Register for the 2015 California Science Education Conference!
Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2015
by Casey Passmore
With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (including Literacy in Science!) and the Next Generation Science Standards, science education is finally becoming more of a priority for many school districts. Now is a great time to start planning to attend the California Science Education Conference in Sacramento, Friday, October 2 – Sunday, October 4. Registration is open and hotel reservations can be made now.
What can you expect to find at the California Science Education Conference? Over 175 workshops (schedule coming soon) will be presented by teachers, science education professors, scientists, exhibitors, and more. Short courses offer the opportunity to dig deeper into a topic with seasoned experts. Field courses provide possibilities for place-based learning in Sacramento. This conference will also feature the first ever Primary Pathway to the Next Generation Science Standards Through Language and Literacy Development, with 9 hours of workshops and a featured speaker, all specifically designed to support TK-2 educators.
The conference will have two keynote speakers:
- Ainissa Ramirez, director at Yale of the award-winning science lecture series for children, Science Saturdays
- José Hernández, former NASA astronaut and son of migrant farm workers in California
Focus speakers include highly regarded scientists and education experts presenting sessions on subjects relevant to science teaching:
- Jonathan Osborne, Stanford University
- Isabel Montañez, University of California, Davis
- Sumer Seiki, University of San Francisco
- Betsy Rupp Felwiler, Writing in Science author
- George Matsumoto,Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
- Ellen Blinderman, Lawrence Hall of Science
If you need funding assistance in order to attend the California Science Education Conference, your district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) could be a good place to start. As part of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), districts are currently writing their LCAPs for next school year, which must address plans to implement state-adopted standards, including NGSS and Common Core. Many LCAPs will include funding for teacher professional learning for Common Core, NGSS, or both. As the 2015 California Science Education Conference will offer plenty of workshops aligned to both, these funds could be used to support your participation in the conference. Additionally, in the May revision of Governor Brown’s proposed 2015-2016 budget includes $3.5 billion in discretionary Proposition 98 funding with the intention that districts will fund teacher professional development, beginning teacher induction, and instructional materials and technology for implementing the NGSS, CCSS, and ELD standards. CSTA and other education advocates are still working to make a portion of this funding be dedicated as opposed to discretionary; the CA Legislature’s budget deadline is June 15.
Donor’s Choose is piloting projects for teacher professional development that could support your attendance at the CSEC. Indiegogo is another site that could be used to raise funds for attending professional development. If you itemize your taxes, both your CSTA membership and California Science Education conference expenses can be deducted (see your tax professional).
If you are thinking about attending the conference with a team from your district, CSTA offers special group rates for groups of 20 or more teachers who register under a single payment. CSTA accepts purchase orders, checks, Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. Register by June 30 to get the best price!
Casey Passmore is STEM Middle School Science Content Specialist at the San Francisco Unified School District, Division of Curriculum and Instruction; she is a member of CSTA and the 2015 Conference Committee.
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…