Contra Costa County Office of Education

                      March 2014

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



Thank you to all who made the 4th annual SF Bay Area STEAM Colloquium: Full STEAM Ahead: at the Corner of Common Core and STEAM a success. More than 300 educators participated in 30 breakout sessions, featured speakers, and the resource fair. Presentations and resources can be found at the STEAM Colloquium website.


Plan to share your best practices in STEAM at the 2015 STEAM Colloquium. Look for a save-the-date email and call-for-proposal announcements in the fall. 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 and Gateways East Bay STEM Network for their sponsorship. Without their support, this event could not take place.


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

Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards

Contra Costa County Office of Education presents Common Core State Standards Professional Development Program - Constructing and Sustaining Long Term Concept Memory and Executive Functions - Cornerstone of the Common Core State Standards

Join Dr. Judy Willis, author of Learning to Love Math, in applying neuroscience research to accessing the Common Core. The application of neuroscience research to teaching offers keys to access the brain's most powerful information processing networks and to increase executive function and the construction of long-term concept memories. Dr. Willis will show participants what research reveals about how the brain constructs physical links between new information and prior knowledge to successfully capture and retain learning. Topics including the latest research on neuroplasticity, dopamine-reward memory, and the power of patterning will be linked to ready-to-use relevant classroom strategies. 


This program will take place on April 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the CCCOE. The cost is $100, and registration is open on EventbriteFor more information contact Marsha Tokuyoshi, ELA/Common Core coordinator at (925) 942-3385 or visit CCCOE's Common Core website.

Help Write NGSS Curriculum Framework

The California Department of Education and the State Board of Education are pleased to announce that they are recruiting applicants for the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee, to assist with the revision of the Science Framework for California Public Schools K-12 Science Framework. The Science Framework will incorporate and support the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools. Applications will be accepted until April 16, at 3 p.m.

Framework for New Science Assessments Released

The National Research Council (NRC) has released Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards, a framework of recommendations for the development of new science assessments. The framework includes guidance and strategies for classroom embedded and large scale assessments. The full report can be found on this website

Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

Empowering Educators

Empowering Educators is enrolling a new Cohort for June 2014. This teacher training program is designed for educators who work with at-risk students who fall within the gaps of our schools and our communities. Educators can join a cohort or attend free public workshops focused on supporting educators in creating classroom cultures that help everyone to thrive!


The Empowering Educators Cohort attends summer retreats on June 14-19 and August 13-14, receives books and classroom materials, and  receives personalized coaching experiences. To enroll in the 2014 Cohort or attend Free Public Workshops, visit their website, or contact Ellen Concepcion.

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 corporate 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 this link. Interested educators can learn more about this unique professional development opportunity by attending an online information session. Just visit to register for the date that is right for you!

UMass Nanotechnology Summer Institute

Applications are now available for the 2014 Summer Institutes in Nanotechnology. Middle and high school math, science, and technology teachers explore concepts in nanotechnology and develop lessons to integrate those concepts into classroom activities. Participants will receive a stipend for the week - July 7 to 11, at UMass Amherst


Applications are available at this Web site, and are due April 1, 2014.

Bay Area Mathematics Project (BAMP)

BAMP is hosting several workshops in the spring and summer. The Core Seminar is a free luncheon for administrators on Saturday, March 22, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Join Dr. Jane Liang, CDE Mathematics Assessment Consultant as she addresses the SBAC Assessments. For more information or to register, contact Lew Douglas at (510) 642-6280


BAMP Summer Institutes are open for registration. Workshops include:

  •  June 16- June 20: Transformational Geometry Institute for Grades 7-12 in Napa
  • June 23- June 27: Math Modeling Institute for Grades 4-8 in San Francisco
  • June 30 to July 8 (no classes on July 3 & 4): Math Modeling Institute for Grades 7-12 in Oakland
  • August 4 - August 8: Transformational Geometry Institute for Grades 7-12 in Fremont

For more workshop information, please visit their website.

Third Annual Integrated Learning Summer Institute

Save the date for Inventing our Future 2014 at the Chabot Space and Science Center, sponsored by Alameda County Office of Education. Join educators on August 12-15, 2014 while building collaborative relationships and professional practice.


The institute promotes the thoughtful alignment of content standards, assessments and powerful learning across the curriculum through an engaging and cost-effective professional development model. Inventing Our Future is a project of the Alameda County Office of Education in partnership with Contra Costa, San Francisco, Napa, Marin, Solano and San Mateo County Offices of Education, in the CCSESA Region 4. For more information, visit their website 

Global OER Remix Challenge: STE{A}M

ISKME is hosting the Global OER Remix Challenge. This opportunity for educators to find, use, remix, and share open educational resources (OER) that bring science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics in their teaching will enhance STEAM across the world. The challenge ends in June. For more information visit their

LPFI is hiring seasonal staff for its Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy. LPFI is looking for highly qualified STEM instructors and support staff for all four SMASH sites located at Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, and USC campuses. We they need three computer science instructors per site this year. SMASH Academy, a year-round academic program of the Level Playing Institute, is a three-year, rigorous education initiative that prepares talented, underrepresented youth of color to become competitive and successful in STEM at the college level for five weeks each summer beginning in the 9th grade. For more information, visit their website.

