January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Recognizing and Shining a Light on Excellence

Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Future Science Teacher Award to Justin Fournier.

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Future Science Teacher Award to Justin Fournier.

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.)

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Distinguished Contributions Award to Katie Jaxheimer Agarwal of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Distinguished Contributions Award to Katie Jaxheimer Agarwal of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

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.

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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?

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

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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.

Learn More…

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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.