September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Your Association Fellow Teachers Need You

Posted: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

Over the past year and a half, I have tried to make the point that CSTA is your association. It is as good and as valuable as you make it and NOW is the time to make a resolution to become more involved.  January is the time to nominate members for positions on the CSTA Board of Directors and nominations are currently open for President-Elect, Secretary, Primary Director, Middle/Junior High Director, 2-Year College Director, Informal Science Education Director, plus Directors for Region 1 and Region 3. If you are interested in running for one of these positions, or you would like to nominate a colleague, please go to the CSTA website. There, you can also find information about the terms, position descriptions, and instructions on how to submit a name for nomination.  The nomination period ends on January 31, 2013.  Please don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

As you consider running or nominating someone for one of these positions, please keep in mind that CSTA is primarily a volunteer organization with a small office staff that strives to do the day-to-day work necessary to ensure or at least promote high quality science education in California. Because of this structure, the members of the Board of Directors play an important role in the mission of the organization and the work that it does. For example, CSTA represents you on legislative issues, acts as a clearing house for science education related information, sponsors the California Science Education Conference, and keeps you informed through California Classroom Science (CCS). In addition to these activities, CSTA is called on to nominate and recommend people for leadership positions on state and national science committees (Instructional Quality Commission, Building Capacity for State Science Education), task forces, and working groups (STEM Task Force, NGSS review team, California Teacher Advisory Council) as well as advisory boards for science and STEM related organizations (CSLNet, and the California Science Project).  The members of the Board of Directors and I take this responsibility very seriously. By recommending high quality science teachers to these various committees, panels, etc. CSTA hopes to positively influence the future of science education for years to come.

As we move forward with new standards, new frameworks, new assessments, and new instructional materials, CSTA needs new ideas. CSTA can be your eyes, ears, and mouths but it cannot be your brain. CSTA only knows what you want, need, or believe, when individuals, like you, play an active leadership role in the organization.  Please consider volunteering to serve on the Board by asking a colleague to nominate you for one of the open positions. Active participation in the leadership of your association will give you a whole new perspective on how science education policy is made in California and the talented pool of science teachers who will make those policies into reality. Please feel free to contact me through the comment section below if you have any questions about serving on the board.

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

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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

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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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

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

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

Cal

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.