Not on the Test: The Pleasures and Uses of Mathematics

The Mathematical Science Research Institute and Berkeley City College are co-presenting a free public lecture series. Sponsored by the Simons Foundation, this series is dedicated to engaging the public with speakers who use math in their daily work and have a passion for its beauty.


The lectures will be held from 7:00 to 8:15 p.m., at the Berkeley City College Auditorium, Berkeley. For more information and to RSVP, visit their website. 

Inexpensive Technology Classes at Krause Center for Innovation (KCI)

Join the excitement! Take a FASTtech class at KCI's state-of-the-art facility located on the Foothill College campus or select an online course! These low-cost short courses enable educators to learn and enhance technology skills to support their curriculum and further inspire and engage their students. You will learn to use a variety of computer software for both your personal and professional use and can earn professional growth units.


Pay a once-per-quarter $36 basic fee plus $31 per unit tuition. For more information and to register, visit their website.

Bay Area Earth Science Institute (BAESI) Workshop - Exploring Geology at Alum Rock Park

BAESI offers free workshops for teachers of grades 4-12. This session will use San José's Alum Rock Park and Peneticia Creek as an outdoor lab to investigate stream flow, groundwater, natural springs, riparian environments, and flooding. Participants will also learn how to use the rock record to reconstruct the geologic history of an area, observe landslides on many scales, and examine the effects of a significant landslide at a former housing development.


The Workshop takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To register online, visit their websiteFor 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 14-17 and July 21-24 (Monday through Thursday, all day), at Stanford University. Teachers earn a $100 stipend. For more information, visit their website. Applications are due April 1.

2014 Teacher Research Academy (TRA)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Teacher Research Academy (TRA) is now registering teachers for the 2014 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.
Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers (SIMST) 

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. The 2014 Institute will take place July 21- 25 at Stanford University. Teachers can earn a stipend of $850.


For more information, visit their website. Application deadline is May 7. 

2014 San Francisco Bay Area Project ASTRO Introductory Workshop  

Project ASTRO is a program that matches teachers with astronomers in Bay Area schools and community organizations. Project ASTRO is looking for 3rd-9th grade teachers to work with volunteer astronomers who have a keen interest in sharing the wonders of astronomy with students. Together, teachers and their astronomer partner attend a free two-day summer workshop to learn hands-on, inquiry-based astronomy activities designed to involve students in the excitement of scientific discovery. 

The 2014 workshop is schedule for the weekend of July 25-26, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the College of San Mateo. To apply for this free program, go to the teacher information page.

The 10th annual Young Children's Issues Forum

Speak Out for Children: Educate and Advocateis the title of the 10th 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 29, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Pleasant Hill Community Center. Visit their Web page for more information. This is free event, but attendees must register.



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

Engineering Design Challenge: Free NSTA Web Seminars

NSTA is hosting free Web Seminars that incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards into classroom curriculum. Learn about the engineering process as it relates to real-world problems. Topics include Thermal Protection System, Lunar Plant Growth, The Great Boomerang Challenge, and more. 


For more information or to register visit their website

Classroom Resources  
The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society

The Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society will gladly organize a free astronomy night for your school, youth group, or community organization. Their members volunteer their time and their telescopes to bring the universe to you. They also provide knowledgeable speakers and activities on various astronomy topics, either in a classroom or in a meeting setting.


For more information, contact the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society or visit their website

Code Avengers  

Code Avengers is a fun, free and easy way to learn the basics of web application development. It is terrific for students or even for the individual who would like to begin learning HTML, CSS or JavaScript. The level 1 JavaScript course contains 40 short lessons that will teach the basics. You'll learn about variables, calculations, if-statements, Booleans, strings, and loops. The site also contains a level two JavaScript course and HTML lessons, with CSS coming soon!  Within Code Avengers is a page for teachers that provides real-time feedback on student performance so that teachers know instantly when students need help.   The possibilities are endless! 

STEM Jobs Magazine 

STEM Jobs Magazine is a new digital and print publication recently launched by Victory Media in hopes of encouraging more students to pursue STEM-related careers.

Spark 101

Spark 101 is a new online teaching resource to help bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-­world applications, inspiring students to thrive in college and future careers. Designed by educators for educators, Spark 101 provides you with curriculum-­connected videos and resources to embed academic skills and knowledge into "real-world" problems, allowing students to build critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills critical to long-term success.  The possibilities are endless! 

