Contra Costa County Office of Education

            January 25, 2013 

STEAM Masthead
Featured Sections
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development
Grants and Scholarships
Classroom Resources
Student Opportunities.
Choose Civility
Join Our Mailing List
STEAM News and Events 




Moving STEM to STEAM is essential to ensure that all students are ready to embrace the challenges of the future. Newsweek reported in July 2010 that "1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 "leadership competency" of the future." As educators, we need to provide opportunities for students to innovate and create. This article from 
Innovation Excellence 
includes 30 ways creativity can be promoted in the classroom.

 Join us for th3rd annual San Francisco CCCOE STEAM Colloquium and see how educators are integrating STEAM into the classroom to engage all students. The day includes keynote presentations and breakout sessions about engaging students in STEAM, developing STEAM programs and integrating STEAM with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. This outstanding program will take place on February 8, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center, San Ramon 


Registration is $50 per person, and $30 per person for teams of three (pre-registered at same time) For questions contact Hilary Dito at (925) 942-3396, and be sure to follow STEAM Colloquium updates on its Web page and Twitter hashtag #steamcolloq.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)


The second and final public draft of the NGSS was released on January 8, 2013 and can be accessed on their website until January 29. Review the standards and comment on them.


Please review the K-12 Framework for Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas'  Web page as a tool to facilitate understanding of the NGSS.  There are numerous resources available on the CDE's NGSS  Web page and the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) NGSS Web page to assist you with your efforts.


NSTA has hosted several Web seminars to prepare educators for the NGSS and implementation of the scientific and engineering practices. The "Prepare for the NGSS" series can is archived on their Web page.


To receive updates on the NGSS, join the California Department of Education's mailing list by sending a blank email message to 

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

Cool Tools Conference

The Cool Tools annual conference is on Saturday, Feb. 2. Attendees get to attend two morning sessions as well as one 2 1/2 hour hands-on afternoon session (continental breakfast and lunch are included). At $75, this mini-conference is a bargain. There are lots of amazing prizes at the end of the day, and many of our teachers appreciate the opportunity to network with other educators from the Bay Area. 


Registration is now open on Eventbrite, and we encourage you to share the registration link with your sites and other contacts.

NASA's SOFIA Mission and Active Astronomy in the Classroom Engage Your Students in Science Through Active Astronomy! NASA's SOFIA Mission and Active Astronomy in the Classroom is a teacher professional development opportunity from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the SETI Institute, and Project ASTRO. The free program will be held on Saturday, February 9; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., at the SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View.

In this workshop learn some hands-on and demonstration activities designed to complement instruction on the electromagnetic spectrum for middle and high school students. Each activity is designed to take 1-2 class periods. The workshop is focused on 5th-12th grade teachers, as well as interested educators of all grade levels

For more information and to register, visit their website.

2013 East Bay Business/Education Leadership Summit

The East Bay Business/Education Leadership Summit will focus on increasing the region's ability to supply skilled workers through purposeful alignment of high-school transformation strategies with post-secondary education & training that links learning to the East Bay economy in high-wage, high-skill, high-demand sectors. Learn about the thriving systems that are preparing students for success in the STEM workplace and build connections between education, workforce development, and the economy to enable our region--and the state--to have a more competitive global presence. 


The Summit will be held on Wednesday, February 27th, at the Hilton Concord, from 7:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit their website. 

Bay Area Earth Science Institute (BAESI) Workshops

The BAESI workshops, for teachers of grades 4-12, address California science standards and present a blend of science concepts and ready-to-use classroom activities for teaching them.   


The day-long workshops will be held on the San Jose State University campus or at the  Chevron Headquarters in San Ramon.  

The spring schedule is as follows:

February 2, Discussing Evolution in the Classroom, SJSU; 

March 16, Coral Reefs, SJSU; 

March 23, Hayward Fault trip (with a half-day at Chevron, San Ramon);

April 6, Mt. Diablo to Marin Field Trip;

May 18, The Changing Future of Energy, Chevron.


