September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

What Might Surprise You About CSTA?

Posted: Monday, November 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

While attending a recent CA-NGSS Rollout Symposium, I had the opportunity to talk to many science educator colleagues from the Northern California area.  During one such conversation, a participant mentioned that the information I was sharing about CSTA was ‘news’ to him.  It got me wondering what people don’t know about the California Science Teachers Association.

What does CSTA do besides host the annual California Science Education Conference?

Of course, CSTA is known for hosting the annual state conference with its workshops, short courses, and focus speakers, but CSTA is also involved in many other activities that promote high quality science education. CSTA representatives attend meetings of the California State Board of Education, California Department of Education, Instructional Quality Commission, Science Subject Matter Committee, California State Legislature – all to advocate for the interests of California Science Educators.  In addition, CSTA works alongside several state and national organizations:

  • 100kin10_Partner_Badge100Kin10:  100Kin10 unites the nation’s top academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and government agencies in order to train and retain 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers so that we can educate the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.
  • CA4NGSS:  The California Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards (CA4NGSS) facilitates collaboration among education, business, government, and community leaders to support effective and timely implementation of NGSS throughout California. Alliance members are organizations representing pK-12, college and university educators and administrators, science museums and centers, afterschool programs, professional learning providers, parents, students, businesses, public policymakers, and philanthropy.

  • cic-logoCollaboration in Common:  Collaboration in Common is a virtual platform for organizing professional learning communities, improving communication and resource sharing within organizations, an open education resource hub, and so much more!
  • California NGSS Collaborative: California NGSS Collaborative is a learning community for sharing best practices and piloting NGSS tools, processes, and assessment items—to support high-quality implementation. This partnership writes, organizes, and executes the CA NGSS Rollout Symposia – California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California Department of Education, California Science Teachers Association, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance/WestEd
  • Science Collaboration Committee:  Community of Practice – Science (CP-Science) is intended to bring together on a regular basis the county office leaders and key partners in science to share information and best practices, and to align the work of county offices, with a specific and deeper focus on the issues related to implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards

How does CSTA manage to accomplish all it does for California science education?

Members of the California Science Teachers Association are extremely fortunate to have three staff members working behind the scenes on their behalf.  They are instrumental in handling the day to day operations of the organization, keeping up to date on current California Science education issues, assisting CSTA members, organizing events, representing CSTA at statewide meetings, managing the organization’s finances, and much, much more.

  • Jessica Sawko, Executive Director
  • Gretel MacLoud, Conference Manager
  • Zi Stair, Membership and Registration Coordinator

In addition to paid staff, CSTA currently has a 14 member volunteer Board of Directors as well as over 100 dedicated volunteer members serving on seven committees, one task force, and 2 groups. Committee sign ups take place each spring with a July 1st – June 30th commitment. Full descriptions of the Committee work can be found on the CSTA Committee page. Thank you to all volunteers who serve on the:

  • 2016 Conference Committee
  • 2017 Conference Committee
  • Collaboration in Common Group
  • Event Exhibit Planning Group
  • Legislative Oversight Committee
  • Marketing/Communications/Membership/Preservice Committee
  • NGSS Committee
  • Outreach/Electronic Communications Committee
  • Policy Committee
  • Publications and Materials Review Committee
  • Secondary Education Task Force

What guides the decisions and actions of CSTA?

CSTA functions under the guidance of its Vision Statement as well as its Policy and Position Statements. Both help keep the staff, Board of Directors, and Committee members focused on the values of the organization.

CSTA’s Vision Statement:  

 

Science is an extension of everyone’s natural curiosity and permeates our lives.

Science has had a profound influence on human history and has implications for both positive and negative influence on the future. Therefore, the CSTA seeks to:

 

  • Promote and support all aspects of effective science teaching, including new technologies and instructional strategies;
  • Encourage the natural curiosity of learners at all levels;
  • Increase scientific literacy and the application of science to everyday life;
  • Promote science as a vehicle for lifelong learning for all citizens;
  • Assume a leadership role in advocating for science education and creating an understanding of the value of science.

 

CSTA Policy and Position Statements: Over the years, CSTA has crafted ten Policy and Position Statements around various science education topics. These Statements assist the Executive Director, CSTA Board of Directors, and other CSTA spokespersons when they are responding to discussion items of the State Board of Education, State Legislature, press, and other public forums.

You can read the current Policy and Position Statements on the CSTA website and the links here:

How else can members get involved besides volunteering?

The CSTA Board of Directors meets four times per year, and meetings are open to CSTA members. Individuals wishing to attend simply need to contact the CSTA office for instructions. Upcoming Board of Director Meetings:

  • January 8, 2017 (Los Angeles)
  • March 18, 2017 (Teleconference)
  • June 3, 2017 (TBD)

How is CSTA supported?

50_CSTA_logo_SmallYou may already be aware that CSTA is supported by membership dues, conference registration and exhibits fees, and individual donations.

What you may not know is that CSTA has several ways to donate for specific purposes:

  • Conference Scholarship Fund
    Contributions to this fund go directly to support CSTA’s work to develop and provide high quality professional learning opportunities for primary (TK-2) teachers. Donation to the Conference Scholarship Fund support a teacher’s participation at the California Science Education Conference.
  • CSTA Future Leader Development Fund
  • Primary Science Teacher Professional Learning

More information about these and other ways to support CSTA can be found on the Support CSTA page and click Donate Now.

The California Science Teachers Association is an amazing professional organization and the only statewide organization offering leadership and representation to all science educators—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University. In the last several years, CSTA has earned significant recognition for its successes at the state level. CSTA offers a clear, unified voice for all science educators when it comes to the state standards, instructional materials, and other issues affecting the quality of classroom instruction. (CSTA is a 501(c)(3) organization (Tax ID: 94-2926545), and donations made to CSTA are tax-deductible.)

If you are not a current CSTA member, consider joining and be part of a network of talented and dedicated science educators dedicated to Promoting High Quality Science EducationJoin Here!

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th-grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is Past-President of CSTA.

One Response

  1. Lisa,

    Yes this was news to me! Thank you so much for sharing all the good work done by CSTA.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.