Curiosity Quest

Curiosity Quest is a National Public Broadcasting Service series that explores what viewers of all ages are curious about. Each quest takes the audience on location for a hands-on, educational exploration. Watch episodes and get more information at this website. 

One Minute Science Mysteries

Science Naturally posts a new One Minute Mystery each moth from their award-winning book series. The brainteasers challenge students ages 8-14 to use math and science to solve a problem.

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. 

Student Opportunities
2014 Congressional STEM Competition

High school students are invited to participate in the first annual Congressional STEM Academic Competition, "The House STEM App Challenge." Participating students will be provided opportunities to engage with various STEM educational partners located throughout the community to mentor and assist them with developing a software application. Students entering the competition must submit their app's source code online by the April 30, midnight EST deadline, as well as provide a YouTube video demo explaining their app and what they learned through this competition process.


To find your Congressional District Contact and for more information vist  their website.

Expanding your Horizons

Register for the 2014 Expanding Your Horizons conference at DVC. This program is for 6-8 grade girls and their parents to explore careers in STEM. Attendees will engage in hands-on activities and interact with women in STEM fields.


Expanding Your Horizons will be held on Saturday, May 3, from 8:30 a.m. -2:00 p.m., at Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill. To register, visit their website or contact Hilary Dito at (925) 942-3396.

Crayola Art Display: Submit Student Art to be displayed at the Department of Education

Crayola is accepting original artwork from K-12 students to be presented to the Department of Education (DOE), in Washington DC. They will mat and frame the original artwork and present 39 original pieces (3 from each grade level), which then get hung in the DOE offices throughout the country.  It is a high honor.  In exchange for the artwork, Crayola will provide each student with art supplies, as well a lovely plaque with an image of the artwork and recognition that it has been donated to the Department of Education.


If you have an outstanding piece and the student is willing to part with his/her original, please send an image to Linda Parzych  before April 1st.

2014 Amgen Bay Area BioGENEius Challenge
Students in grades 9-12 may enter their life science / biotech related regional fair projects for the 2014 BioGENEius Challenge. Applications must be in by March 28. The Challenge takes place on May 9, at the J. David Gladstone Institutes, in San Francisco. For information and eligibility criteria, visit  their website
National Academy of Engineering-Engineering for YOU Video Contest 

Rev up your creativity, pull out your camera or phone, and produce a video showing the world how you see engineering enhancing quality of life and serving the needs of society. 

The competition is open to all individuals or teams from grades K-college; the entry deadline is March 31. For more information, please visit their website.  

STEM Summer Education Camps

The CCCOE and the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (along with numerous professional partners) will once again be producing three outstanding hands-on education career camps. Incoming high school juniors and seniors can now register. The week-long camps are looking for teachers to support student learning.  Instructors will earn professional development hours and a small stipend for each camp, while also being exposed to a full range of industry experts.  

 For more information and to register, visit the program's website

Discovery Education STEM Camp 

Discovery Education STEM Camp is a free standards-aligned curricula available for summer camps, after-school programs, and other educational programs. STEM Camp combines hands-on labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, and more. Curriculum includes "Water", "Urban Infrastructure," and "Energy". The curriculum covers 5 full days of instruction. Download the curriculum and start your STEM Summer Camp experience this year!


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 12-13) 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 May 12.

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 22. Visit their website for details. 

Camp H: "I can Build Love in My Community"

Camp H 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, Camp H 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

Choose Civility 
Respect Other People's Time

The Choose Civility Principle for March


"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of."
-Benjamin Franklin


Ever planned to meet a friend at 10:00, only to have the friend show up at 10:20 without even an apology for arriving late? Time is a precious commodity, and we need to treat other people's time as valuable as our own.


Here are a few ideas from Dr. Forni on respecting other people's time:

  • Be punctual. Punctuality is nonnegotiable. Arriving on time is a basic rule of considerate behavior.
  • If you are going to be more than 5 minutes late, call.
  • Cancel plans only in case of emergency. Canceling on short notice is rude.
  • When you call someone on the phone, check to make sure it is a good time for the other person to talk. If not, suggest another more convenient time for both.
  • Keep both phone and in person conversations short. We are all busy people, and others appreciate brevity.
  • Be fully present for the person you are with. Minimize interruptions, and don't take cell phone calls or text. Only an emergency justifies such behavior.
  • Wait your turn in line. Demanding immediate attention is uncivil and ineffective.
  • Answer e-mails and return phone calls. Don't waste others' time by having to contact you a second or third time to get a response.
  • Meet deadlines and turn things in early or on time.
  • Always give others the amount of time that they can rightfully expect from you.

Action step: Resolve to respect other people's time, valuing it as you do your own.


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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