To register online, visit their website. For more information contact: Ellen Metzger at (408) 924-5048.  

STEM Workshops

CTAP Region IV is hosting a series of STEM workshops.  The presenter is Geoff Belleau from Solano County Office of Education.  These workshops are being offered through Adobe Connect, through the MyCTAP site.  To see what is currently being offered through MyCTAP and for more information, visit their website.

IISME Summer Fellowship

Are you ready to experience a summer of innovation, collaboration,
renewed energy and professional growth? Apply for an IISME Summer Fellowship!  The IISME Summer Fellowship Program places
eligible K-16 teachers from all disciplines into high-performance industry and research environments for the summer. Teachers work full-time for eight weeks, complete a project for their host organization, and are paid $8,200 for their work. Teachers devote 10% of their paid time to focus on how they will transfer their Summer Fellowship experience back to their students and colleagues. 
For more information about the IISME Summer Fellowship Program and to apply, please visit their websiteApplications are now open and educators are encouraged to apply by February 15, 2013 to increase their chances of being selected in this competitive process. To attend a FREE Applicant Support Session, please register here for the date and location that is right for you! 

The Contra Costa County 2013 Science and Engineering Fair will be held March 21-23, at Los Medanos College, in Pittsburg. Judges are needed to ensure the 400+ science fair projects, expected to be submitted by middle and high school students this year, have an opportunity to be reviewed by our valued community members, including business and industry.


The full day of judging is scheduled for Friday, March 22, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Judges will be welcomed with breakfast and an orientation at 7:00 a.m., and the day concludes around 3:00 p.m. Your commitment of 8 hours is critical to the process which includes morning review of poster boards and afternoon interviews with students. A complimentary lunch is also provided.


If you are interested in more details about the role of the judges, you may go to the Contra Costa Science Fair websitePlease mark your calendar today for 2013's Science Fair judging day, and respond to the quick enrollment survey for judges. 

CuriOdyssey is currently accepting applications and hiring for Summer Science Day Camp Leaders. This is a seasonal full-time position starting on June 3rd and ending August 23rd. For more information, visit their website. 

Grants and Scholarships
California Girls in STEM Mini-Grants

The California Girls in STEM (CalGirlS) Collaborative is offering mini-grants to girl-serving STEM-focused programs to support collaboration, address gaps and overlaps in service, and share exemplary practices.

Mini-grant projects must include exemplary practices in informal learning, evaluation and assessment, or provide support for serving underrepresented girls in STEM. Mini-grants are a small amount of seed funding and are not intended to fully fund entire projects. The maximum mini-grant award is $1000.


You can find more information and apply online. Deadline for applications is February 1. 

Classroom Resources
2013 Engineers Week

Join the National Engineers Week Foundation for 2013 Engineers Week celebration. From February 17-23 celebrate the positive contributions engineers make to society. Order your free Engineers Week Volunteer kit today at this website to get activities and posters. 

Junior Achievement (JA) Finance Park

Taking students into the world of business, JA Finance Park is a month-long economics education program that introduces personal financial planning and career exploration. It is designed to be taught to middle grade and high school students by classroom teachers. At the culmination of this program, students visit JA Finance Park to put into practice what they've learned about economic options and the principles of budgeting. Assisted by their teachers and a staff of trained volunteers, they have the opportunity to actually develop and commit to a personal budget.


For more information about this program, visit their website 

Student Opportunities
It Takes a Community! Education Summit
Students in 7-12th grade are invited to It Takes a Community! Education Summit. This FREE event for first-generation, African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander students and their families will include workshops on STEM careers, preparing for college, financial aid, and more. The Summit will be held on Saturday, February 23, from 8:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m. at California State University East Bay, Hayward
Attendees can register on their websiteThere are bus scholarships available to help transport classes of students. If you are in Contra Costa County and would like to apply for a bus scholarship, contact Hilary Dito.  
SHADE Poster Contest,

Students in grades K-8 are invited to enter the 2013 SunWise with SHADE Poster Contest, organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SunWise program and the SHADE Foundation of America. Original, hand-drawn posters must show five sun safety action steps. Entries must be received by April 1, 2013. For more information and classroom resources, visit their website.

