Contra Costa County Office of Education

            March 21, 2013 

STEAM Masthead
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Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development
Upcoming Events
Classroom Resources
Student Opportunities.
Choose Civility
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STEAM News and Events 




Thank you to all who made the 2013 SF Bay Area STEAM Colloquium a success. The event included breakout sessions, exhibits and displays of local STEAM resources, and a keynote address on integrating STEAM across the curriculum. Plan to share your best practices at next year's colloquium. Look for a save-the-date email and call for proposal in the summer. The planning committee consisting of educators from Contra Costa County Office of Education, Alameda County Office of Education, and Gateways East Bay STEM Network developed an exceptional day. I would especially like to thank Chevron, Gateways East Bay STEM Network, Pearson, and Hotmath for their sponsorship. Without their support, this event could not take place. Please contact me if you would like to be a sponsor for next year.

We are eagerly awaiting the release of the Next Generation Science Standards. Look for them in a few weeks. The Contra Costa County Office of Education will be hosting a It Takes a Village: How Science Supports the Implementation of the Common Core. This Teacher Forum  on May 9, and will provide participants with an overview of the NGSS and how to integrate CCSS into the science curriculum.


As we approach the end of the school year, many programs are accepting applications for the summer. Check out the opportunities for educators, parents, and students to engage in STEAM. 

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

Accessing Our Complex Language

The Bay Area Mathematics Project, The Bay Area Science Project, and The Bay Area Writing Project are pleased to present a free Saturday Seminar: Accessing Our Complex Language. Join other educators to examine text complexity across disciplines.

This seminar will be held on March 23, from 8:45 a.m.-12:40 p.m. at Albany High School, in Albany. Attendees can register on 
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:

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


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

Geoscape Bay Area For Earth Science Teachers
Earth science teachers are invited to a workshop for science teachers about Earth sciences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here you will learn about current scientific research and understanding of the local geoscape. A geoscape is a way to look at the geological landscape - water resources, natural hazards, and earth resources. This workshop is to enhance your skills, confidence, and knowledge of Earth sciences and invigorate classroom instruction, aligned with California State content standards.
The eight-day summer workshop will run July 8-11 and July 15-18 (Monday through Thursday, all day), at Stanford University. For more information, visit their website. Applications are due April 1.
The second annual Integrated Learning Summer Institute, Inventing Our Future, will be held at the beautiful Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland on August 13-15, 2013. For more info, visit their Web page. 
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is now registering teachers for the 2013 TRA. The TRA offers middle school, high school, and community college faculty unique professional development experiences at LLNL. TRA teachers participate in a continuum of standards-based instruction, enabling them to progress from novice to mastery in exciting scientific disciplines while they experience the application of real world science in an environment teachers seldom experience.


There is a $20 registration fee for hospitality. Courses include biotechnology, computer modeling, fusion and astrophysics, and technical writing for science class. Visit their Web pages to view the schedule and to register

The Center for Probing the Nanoscale (CPN) at Stanford University offers a one-week Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers (SIMST) annually. At the Institute, teachers learn about the physical concepts underlying nanotechnology and nanoscience in simple terms. Daily sessions focus on content lectures and inquiry-based modules that explicitly address California's 5-8th grade physical science content standards. Teachers will also receive a hands-on activity kit with many fun activities that bring nanoscience into the classroom. 


For more information, visit their websiteApplication deadline is May 7.  

Cal Alive! is offering summer professional development for K-12 Educators. 2013 Sierra Nevada Climate Change Institute will occur on June 21-23 & 28-30 right outside of Yosemite National Park. Participants will learn about the fundamentals of atmospheric science, the greenhouse effect, and the climate consequences of the past 150 years of human activities. The program will also prepare teachers to facilitate an action project that focuses on local solutions to global climate issues. 


Room and board is included, and the course is only $99 if teachers sign-up before March 31st! Educators will receive a resource booklet with activities for students in grades 6-12. For more information, visit their website.  

