May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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!

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

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

One Response

  1. Lisa,

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

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CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS 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.

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.