January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

What’s Your 2015 Resolution?

Posted: Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

I heard a story on the radio about New Year’s Resolutions. It seems that about 44% of people make resolutions each year with 42% of them self-reporting that they’ve kept the resolution all year. That means about 18% of us make and keep a resolution each year. While the success rate isn’t all that high, the researcher being interviewed seemed to think that action of making a resolution is still a good thing. It helps us be intentional about our goals and actions, or at least our intended goals and actions! She seemed to think that simply stating your resolution and trying to keep it helped us move in our desired direction.

With that in mind, what is your professional resolution for 2015? Will you read an article related to teaching science each month? Support a colleague? Be a Master Teacher for a student teacher? Serve on a committee at school or the district? Share your expertise with others by presenting a workshop at the CSTA conference in Sacramento or writing an article for California Classroom Science (CCS)? Get better connected to other science education professionals? Try something new to help you transition to NGSS? Apply to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors?

Whatever your science education resolution is for 2015, CSTA can help. 

Read an article related to science teaching each monthCCS comes out every month. The issues have articles about pedagogy, science lesson/unit ideas and science content. The issues are available on the website and are emailed to subscribers each month.

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Support a colleague or serve as a Master Teacher for a student teacher – Many of our loyal CCS readers are veteran teachers with lots of expertise to share with others. If you find yourself in the position of mentoring new teachers either officially as a science coach/TOSA/BTSA provider or as a Master Teacher, you may find this back issue of the CSTA California Journal of Science Education to be useful. There have been numerous articles in CCS over the years which provide you with pointers to help you mentor and support colleagues. All of us need mentors, and when we’ve reached a certain level we are able to turn around to mentor others.

Serve on a committee – Your department chair, site administrator or district curriculum specialists can best point you in the direction of how to serve on committees at school or in the district. As your sites transition to NGSS there will likely be many opportunities to get involved. If you’ve been staying abreast of NGSS activities in the state, been reading CSTA’s NGSS website and its links, attended NGSS statewide rollouts, then you may be in a position to help with those efforts. CSTA also has committees for which you can volunteer.

Share your expertise: present or publish with CSTA – Think of the things you do in your classroom that work really well. It might be a teaching strategy, a unit that links science and Common Core, it might be some amazing engineering challenge. Please consider doing a workshop on that topic at the upcoming conference. Did you know that CSTA members who present at the CSTA Conference get reduced registration rates? The call for workshop proposals (due February 13th) and short-course proposals (due January 15th) are now available. If you’ve never presented before, consider presenting with a colleague (it’s less intimidating that way).

If you aren’t ready for a live 60-minute workshop on the topic perhaps you might want to write about the things that work really well for you in your classroom. An article submission for CCS could be the way to go. Article submission guidelines are available on the CSTA website.

Get connected to other science education professionals – CSTA has several Facebook groups. The intent is to share good ideas, ask for advice and advertise opportunities. Join one of the groups and become better connected to what’s happening for California science educators.

Try something to transition to NGSS –  CSTA’s NGSS website is filled with information and timelines related to NGSS. There is also a link to an NGSS blog with articles that colleagues have written about their efforts to shift towards the 3-dimensional practices associated with NGSS. Most of us are not jumping into the deep end of NGSS, but rather we are taking baby steps by implementing the science and engineering practices to existing lessons or adding engineering to our classes.

Apply to serve on the CSTA Board of Directors – The Board of Directors is currently seeking nominations for President-Elect, Secretary, 2-year College Director, Middle School Director, Primary Director and Region1 Director (representing Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, Yuba counties) and Region 3 Director (representing Fresno, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Ventura counties). Position descriptions and the nomination/application process are available online. Consider giving your time and expertise to serve on the Board. Nominations are due January 31st.

Kudos to you for whatever professional resolution you decide to make this year. As we continue to grow as professionals and strengthen our level of professional engagement everyone benefits. We push ourselves to continuously improve, we support each other, and our students are the benefactors of our efforts.  Good luck – I hope you are part of the 18% who are able to fulfill your resolution, but even if you don’t fully meet the ambitious resolution you set, I hope you make progress towards it. Happy New Year!

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

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!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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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…

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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

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…

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.

Science Education Policy Update

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.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.