March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

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 President for CSTA.

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California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. 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.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017


CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: 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.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see 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.

Learning to Teach in 3D

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Joseph Calmer

Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”

I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. 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: