May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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:

RegisterNowMedIf 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.

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.

2 Responses

  1. When will individuals who submitted proposals for workshops be informed whether their proposal was accepted or registered? I’d like to register and reserve a hotel room but cannot attend the whole conference. Thanks!

  2. Dear Lois,
    The final round of acceptance emails are going out today. We will do a double check of our records on Monday to make sure we have contacted everyone who submitted a proposal. If you would like an immediate answer, please contact Connie Morrill at or Gretel MacLeod at

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.