September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Region 2 News & Events

Posted: Friday, July 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

Summer is upon us – a time to get relax and gather our thoughts about the school year that just finished up.  Of course, many of you take the summer to revise curriculum, participate in professional development, and collaborate with colleagues to strategize about meeting the needs of students at your site.  For those of you that tend to take the summer as a time to improve your curriculum the work never seems to stop.  Though everyone should be grateful for the extra effort that many of you take, I applaud the fact that you continue to improve your practice, even though our current system does little to recognize the work that you do.

Personally, I am doing an IISME Fellowship (, and getting paid to work with the talented folks at QUEST at KQED (  Through my work this summer, I’m getting very acquainted with QUEST’s resources and doing some strategizing around how to make their material more accessible to teachers.  I plan to take this experience back to my district and encourage more teachers to use their resources.  Check them out!

Regardless of what you’re doing this summer – be it traveling around the globe or working at a science laboratory at a local university or biotech company – may it bring you new ideas and excitement for teaching come the fall.

Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings!  Also, encourage your colleagues to join CSTA.  I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs.  To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.

I look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for our next CSTA conference!

Eric Lewis,

Invasive Plant Removal at Peir 94 in San Francisco
Saturday, July 2, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Join Golden Gate Audubon at Pier 94 on San Francisco’s Southern Waterfront. Lend a hand at Pier 94 in San Francisco where we will learn about and participate in invasive plant removal and caring for native plants and trash pickup.  We will focus on removing Algerian Sea Lavender. The site is home to native California Sea-blite- an endangered plant, as well as habitat for shorebirds and water birds and a nesting site for several resident species of birds.

Directions: Take Third Street and turn east (toward the bay) onto Cargo Way and take the first left onto Amador Street.  This industrial road turns right (480 Amador St.) in San Francisco turn into parking area just before the chain link fence.  Ahead you will see a small sign next to the left of white barriers. This is the entrance to Pier 94.

Park in front of the barriers and join us at the marsh.

Public Transit: The Muni Metro T-Line stops at Marin, which is located a couple blocks before Cargo Way on Third Street. Please visit for a transit planner from your location. Follow the directions above from Third Street turning onto Cargo Way.

We’ll provide gloves, tools, and snacks. Please bring your own water bottle to cut down on trash, we’ll provide water. Wear sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen, dress in layers of clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty – you’ll have fun while helping local birds. For details visit:


July 2 Saturday Walk the Wiggle
July 3 Sunday Water Walking
July 6 Wednesday Outside Lands walk

All walks start at 10:00 am. The water tour is 3 ½ hours and the others are 2 ½ hours. Check the Tours page at for full details and to RSVP.

Thinkwalks explore the overlap of urban and natural San Francisco. Life in the city, don’t forget, is life in a natural environment. The valleys and waterways may be filled in or paved over, but they still exist. Clues to their influence are all around us—especially when nature burps. Earthquakes, rainstorms, even the ever-present wind are forces still shaping the land and our habits. Cultural and political forces have heaved against the land forms, too—and for thousands of years! Human history is clearly part of nature’s big picture. Come scrutinize evidence about what really transpired. Let’s look at how SF got to be what it is. Thinkwalks are a chance to understand natural patterns in the broadest sense so we can shape our collective future wisely.

17th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count
Sunday, July 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

The rescheduled date for the 17th Annual San Francisco Butterfly Count is Sunday, July 3, 9:00 am -5:00 pm. This is an intense, one-day inventory of all the butterfly species/individuals flying in SF city and county.  We will begin at the Randall Museum (199 Museum Way) before heading out with assigned groups.  The Presidio Group, lead by Matt Zlatunich, will meet there (contact to join his group).  Each group will have a copy of Nature in the City’s Butterflies of San Francisco Field Guide to make it easier on the novice. BRING YOUR LUNCH.

