2021 California Science Education Conference

Primary and Upper Elementary Pathways

How to Apply - A Team Approach

CSTA is seeking teams of 3 - 5 consisting of a combination of TK-2 (for the Primary Pathway) and Grade 3-5 (for the Upper Elementary Pathway) teachers and an administrator/TOSA/specialist from the same district who commit to participation and attendance in all nine hours of the program. Applications will be accepted on a priority admission described below. Once accepted, teams have 10 business days to complete the conference registration.

Should openings become available, wait listed teams/individuals will be invited to participate.

In order to maximize participation from districts around the state, priority for admission will be given in the following order:

  1. Date of application.
  2. The first team of 3 - 5 consisting of a combination of TK-2 teachers, grade 3-5 teachers, and an administrator/TOSA/specialist applying from a district.
  3. Other teams from districts already accepted for participation and/or teams without an administrator.
  4. Individuals or smaller teams.

Capacity: 30 participants per pathway

TK-2 Application
Grade 3-5


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Science Pathways: Supporting Elementary Teachers

As California educators strive to provide a twenty-first century education for all students, there is nothing more important than a strong foundation in science education. The time to nurture and develop this foundation is at the beginning, as students enter primary grades. It is essential for the youngest of our students to develop scientific literacy and interest from the start. As we focus priority on our youngest students, there are few missions more urgent to long-term educational goals than equipping primary and upper elementary grade teachers with science content knowledge and pedagogical strategies to kindle the love of science in their students and set a course for lifelong learning.

To that end, the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) has created two conferences within the conference! These compact and powerful nine hour professional development courses are specially designed for teachers of TK-2 and 3-5 to help them integrate NGSS, CCSS, and ELD standards into their daily curriculum. These courses will provide thorough grounding in science instruction and fortify teachers with an understanding of the three dimensional learning associated with NGSS.

NGSS Pathways for Primary and Upper Elementary Educators

Friday, October 21, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Opening Keynote: NGSS for All Students

Rita Januszyk

Rita Januszyk, 4th Grade Teacher, Gower West Elementary in Willowbrook, IL; Writer for the NGSS; and Member of the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team

The Next Generation Science Standards offer a vision for learning science and engineering for all students, but how do we reach the vision? By using the book NGSS for All Students as a resource, we will examine instructional shifts necessary to prepare all your students for college and careers and develop an understanding of how to provide access by engaging students in three-dimensional learning with research-based strategies. Participants will leave with a practical and tangible route toward effective science instruction with diverse student groups.

About Rita Januszyk

Rita Januszyk has been a teacher at Gower District 62 in Willowbrook, Illinois since 1985, and is currently a 4th grade self-contained classroom teacher. From 1988 to 2002, she served as Science Coordinator of the Gower District 62 Curriculum Council. During that same period, from 1994 to 2002, Ms. Januszyk taught science in grades 1-5 for Gower and served as the district's Enrichment Coordinator.

Friday, October 21, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Primary Pathway (Grades TK-2): NGSS and English Language Learners
  • Dr. Maria Simani, California Science Framework Writer and Statewide Director of the California Science Project
  • Joanna Totino, Bay Area Science Project
Upper Elementary Pathway (Grades 3-5): Equity and Access in Engineering
  • Nia Keith, Engineering is Elementary
  • Heather Glanz, Rio Seco Elementary, Santee School District

Saturday, October 22, 7:30 am - 8:00 am

Light Breakfast

Saturday, October 22, 8:00 am - 11:30 am

Primary Pathway: Equity and Access in Engineering
  • Nia Keith, Engineering is Elementary
  • Michelle French, Sonoma County Office of Education
Upper Elementary Pathway: Integrating Science and Common Core
  • Dr. Susan Gomez-Zwiep, California Science Framework Committee Member; Science Education Professor, CSU, Long Beach; and Regional Director, K-12 Alliance/WestEd
  • Crystal Howe, TK-12 Science Resource Teacher, San Diego Unified School District CREEC Coordinator, and San Diego State University Noyce Master Teaching Fellow

Sunday, October 23, 9:45 am - 12:45 pm

Primary Pathway: Integrating NGSS into the Primary Classroom: Access for All
  • Michelle French, Sonoma County Office of Education
  • Kirsten Franklin, TOSA, Petaluma City School District
Upper Elementary Pathway: 3-Dimensional NGSS Instruction in the Upper Elementary Classroom
  • Amy Argento, Resource Teacher, Torrance Unified School District
  • Tera Black, Resource Teacher, Torrance Unified School District
  • Marissa Stillittano, Resource Teacher, Torrance Unified School District

Learning Outcomes

  • Teachers will actively practice model lessons which promote the 21st Century Skills of collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking. After working interactively with our presenter team and their colleagues, teachers will leave the session prepared to take initial steps in integrating CCSS and the three dimensions of NGSS.
  • Administrators will leave with an understanding of how they might support teachers as they begin to integrate the NGSS into their daily lessons. By understanding the vision and architecture of NGSS, teams will develop the pedagogical tools and strategies to make science come alive in primary classrooms!


The cost of participation for this event is conference registration fees + $40 to cover materials fees and breakfast on Saturday. Participants will also have access to 2016 California Science Education Conference events included with their registration.

Additional costs may include:

  • Related travel and lodging costs
  • Meals


Upcoming Conferences

  • 2022 Conference
    October 14-16, 2022
    Palm Springs, CA

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