The Clean Tech Competition

The Clean Tech Competition, by Applied Materials, is your chance to help solve the world's water problems. Enter for a chance to win great prizes and scholarships in the 2012-2013 Competition. Teams identify one of the world's critical clean water access problems and design a clean energy technology solution. Register here before the February 27 deadline.

MathMovesUŽ Middle School Grant and Scholarship Program

Raytheon Company is calling for submissions to its 2012-13 MathMovesUŽ Middle School Grant and Scholarship Program. To participate, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students nationwide are invited to illustrate the importance of math in the mission to Mars and in space exploration. 


Applications will be accepted through Feb. 8.  For more information about the MathMovesU Middle School Grant and Scholarship Program, including eligibility and submission requirements, please visit their website.

Free Online Learning Games 

iON Future is a suite of free online learning games designed for middle school to early high school-age youth to spark their interest in STEM careers. Develop by Change the Equation, a coalition of business leaders aligned to improve STEM learning in the U.S., iON Future aims to inspire youth to pursue STEM fields.

Do Something Disaster Relief Grants 

If you are under 25 years old and have an idea to help those recently affected by domestic disasters, like the tornadoes rippling across the deep South or Texas wildfires, but need money to help make it happen, you are eligible to apply for a Do Something Disaster Relief Grant. Grants are available in amounts of $500. The application deadline is June 15.


Calling all science students and teachers!  Looking for a cool assignment for science class -- and a way for students to earn cash for higher education savings? Let Spongelab help out! Spongelab wants education to be about what you can imagine and create -- so are pleased to introduce the first Spongelab Student Awards: a set of cash prizes for students involved in STEM education initiatives.


The submission deadline is April 15, winners will be announced in May. For more information, please visit their website. 

Choose Civility

Accept and Give Praise - The Choose Civility Principle for January


"I can live for two months on a good compliment." - Mark Twain


Accepting and giving praise has many benefits and can be a powerful relationship builder with family, friends, and co-workers. We can learn to embrace positive feedback and accept compliments graciously by giving thoughtful and sincere compliments to others. According to P.M. Forni,  A compliment is a gift, one we are expected to acknowledge with the simple courtesy of a firm and heartfelt, "Thank you." *


Following are helpful guidelines for delivering praise.**


1.   Be genuinely appreciative. While it is important to recognize the true home runs of performance, don't forget those who plug along solidly every day who are committed to doing a good job.


2.   Deliver praise from your heart. Your appreciation of their efforts must be evident in your facial expression, your tone of voice, and how you phrase your praise.


3.   Deliver praise as soon as possible. Genuine praise helps people feel good about themselves and even more committed to doing a good job.


4.   Make praise specific by describing the exact behavior or skill along with your expression of appreciation.


5.   Praise people publicly. Employees feel even better as they are recognized in front of their peers. It can take only seconds to deliver, yet the impact of consistent genuine, appropriate praise can be immediate and long term.


Action Step: One of the best ways to become comfortable giving and receiving praise is to practice. Today, select five people to acknowledge with sincere praise.


*Excerpt from P.M. Forni's book, Choosing Civility.

**Source: Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness


About CCCOE's Monthly Focus

Choosing Civility, by Dr. P.M. Forni, lists 25 rules of considerate conduct. Over this school year, the CCCOE will consider ten of these principles. For additional information about our Choose Civility initiative, please visit our website.

The CCCOE STEAM enews is published regularly, highlighting news, events, and resources that enhance STEAM education for all students. If you received the STEAM enews from a colleague, please join our mailing list to continue receiving updates. This publication does not signify that the Contra Costa County Office of Education endorses the event or program mentioned.


For more information regarding CCCOE STEAM, please visit our website.



Hilary Haugen Dito
CCCOE STEAM Coordinator




Associate Superintendent, Pamela Comfort, Ed.D.



STEAM Coordinator, Hilary Haugen Dito



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