Recognizing and Shining a Light on Excellence
Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2016
by Laura Henriques
The CSTA Board of Directors likes to recognize excellence and significant contributions. There are many ways that CSTA recognizes contributions of our members. For example, the President publicly acknowledges member contributions to committees and authorship in California Classroom Science at the CSTA California Science Education Conference and in press in CCS. We know that the work of our organization is done by many and we like to recognize and acknowledge your contributions.
Another way that CSTA recognizes and highlights excellence to our field is via the awards program. The awards recognize contributions beyond service to CSTA. We have three awards given annually which recognize outstanding contributions, excellence in the field and the potential for excellence. I am guessing you know of individuals, groups or organizations that would be worthy recipients of these awards. Please take the time to nominate one!
Think about the most influential science educators in California. This should be a CSTA member who has made a significant, ongoing contribution to science education in the state through leadership and service. Can you picture him or her? Wouldn’t you like everyone to know how this person has positively impacted the quality of science education and science teaching in California? Nominate this person for the Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award. The Nicholson Award is CSTA’s highest honor and it recognizes significant contributions to science education. Both the nominee and nominator must be CSTA members for at least four years. To submit a nomination for the Nicholson award, please click here. Only one Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award will be given in any year. Click to view past recipients. (CSTA Board Members are not eligible to receive this award while serving on the Board.)
In addition to recognizing excellence in personal contributions, CSTA recently created an award to recognize group or organizational contributions to science education. The CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award honors an organization, institution or foundation which has made a sustained, significant impact to science education in the state and which, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching and learning. No more than two CSTA Distinguished Contributions Awards will be given in any year. To submit a nomination for this award, please click here. In addition to completing the online nomination form, nominators should submit one or more letters of support which describe specific examples of service to science education, commitment to excellence in science education, professional involvement and evidence of contributions. Click to view past recipients.
The final award given by CSTA recognizes potential. The CSTA Future Science Teacher Award recognizes college students (undergraduates or credential candidates) who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to science education through volunteer tutoring or teaching activities in a school setting, volunteer activities in a museum, nature center or related organization, courses taken in science, long-term career goals, and related activities, and who show promise to become outstanding science educators. No more than two Future Science Teacher Awards will be awarded in any year. Click to view past recipients. To submit a nomination for this award, please click here. Nominators need to be CSTA members, but the nominee (the college student) is not required to be a CSTA member. Nominators will submit the nomination form and a letter of endorsement. The nominee will then be asked to submit written descriptions of their commitment and experiences in science education.
Over the years I have nominated several people and organizations for CSTA awards. I enjoy submitting the nominations and I know that the nominees appreciate the recognition – even when they are not selected. The fact that I took time to acknowledge their contributions and service is appreciated. The nomination process does not take very long and the person or group you nominate is sure to appreciate the effort and gesture. Please consider submitting a nomination for one of the three awards listed above. There are lots of outstanding individuals and groups doing work in California. Wouldn’t you like to see them get their moment in the spotlight?
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…