Participants in the 2013 Bay Area Field Journaling Workshop will visit various urban wilderness regions in the East Bay and San Francisco on June 24-26. Instructors Emilie Lygren and Jack Laws will show teachers how to get their students to be accurate observers of the natural world through field sketching and creative writing activities. Participants will receive a teacher guide to help them implement journaling in their curriculum. 


This program is aligned to standards for students in grades 2-6. Registration is only $30. Learn more by visiting their website.  

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 website. Applications are now open.

Join CalSAC STEM trainers for a three-hour hands-on science training, and prepare your staff to lead fun and engaging STEM activities! CalSAC STEM trainers will lead program staff through Design It! and Explore It, as well as activities such as Balls and Tracks, Straw Rockets and Sinking and Floating, while digging deeper into best practices for bringing STEM learning to life.  


For questions or to build your own training series just for your program staff, please contact Zak Parpia at (510) 444-4622, x103. You can register for trainings on their website. Trainings are $20 each.  

This report concludes a ten-month study of experienced afterschool providers and supports and how STEM can impact programs. 

Upcoming Events

The 9th annual Young Children's Issues Forum

Speak Out for Children: Educate and Advocate, is the title of this year's 
9th annual Young Children's Issues Forum. Annually, this free program brings together state legislators, local elected officials, and community members to discuss current children's issues.


This year's Forum will be held on Saturday, March 23, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Willow Pass Community Center, in Concord. Visit their Web page for more information. This is free event, but attendees must register 

High School and Beyond

CCCOE, Los Medanos College, and Pittsburg Unified School District are proud to present this free event for 7th and 8th grade students and their parents and teachers. This day is filled with workshops about getting ready for high school, college, and careers!


High School and Beyond will be held on Saturday, April 20, 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., at Los Medanos College. Admission is free, but all attendees must registerFor additional program information, contact Louise Barbe. For information regarding transportation scholarships for groups, please contact Hilary Dito. 

Literacy in the Content Areas

The Common Core State Standards were designed to ensure that they were clear, consistent, rigorous, and relevant. All are undeniably important when it comes to preparing students to successfully meet the demands of college and the workplace. Participants in this session will examine the ELA and Literacy Standards in the content areas of history/social studies, science, and technical subjects to gain an understanding of what the standards demand of students in order to be college and career ready in these areas. Rene Doran and Nicole Padoan, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, will be presenting.


The program, focusing on 6-12 grade teachers, will be held on April 24, 12:30-3:30 p.m., at the CCCOE, Pleasant Hill. To register for the free event, contact Marsha Tokuyoshi.

National Robotics Week

National Robotics Week is held April 6-14. Recognizing robotics during this week assists with the following:
  • Celebrate the U.S. as a leader in robotics technology development
  • Educate the public about how robotics technology impacts society, both now and in the future
  • Advocate for increased funding for robotics technology research and development
  • Inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in robotics and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math-related fields
For more information, visit their website.

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. 

Classroom Resources  
Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) 

RAFT provides creative ideas, affordable project materials, pre-packaged activity kits, one-on-one mentoring, and professional development for educators who believe in the power of hands-on teaching. RAFT has lessons, activities, and idea sheets to get you started in STEAM. You can visit one of the Bay Area locations or shop online. 

Stanford Engineering Everywhere

For the first time in its history, Stanford University is offering some of its most popular engineering classes free of charge to students and educators around the world. View lecture videos, handouts, reading lists, and more. Visit the program's website to access the classes.

Junior Achievement (JA) of Northern California 

Junior Achievement of Northern California offers K-12 programs to local schools at no cost. Curriculum includes STEM Connections, brings volunteers into the classroom, and align to standards. To find out about student opportunities or to request a JA volunteer, go to their websiteFor more information about Junior Achievement and to explore the curriculum, visit this Web page

Art Think SF MOMA 

Art Think SF MOMA is an on-line experience for students to explore art and engage in integrated lessons. Check out this tool on their websiteAnd, save the date for a professional development opportunity to explore how you can use this tool in your class at CCCOE on May 23. Contact Hilary Dito, at (925) 942-3396 for more information.

