September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Second Common Core/NGSS Implementation Block Grant Is Still Being Considered

Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

by Jessica L. Sawko

updated: June 4, 2014, 9:50 am

A major legislative deadline passed in May – one that requires all bills to be passed out of their house of origin (the Senate or Assembly) in order to be considered viable. In addition to all the activity around the individual bills, the state budget for California is currently being negotiated. Governor Brown released his May budget revision on May 13, 2014. His proposed budget does not include any specific funding for Common Core or NGSS implementation.

The Assembly and Senate Budget Committees have also approved their versions of the budget. The three versions vary considerably with respect to Common Core/NGSS Implementation and broadband infrastructure funding, with the Assembly putting forth the boldest proposal (details are below). The budget will now go to Conference Committee where the Assembly and Senate will work out their differences.  GOVERNOR’S MAY REVISE:

  • $26.7 million for K-12 network connectivity infrastructure grants and a statewide report of network connectivity infrastructure to support common core implementation.
  • $0 for Common Core implementation (professional development, instructional materials, and technology).

Total proposal: $26.7 million

ASSEMBLY:

  • $1.25 billion in one-time funding for the Common Core Implementation Block Grant, for purposes of professional development, instructional materials and technology upgrades.
  • Approved Governor’s $26.7 million proposal for K-12 network connectivity grants and statewide report.

Total proposal: $1.27 billion

SENATE:

  • $550 million in one-time funding for the Common Core Implementation Block Grant, for purposes of professional development, instructional materials and technology upgrades.
  • The $550 million is inclusive of the $26.7 million for the Governor’s internet connectivity proposal.

Total proposal: $550 million

I had the pleasure of attending the NGSS Rollout meeting in Long Beach on Mary 22-23. Thank you to OCDE and LACOE for the warm welcome to participate in the event. While there I received a call to action and was able to encourage science teachers in attendance to call the Assembly Appropriations Committee to urge them to move AB 2319 out of suspense. This bill would have outlined the Common Core/NGSS implementation money. Alas, our efforts did not result in the bill making it out of committee, thus our efforts are now focused on the budget process. I extend my most sincere gratitude to the many teachers who took 30 seconds out of their very bust day to call the Appropriations committee. My thanks also to the CSTA members who responded to my call to action via email. CSTA will continue to keep you posted on opportunities to participate.

A friendly reminder to vote today (June 3, 2014). There are many state-level offices in this primary election, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction. If you would like to know more about the candidates and view a debate, please visit the California State PTA website.

Update as of June 4, 9:50 am – check out the election results from the primary election yesterday, June 3, 2014.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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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.