January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

President’s Retrospective

Posted: Monday, July 1st, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

When I began my term as president two years ago in July I had no idea of the changes that would be brewing for children in California schools. In July of 2011, I was focused on re-professionalizing science teaching, increasing membership, and providing more services to our members and didn’t yet fathom the gathering storm that standards, both Common Core (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) represented. Two years later, it is clear that the new CCSS and NGSS will bring major changes to what we do in our classrooms, and in what CSTA, as your professional organization, will be doing for you.

The two years of my term as president have been consumed by the development and release of the NGSS.  It began in July of 2011 with the release of the Framework for K-12 Science Education, followed by writing and review of at least two drafts of the NGSS before their release in April of 2013. (For a detailed timeline of the development of NGSS go to http://www.nextgenscience.org/development-process) As Laura Henriques clearly describes in her article in this issue, the process is not finished. In California there is still much work to be done. On Friday, June 29, the Superintendent of Public Instruction proposed what California’s new science standards should look like, the Next Generation Science Standards, with a few changes for California. Once approved in their final form, the process of developing curricula for California will begin again, eventually resulting in a new vision for science education in our state.

With those changes looming, I asked myself how I would assess my years as president? In terms of membership, our numbers have remained reasonably stable. Given all that has happened in these two years, I am disappointed about this. I would have hoped that science teachers in California would see the value of membership in a professional organization, working together as a team, to move our goals of better science forward. Over the next several years, as our movement to new standards and new frameworks becomes increasingly California-centric, there will be many more opportunities for California science educators to come together to support each other and our efforts to build a stronger science curriculum.

In terms of professionalism, many teachers contributed to the NGSS development process, often at their own expense or with minimal support. This to me is a sign of professional commitment and I would like to thank all of you who have participated on a panel, as a reviewer, a speaker at the public comment sessions, or as a member of an organization or group that provided training and support. As we go forward, science teachers must continue to be active participants in this process. Regardless of reimbursement or compensation, your contributions will not only help determine what science education in California will look like for the next several decades, it will also help you to understand what you are going to be asked to teach in your own classroom. Participation in planning sessions, on committees, attending conferences, and encouraging other teachers to participate and become members are examples of your commitment to professionalism.

Finally, in terms of providing increased services to our members, I believe that although not highly visible, CSTA has been your representative at every single NGSS activity, meeting, conference, legislative hearing, and State Board of Education meeting. Serving as your advocate is one way that CSTA can provide service to our members, but it is not the only way. Over the next several years, there will be many opportunities to provide professional development, participate on framework and assessment committees, and to share success stories with our members.  This is true service to our members and I encourage you to participate in any and all of these if possible.

Overall, I feel that it has been a good two years. As always seems to be the case, we accomplished a lot but there is so much more to do. I want to thank you for this opportunity to serve as your president and I look forward to working with Laura Henriques and Lisa Hegdahl, (the President and President-elect for the next two years), as we strive to make the vision of the work we have done a reality.

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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.

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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.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.