Get your students interested in writing Code., the new non-profit aimed at encouraging computer science education launched last month by entrepreneur and investor brothers Ali and Hadi Partovi, has assembled an all-star group of the world's most well-known and successful folks with programming skills to talk about how learning to code has changed their lives - and how it isn't quite as hard as people might think. 

Student Opportunities

Splash is the program that brings high school and middle school students from everywhere to Stanford's campus for a two-day-learning extravaganza. Classes are taught by Stanford undergraduates, graduate students, and other community members. Students can take up to 14 hours of classes for $40. Parents can participate in Stanford Splash Parents' Program, as well. Sign up for the next Slash weekend (April 13-14) now, at this website

The Google Science Fair 

This online science competition, in partnership with CERN, LEGO, National Geographic, and Scientific American, is open to young people aged 13 to 18 from around the world - working as an individual or in a team of up to 3. It offers students the chance to explore an area of science that they're passionate about - and be in with a chance of winning life-changing prizes


Visit their website for all the details. All projects must be submitted by April 30.

Young Scientist Challenge 

Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge encourages young people to solve everyday problems using science and innovation. Students must create a one- to-two-minute video describing a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact an everyday problem related to how we live, how we work, or how we play. 


The challenge is open to students in grades 5-8. The top-10 students will receive a trip to the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, MN to compete for the chance to win $25,000! All video entries must be submitted online by April 23. Visit their website for details.

Studio G 

Studio G is a summer design and building camp for girls ages 9-12 (entering 5th, 6th, and 7th grades). Based at REALM Charter School in Berkeley and open to all, Studio G is a one-of-a-kind camp that engages young girls in hands-on building, critical creativity, playful tinkering, problem-solving, and meaningful making. To see the summer schedule and to register, visit their website. 

STEM Summer Camps 

Contra Costa County Office of Education partners with the Contra Costa Economic Partnership and local businesses to host several STEM Summer Camps. Check out the website for dates and details. Registration will open soon.

SunWise with 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. For more information and to obtain classroom resources, go to the SunWise website.

iON Future

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 we 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 

Be Inclusive - The Choose Civility Principle for March


"It takes a variety of people to challenge us, encourage us, promote us, and most of all, help us achieve a broader dimension of ourselves."

-Glenn Van Ekeren


"One of our strongest yearnings is to be accepted by others. We love being welcomed by individuals, and we delight in the feeling of belonging to a group. Being inclusive means applying the principle of respect for persons to all persons. When it comes time to show respect and consideration to others, we do not pick and choose."


Most of us can remember times growing up when we were excluded by others - not being chosen for a particular team, not being invited to a party, being selectively ignored in a conversation, or sitting down at a table in the cafeteria only to have others get up and leave. Exclusion hurts. We should be careful never to engage in self-serving, unfair, and mean-spirited strategies of exclusion.


Unfortunately there are still cliques in our adult lives, both at work and among our friends and acquaintances. It's often easier to spend our time with others who are just like us instead of reaching out to those who are new or different.


Dr. Forni encourages us to be inclusive, and he provides a number of suggestions:

  • Evaluate your own habits and likes/dislikes with others and pick one or two to change.
  • If you are in a small group conversation, do your best to include everyone in the group and pick topics that can be enjoyed by everyone.
  • If you are the leader of a team, make sure that all team members have input.
  • If you are in charge of a social event, include one or two new people.
  • Show an interest in other cultures and get to know people from backgrounds different from your own.
  • If you speak another language, make sure to translate what is being said for those in the group who do not understand it.
  • If you are making plans with another person, be sure to include others in the group or make your arrangements privately.

Action step: Our lives are enriched when we include others who are different from ourselves. Who could you reach out to get to know today?


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

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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