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Hello, and happy Labor Day, Colorado Science Educators! As a new school is getting underway, I just want to take a moment and say THANK YOU for everything you do for Colorado students. Your efforts, in and out of the classroom, make our state a better place and help students from pre-K to college have a better experience in the sciences! The more teachers I meet, the more I am amazed at the dynamic, incredible things that are happening in science classrooms all over Colorado. Keep it up!
It’s been a busy summer for me, personally, and for science education in Colorado! I was lucky to get to attend the ChemEd conference in Naperville, IL, to present at a few workshops and to learn from some incredible chemistry educators from all over the world. If you teach chemistry, I can’t recommend either ChemEd or the BCCE (Biennial Conference on Chemical Education) conferences enough! Your CAST board and I have also been in close touch with the Colorado Department of Education, so that we can bring you updates on the roll-out for the 2020 state science standards. Through our work with Maya Garcia, the science content specialist at CDE, we believe that the growth in state science education is positive and headed in the right direction!
As you start your school year in your classrooms, don’t forget to check with CAST on opportunities for professional development, as well as grants to help you purchase supplies, training, or other exciting science material for your students! We have many grants and awards available for everyone from pre-service teachers to lifelong educators, and many will be opening for nominations in the next several weeks, to be awarded at the Colorado Science Conference in November.
Speaking of CSC, don’t forget to clear your schedule and request a sub for Friday, November 8th! This is the largest science education conference in Colorado, with workshops on everything from NGSS implementation to gamify-ing your classroom. This is a great opportunity to network, learn, and develop new ideas in your practice as an educator. Also held during the conference is our annual CAST general membership meeting, during which we’ll be discussing changes to the constitution and by-laws, as well as discussing exciting upcoming events for CAST This year’s keynote speaker is a long-time chemistry education rockstar, Lee Marek, from the Chicago area. Lee has been a talented high school and college chemistry educator, as well as a regular guest on the Tonight Show with David Letterman, sharing his passion for chemistry demonstrations. It’s sure to be an exciting, inspiring event!
Greetings, CAST members and guests! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I know that we at CAST have a LOT to be thankful for this year!
Firstly, THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Colorado Science Conference on November 9th, it was a huge success! I’d also like to give a big thank you to all of the presenters, the CSC Planning Committee, and to my fellow CAST Board Members who were all a large part of why this year’s conference was such a success. This year’s conference was filled with amazing things such as Temple Grandin’s inspiring keynote address, the incredible award winners, but for me the most incredible thing was just walking through the presentation hallways and seeing all of the engaged, powerful talks going on! Everything from the power of virtual/augmented reality in the classroom, to fun ways of engaging students through “Escape Classrooms”, to the exciting future of science education in our beautiful state of Colorado. I was moved by how eager everyone was in the rooms I passed, both to learn and to share learning with one another. I am excited to see where the future takes us!
It’s an auspicious day for science, with the Mars InSight lander having successfully made its way 300 million miles to settle gently onto the flat surface of Elysium Planitia on our ruddy-colored celestial neighbor. Even with my students riled up and struggling to focus after their weeklong holiday, I was moved by how inspired and excited they were to learn about and watch the landing today. It’s that inspiration, in our students, in our classrooms, that will truly be the fuel that takes humanity farther than it has ever travelled in the next century. Thank you for everything that you all do to ignite and fan those flames of excitement about science in your students!
Sincerely yours in science,
Ryan Johnson, CAST President
Welcome to the CAST Blog. Several members have requested that the "Ramblings" be revived. So...board members will periodically be sharing their thoughts and musings on a regular basis.
CAST Presidential Ramblings, July 2018
Hello, CAST members!! Thank you for all you do for science education in Colorado, and for our science scholars of all ages! My name is Ryan Johnson, the current President of CAST. I am a chemistry educator at Doherty High School in Colorado Springs, and am honored to serve on the CAST Board of Directors to further the message of the importance of science education in our beautiful state. Together with the amazing Board of CAST and the new President-Elect, Jami Seabolt, I am excited to continue to work with and for you to bring powerful development and opportunities to science educators throughout Colorado.
As CAST is a chapter of the National Science Teachers’ Association, I had the privilege of attending the NSTA National Congress on Science Education this past month in Little Rock, Arkansas, and wanted to report back to you all a little on the issues surrounding our profession from our colleagues across the country. This meeting takes place annually for chapters and associated groups of NSTA to come together, address any pressing matters, and direct the goals of NSTA for the coming year. As a fairly new member of CAST, and my first time to the National Congress, it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest! But it was a wonderful opportunity, and I enjoyed working with affiliate members from states ranging from Oregon and Washington, to Mississippi and Louisiana. It was heartening to hear of the struggles and successes that other chapters are encountering throughout the country! I learned about the practices of many other state organizations, and am very excited to bring some of those ideas back to Colorado with me, to help connect with you, our members, and all science education professionals throughout our state. The favor I need from you is for you to go GET someone, another science educator from your department or your school, and bring them to CAST! Bring them to the Colorado Science Conference in the fall, or to a Region meeting, or have them follow us on Twitter or Facebook! So many people have never even hear of CAST and what we offer, so speak out!
How often have you heard a colleague, or maybe even yourself, utter the phrase “I am just a teacher”? I know I’ve probably done exactly that before, either to a friend or to myself. It’s easy to minimize ourselves and our incredible profession because so much of what we do is behind the scenes, working late in the classroom, or endless grading at the kitchen table in our homes. I would challenge you all to change that paradigm. We are NOT “just teachers”, we have the awesome opportunity to help kids bridge the gap between “I can’t” and “I CAN!” We are the ultimate change agents, and need to harness our position to speak up and out for science education. We cannot be curmudgeonly, grumbling about low pay, about ignorance, or that our administration doesn’t get it. We have to show what “professional” looks like and teach curiosity, inside and outside the 4 walls of our classrooms!
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