January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library

Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

An interview with Rebecca Newburn, teacher of sixth graders at Hall Middle School in Larkspur, CA, and creator of the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library.

Lewis: What gave you the idea for this?

Newburn: BASIL (Bay Area Seed Interchange Library) in the Berkeley Ecology Center is a seed library that has been around for 12 years. I loved the idea of a seed lending library and wanted to make the seed saving education a more integral part of the program and have it more available to the general public. Hosting the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library in the Richmond Public Library felt like a perfect fit since both serve to benefit the public and have access to resources and education as cornerstones.

Lewis: How has this impacted your community?

Newburn: A few hundred people have “borrowed” thousands of seeds from the library. The basic idea is that people take seeds, plant them and let some of them go to seed. They return the next generation of seeds. We provide free education on how to return quality seeds to the library so that others can borrow them.

We’re providing free seeds and education, which is allowing people to share resource and save money. In the process of saving seeds, we are creating seeds that are adapted to our climates and soils, which will be increasing more important in an era of erratic weather and climate change. Humans have been saving seeds for 10-12,000 years. Yet in the last 100 years, most people have stopped farming and even those people who still garden rarely save any of their own seeds. As a result, we have lost a huge amount of biodiversity.

By engaging our community in seed saving, we are reconnecting with full-cycle gardening by allowing plants to flower, which provides habitat for beneficial insects and seeds for future generations.

The library also serves as a hub where people into gardening can share ideas and resources.

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Lewis: What are the education connections for the classroom?

Newburn: Seed saving is a meaningful way to connect the biology and environmental science curricula to students’ lives. The lending library is organized by plant families. Plants in the same family have similar seed saving requirements to reduce unwanted hybridization. Seed saving is an excellent way to teach about genetics. Students can apply the information in their daily lives in their own gardens or the school gardens and become part of a 12,000-year-old cycle. My vision is that over time some students who learn about seed saving will start to breed their own vegetables and create new varieties and begin to regenerate some biodiversity that has been lost in the last 100 years.

In our school garden we are doing seed saving and have signs explaining how different species are saved properly. (These signs will be available for download on our website, which unfortunately is being a bit wonky.)

Lewis: Do you think that this can be replicated in other communities?

Newburn: Yes, we’ve created the seed lending library as a replicable model. People can go to our “Create a Library” page on RichmondGrows.org and see the process of how we got started and download all of our organization and seed saving material. (Material is now available in English, Spanish and Mandarin.) Since our library opened in June 2010, over 13 other libraries have opened based on our model. Even my sixth graders at Hall Middle School are putting one in our school library in Larkspur.

We’ve connected to other seed lending libraries on our website; check out our “Sister Libraries” under our “Contact” page.

Lewis: What is your vision for the future?

Newburn: My vision is that seed libraries will be a part of school libraries and that seed saving will be an integral part of our curriculum and our school gardens. My hope is that students will appreciate the beauty of nature and it’s diversity and bounty. There is something special about being to plant a lettuce plant and get hundreds of seeds in return. Those seeds will be shared with their friends and families and in the sharing, we will start to re-create heirloom varieties because they will be passed down from generation to generation (or class to class) that have significance to us and our communities.

Lewis: What is your favorite seed from your collection?

Newburn: My favorite seed is the Oregon Spring tomato. My friend Gudrun gave it to me. She’s been growing it in her garden for a few years and it’s a big tomato that ripens early in our foggy summers. It makes me happy to have the Oregon Spring in my garden because it reminds me of my friend… and it’s delicious.

Lewis: What is the biggest surprise from this whole process?

Newburn: How quickly the idea has gone fungal.

Lewis: How can people find out more about this whole process?

Newburn: People can learn more about our libraries and seeds at our website, RichmondGrows.org.  We’ve got great resources on our site, including videos on Beans and Peas and Lettuce and Sunflowers.  For folks that can’t access YouTube, the videos are also on Vimeo: Beans and Peas and Lettuce and Sunflowers. More videos are being created now.  Also, we’re constantly updating our Flickr page. Feel free to use our photos.

Thanks so much for your time, Rebecca.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this project continues to flourish and grow!

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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California Science Test Academy for Educators

Posted: Thursday, February 15th, 2018

California Science Test Academy for Educators

To support implementation of the California Science Test (CAST), the California Department of Education is partnering with Educational Testing Service and WestEd to offer a one-day CAST Academy for local educational agency (LEA) science educators, to be presented at three locations in California from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As an alternative to traveling, LEA teams can participate virtually via WebEx on one of the dates listed below.

The dates and locations for the CAST Academy are as follows:

  • Monday, April 23, 2018—Sacramento
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018—Fresno
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018—Irvine

The CAST Academy will help participants develop a deeper understanding of the assessment design and expectations of the CAST. The academy also will provide information and activities designed to assist educators in their implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional learning to help them gain an understanding of how these new science assessment item types can inform teaching and learning. The CAST Academy dates above are intended for school and district science instructional leaders, including teacher leaders, teacher trainers, and instructional coaches. Additional trainings will be offered at a later date specifically for county staff. In addition, curriculum, professional development, and assessment leaders would benefit from this training.

A $100 registration fee will be charged for each person attending the in-person training. Each virtual team participating via WebEx will be charged $100 for up to 10 participants through one access point. Each workshop will have the capacity to accommodate a maximum of 50 virtual teams. Each virtual team will need to designate a lead, who is responsible for organizing the group locally. Registration and payment must be completed online at http://www.cvent.com/d/6tqg8k.

For more information regarding the CAST Academy, please contact Elizabeth Dilke, Program Coordinator, Educational Testing Service, by phone at 916-403-2407 or by e‑mail at caasppworkshops@ets.org.

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.

Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. 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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.