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: 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.
- Collaboration 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:
- CSTA Position Statement on Accountability
- CSTA Position Statement on Science Assessment
- CSTA Position Statement on Climate Change
- CSTA Position Statement on Professional Learning
- CSTA Position Statement on Preparation of Teachers
- CSTA Position on Instructional Time for High-Quality Science
- CSTA Position Statement on STEM Career Pathways
- CSTA Policy Statement on “200” Score Linked to Science CSTs
- Policy Statement on the Teaching of Evolution
- Position Statement on Science Standards
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?
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 Education. Join Here!
Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.
For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.
The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Joseph Calmer
Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”
I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. Learn More…