January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Science Is in the Air – So Much Going On!

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

It’s May and with that comes AP exams, science fair, science Olympiad, NGSS Rollout Symposium, plans for summer professional development opportunities for us and our students. There are so many things happening in our regions and around the state. It’s hard to keep up on everything, but try we must!

Springtime is when our students show us what they’ve got!

Springtime is the culmination for a wide range of year-long or semester-long science activities. Congratulations and thank you to all of our members and science friends who helped with Science Olympiad, Science Fairs, academic decathlon, AP exams, robotics competitions, science or STEM fairs and more. We all recognize that it takes a lot of time, work, energy and passion from teachers and kids to get to the point where kids are able to share what they know, apply their knowledge and skills, be competitive, and shine. Those long after-school sessions, Saturday work sessions, the time away from family, the extra hours… they are worth it. You do make a difference and the opportunities that you are providing to your students will be remembered long after the event(s) are over. 

NGSS Professional Learning Opportunities

Registration

At press time, there is one NGSS Rollout I symposium still to come – June 1-2 in Ventura. The first NGSS Rollout II symposium took place April 27-28 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Two hundred science educators from around the state took part in two packed days of NGSS learning. Evaluation data from the rollout was positive. There was lots of learning, good connections and networking, and a sense that we can do this. There are two additional NGSS Rollout II sessions this spring and a half-dozen more in the fall. For details and to register visit regonline.com/NGSS2015Training. CSTA was part of the team that planned, wrote and presented at the rollout. Thanks to CSTA members who participated in these roles. Sessions include NGSS 103, The Tool (a tool to help with planning lessons), A Lesson (participation in grade level lessons so you can feel what a NGSS 3D learning sequence is like), Practices, and the opportunity to pick a session from Engineering, Administration Strand, Crosscutting Concepts and High School (course sequence discussions). It was great to see so many CSTA members in San Joaquin. I look forward to seeing more CSTA members at future rollouts. Stop by the CSTA table to see the latest NGSS timeline, get a membership ribbon or just visit.

CSTA and NSTA are teaming up again for a summer institute about NGSS on July 9th in Anaheim. CSTA members get a discounted registration rate for this full-day event. In addition to a keynote there will be breakout sessions for elementary and secondary science. Presenters include some national names associated with NGSS and California Science Project’s Maria Simani. Find out more and register online.

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The 2015 California Science Education Conference (October 2-4 in Sacramento) will have ~200 workshops, presentations, field courses and talks to help you continue on the journey from awareness to transition to implementation of NGSS. Registration opens soon. The conference committee, under the leadership of Deb Farkas, is putting together a great event. Check out the site to find out some of the unique programs we have planned for you.

Our Regional Directors find out what’s happening in their region and share that with all of us. As we learn about new summer opportunities they get posted to the CSTA events calendar. Check out the opportunities listed within each region.

Framework Update This month the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee will see the final draft of the CA Science Framework. This group of dedicated individuals will have read more than 3,000 pages this school year, providing input to the writers. After the May 20-21 meeting the framework will go to the Subject Matter Committee then to the Instructional Quality Commission and then to all of us for the public input period. A big thanks to the writing team (headed up by the California Science Project) and to the CFCC members. You should also know that the CSTA NGSS Committee has read all the drafts and provided feedback along the way as well. The entire membership owes them a debt of thanks for their contributions to the process.

Earth/Space Science ad-hoc committee getting started

Maria Simani (California Science Project) and I (CSTA) have been engaged in conversations around the dilemma of earth/space science not being a D-lab course for UC/CSU A-G requirements. We know that this is a concern for many of our members, especially geoscience teachers at the high school level. We figure that the adoption of NGSS might be a good time for us to re-examine the issue and see what we can do about getting a change in thinking. A small ad-hoc committee has been formed to develop a working plan. The committee will meet in early June. Once we have a plan we will call for wider participation and input from the CSTA membership.

And finally …. CSTA will be holding its quarterly Board of Directors meeting on June 6th in Long Beach. Just as the state is busy determining how to transition and implement NGSS, CSTA continues to support you through the process. Our board members and committee members serve in a variety of ways to help support science education in California. We’ll spend some of our time at the June board meeting determining how best to do that. Please let me know if you have suggestions or questions.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.