A $3.00 participation fee that goes towards butterfly conservation is collected. We broke all our records last year : 24 species, 775 individuals and 34 observers! We also had “National High’ on two species: Anise Swallowtail – 53 seen (Papilio zelicaon) and West Coast Painted Lady – 23 seen (Vanessa annabella). Even with over 300 counts throughout the nation, the SF count is starting to get noticed.  Come help us keep up the momentum! And, start learning your SF butterflies at

Contact Liam O’Brien  with any questions at The count is sponsored by The North American Butterfly Association.”

San Francisco Natural History Series July Lecture
July 21, 7:30 pm

Vanished Waters and the History of Mission Bay – Chris Carlsson

FREE at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco. For more information visit:

Santa Clara County Biotechnology Education Partnership 18th Annual Summer Workshop: Biotech Basics
July 25 – 29, 2011, Santa Clara University
Find out how hands-on biotechnology can excite your students while meeting the standards. Be eligible to utilize the SCCBEP mobile kits or consumables only! Earn professional growth hour certificates and SJSU units.
This Workshop is FREE* for Science Teachers

  • wanting to implement hands-on biotech labs in their classroom
  • with various backgrounds and training in biology, molecular biology, biotech
  • teaching ALL levels of life science or biology classes

New to SCCBEP?  Please register only if you can attend the ENTIRE week. Current SCCBEPers?  You may register for specific refresher days. Register NOW! Learn new techniques! Upgrade your knowledge! Space is limited. Acceptance confirmations will be emailed with details.
Register by providing the following information via email to or 408.924.4814.

  • Teacher Name, School Name, School District
  • Contact info – email address (home & work), home address, phone# (home & work), fax#
  • Which workshops are you registering for? (New SCCBEP Teachers MUST attend the entire week)
  • What classes will you be teaching?
  • Any dietary restrictions?
  • What prior experience with biotech have you had?

NOTICE: Registration deadline is July 11, 2011.

*Registrants must mail in a reservation check for $50 to guarantee space in the workshop. Your check will be held and returned at the workshop, but will be forfeited in the event you are a no-show. Mail registration check to: SCCBEP, Dr. Katy Korsmeyer, Dept of Chemistry, SJSU, San José, CA 95192-0101.

Fintastic! Sharks Program at San Francisco Library with QUEST
Tuesday, August 2, 2:00 pm – 4:00pm and 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

San Francisco Main Library Branch

Aquarium of the Bay’s Fintastic! Shark Discovery Program

  • 2:00 pm -4:00 pm: Kids programming at the Children’s Center
  • 6:00 pm -8:00 pm: Film screening and discussion surrounding threats to sharks and Assembly Bill, AB 376

QUEST’s Emmy-award winning “Great White Shark: Meet the Man in the Gray Suit” will be screening at the SF Public Library as a part of a special program put together by Kati Schmidt, our partner at the Aquarium of the Bay. Chris Bauer, the producer of the segment, will be a panelist.  He’ll also be at the kids program.

August 3-4, 2011, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA

  • Who:  Silicon Valley Education Foundation in partnership with Krause Center for Innovation/Foothill College
  • What:  2-day conference for K-12 public school administrators, teachers, and technology department leaders (1 day optional)
  • When:   August 3-4, 2011, 10 AM to 3 PM each day
  • Where:  Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA
  • Why:  Hear from keynote speakers Scott McNealy, co-founder and former CEO of Sun Microsystems; and Bernie Trilling, 21st century learning expert and author. Learn new ways to get more educational value from technology today (especially existing technology that is already available in schools)—and build a vision for how technology will support learning in the future.

Team concept

Participants will break out into teams to pool their expertise and talents and develop specific action plans to address educational challenges through technology integration and infusion. We recommend districts register three to five members from the same school or district. An ideal team will include one superintendent, assistant superintendent or a principal along with at least two classroom teachers and a technology department leader.

For more information please visit:

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.


Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office.

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CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

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.