 1529 attendees
  • Keynote speakers – Anissa Ramirez, Ph.D. and Astronaut, Jose Hernandez provided messages of inspiration for the beginning and closing of the conference.
  • Primary Pathways – the California Science Teachers Association created a conference within the conference. This compact and powerful nine hour professional development course was specially designed for teachers of TK-2 to help them integrate NGSS, CCSS, and ELD standards into their daily curriculum. The course provided thorough grounding in science instruction and fortified teachers with an understanding of the three-dimensional learning associated with NGSS.
  • CSTA took full advantage of the Sacramento location and solicited workshops from the California Department of Education to present at the conference.

Next Steps

  • NEW, Longer, 90-Minute Workshops so participants can delve more deeply into the 3-dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • Primary Pathways and NEW Intermediate Pathways. As California educators strive to provide a twenty-first-century education for all students, there are few missions more urgent to long-term educational goals than equipping primary and upper elementary grade teachers with science content knowledge and pedagogical strategies to kindle the love of science in their students and set a course for lifelong learning.
  • Keynote Speakers – Chip Yates is one of the world’s most recognized green technology innovators and has set 18 World Records in electric vehicles of his own design. Recently nicknamed “The Rockstar of Science” by an inspired audience after witnessing his electrified speech, Yates has an endless supply of up-to-the-minute stories to share from his inspiring ongoing World Record activities.
Dianna Cowern Pic 2
  • Dianna Cowern – Physics Girl – is an award-winning science communicator and educator. She is the primary content creator for her YouTube channel, Physics Girl with PBS Digital Studios. Dianna received her BS in physics from MIT before researching low-metallicity stars at the Harvard CfA and designing an iPad app as a software engineer at GE. She then pursued her career in STEM outreach working as an educator at the Reuben H Fleet Science Center and as a physics outreach coordinator at UCSD. Her work on Physics Girl has been featured on the Huffington Post, Slate Magazine, and Scientific American blogs.
  • The first 60-day public review of the CA Science Curriculum Framework took place November 17, 2015–January 19, 2016. Through work of the NGSS Committee, co-chaired by Past President, Laura Henriques and Region 4 Director, Peter A’Hearn, CSTA supported 30 review Sessions across the state with more than 625 people participating in the sessions. Feedback from each session was sent directly to the state and the top five comments per chapter were shared with CSTA’s NGSS Committee. Committee members selected a chapter to oversee. They were responsible for synthesizing the comments submitted related to their chapter. As CSTA President, I was able to use the raw data and the synthesis for my letter, on behalf of CSTA, to the CDE and for public comment during the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) and Science Subject Matter Committee (Science SMC) meetings.

Next Steps

  • The second 60-day public review of the CA Science Curriculum Framework is tentatively scheduled to begin in late June 2016. CSTA members will receive notification when the chapters are available for review. The State Board of Education is scheduled to approve the final draft of the framework in November 2016.

State Board of Education – California Science Assessment – In March, 2016, the CDE recommended that the State Board of Education approve the grades for which the CA NGSS summative assessments will be administered and recommended that the SBE approve the development of three online CA NGSS summative assessments to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act and Education Code. The grade five assessment will consist of grade five performance expectations and matrix sampling of performance expectations from kindergarten through grade four; The grade eight assessment will consist of middle school (grades six through eight) performance expectations; The grades ten, eleven, or twelve assessment, will consist of high school performance expectations.

Next Steps

  • June 13, 2016, at 1:00-2:30PM, there will be a joint meeting between the California Department of Education, the California Science Teachers Association, and the California Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards. The meeting will be an opportunity for the CDE and its testing contractor (ETS) to share information on the recommended assessment approach for the CA-NGSS alternate assessment (the replacement for CAPA). There will be opportunities to provide input on the recommended approach as well as administration of the 2017 alternate assessment pilot test
  • Current CA Science Assessment Timeline:
  • CA NGSS Pilot Test, 2016/17
  • CA NGSS Field Test, 2017/18
  • CA NGSS Operational Test, 2018/19 and beyond

CSTA Volunteers – In the spring of 2015, a record number of 50 volunteers signed up to serve on CSTA Committees. In the spring of 2016, the record was broken once again with 115 non-board members volunteering! The all-volunteer CSTA Board of Directors is working to place all these dedicated professionals on committees.

Next Steps
If you volunteered – THANK YOU! You will be notified in July of your committee assignment. These larger committees will enable CSTA to do even more to Promote High-Quality Science Education in California. If you did not volunteer, consider getting involved next year!


After School Special, May 26, 2016 – Yearlong NGSS Planning Using Phenomena

  • After School Specials are designed to connect members locally while gaining current, innovative information – FREE to CSTA Members/ $10 for non-members.
  • Attended by 23 educators at the Sacramento County Office of Education

Next Steps

  • A toolkit is being created to assist members who would like to host their own After School Specials.
  • CSTA’s Membership/Marketing Committee (co-chaired by Mary Whaley, CSTA’s Informal Science Director and Lisa Hegdahl, President) is actively seeking members to host After School Specials around the state.

Social Media Groups continue to grow under the leadership of the CSTA Communications Committee – Chair, Jill Grace:

Next Steps

  • Continue to connect California educators with information that is helpful and inspirational, and be a resource for quality networking. Plans in the works to better support higher education professionals.
  • California Classroom Science (CCS) – online publication of CSTA, Publication Committee co-chairs Minda Berbeco and Val Joyner. With 16,979 subscribers, the focus last year was on monthly themes related to the implementation of NGSS in California. There was also an increase in the number of articles written by the California NGSS Early Implementers as the second year of NGSS implementation continued, and 44 non-Board members submitted articles.

Next Steps

  • In 2016/17, monthly themes will be replaced by a focus on lesson plans and ideas for using NGSS in the classroom.  CSTA Membership appreciation and recognition will make a stronger appearance. CSTA will continue to encourage non-Board members and CA NGSS Early Implementers to contribute articles to California Classroom Science.

Thank you to CSTA’s dedicated members, Board of Directors, volunteers, staff, and partners for all you do to contribute to the mission of Promoting High Quality Science Education.

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th-grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is Past-President of CSTA.

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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.



MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. 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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. 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.