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: Thursday, January 26th, 2017
California Alternate Assessment for Science Training Sample Is Here!
The training test for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science is now available on the CAASPP Portal CAAs Web page! This training test is the same type of embedded performance task (PT) that will be administered during this year’s pilot CAA for Science. Designed to be administered one on one, the training test PT is nonsecure and for use in preparing for the pilot CAA for Science.
The training test is aligned with the grade five California Next Generation Science Standards but can be used by students in any of the tested grades to familiarize both educators, students, parents, and stakeholders with the testing format of the pilot. The CDE is preparing a letter for LEAs to use to inform parents about this innovative test and the availability of the training test. Learn More…
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!
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…
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…
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.