September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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 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.