Contra Costa County Office of Education

                      May 2014

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





As the 2013-2014 school year comes to an end, it is time to explore opportunities to integrate STEAM into the classroom. This summer take advantage of the wonderful opportunities around the Bay Area. Begin your Integrated Specialist Certificate or develop a "making" program. Take a look at the wonderful options that are available to re-charge your STEAM lessons.


Please consider taking a survey on the amount of art education students are receiving in school. The information will be used to explore how to increase STEAM integration throughout the county. The survey will take a few short minutes and can be accessed at this link

For more information, please contact Heather DiMaggio, Contra Costa County Liaison to Region IV Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) CISC Subcommittee or Hilary Dito, STEAM Coordinator at Contra Costa County Office of Education.


Have a STEAM-filled summer!


Teacher Opportunities and Professional Development

2014 Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP): NGSS and the Solar System Workshop  

Join ASP at the Galileo Teacher Training Program. Educators, 3rd through 9th grade, will explore the solar system through classroom tested, inquiry-rich activities that align with the Next Generation Science Standards.


The workshop will be held at the Hyatt-Regency, Burlingame on August 2 and 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The early bird registration is $80 and ends on July 4. California Teachers may apply for scholarships. For more information and to register, visit this Web page.

CalState TECH presents Urban Boot Camp for Educators

Enlist for two weeks of intense professional development around practices specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of urban education, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) instruction, and digital integration.


Urban Boot Camp, July 15-21 and Urban Tech Camp, July 28-31, both prepare teachers to tackle CCSS and Problem Based Learning through the lens of culturally relevant teaching and full technology integration. For more information, go to their website, or contact Dr. Connie E. Davidson.

Lighthouse Creativity Lab Offers Summer "Making" Workshops

Lighthouse Creativity Lab offers summer "Making" workshops

Join the Lighthouse Creativity Lab for a two-day intensive workshop on integrating "making in school." Participants will develop "making" curriculum for hands-on classroom lessons. The workshop includes using technology, woodworking, electronics, 3-D printing and more. There are two workshop sessions: July 17-18 or August 7-8, 2014


Lighthouse Creativity Lab's professional development opportunities are offered at no cost to OUSD and teachers at Title I schools. To register, please email  for details. Visit their website for more information and to register.

New Science Teacher Academy

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is accepting applications for the New Science Teacher Academy, a cost-free program that provides professional development and mentoring to secondary science teachers. Co-founded by the Amgen Foundation, the academy is a professional-development initiative created to help promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence, and improve teacher content knowledge.


For complete program information and the application form, please visit their website.  

Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry

Applications are now available for Fundamentals of Inquiry: Examining Scientific Practices and the Next Generation Science Standards at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The institute will take place October 20-24, 2014. Participants will explore ways to develop an inquiry- based approach to teaching that aligns with NGSS. 


For more information and to apply visit their website

Cal Alive! Next Generation Science Standards and the Environment Institute

Join California NGSS experts and science leaders for a unique 5 day institute to explore the NGSS and the integration with environmental education. $99 Early bird registration is available until May 23. Fees include meals, lodging and materials for June 20-22 and June 27-29, 2014. 


Registration and information is available on their website

Strengthening Geometry Instruction

A free workshop for Contra Costa County teachers. Join CSUEB Professors Drs. Phil Duren and Julia Olkin to learn how to incorporate Common Core Mathematical Practice Standards into lessons. Teachers who complete the workshop will earn a stipend. 


The workshop will take place July 21-25, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in Pittsburg, CA. Download the workshop flyer more information at their website

2014 UC Davis Sumer Institute on Integrated Computing and STEM Education

Registration is open for this intensive summer institute designed to train K-14 STEM teachers on the principle of robotics and computing.  Teachers will learn specific teaching pedagogy for integrating computing and robotics activities into math, science and engineering curricula, as well as how to support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Participants will receive three textbooks, electronic teaching materials, and one software license. Lunch will be provided. CEU credit is available.


Dates: June 30 - July 3: Common Core Mathematical Concepts with Computing and Robotics

July 7 - July 11: Robotic Activities and Computer Programming for Solving Applied Problems

California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) Training webinar

The EEI Curriculum teaches to mastery select K-12 California academic content standards in Science and History/Social Science, using the environment as a context for learning. Learn how EEI's curriculum supports the Common Core State Standards and FOSS.

May 22, 20, 4:00-4:40 p.m.. Register on their website.

Second Annual California STEM Symposium

Registration is now open for Invest in California STEM Education: 

Innovate, Integrate, and Inspire! Hosted by The Californians Dedicated 

to Education Foundation in partnership with The California Department 

of Education and The Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, 

this conference will bring together 3000 educators, program providers, 

business leaders and philanthropic representatives to engage in STEM 


The conference will be held at the San Diego Convention CenterSeptember 22-23. For more info, visit their website.

Classroom Resources  
Intro to Computer Programming Using Alice

Created by a 2013 IISME Fellow at Qualcomm, this exemplary Education Transfer Plan (ETP) seeks to provide an opportunity for students to enhance their language and communication skills using Alice, a 3D programming language.  By taking an individually created 3D story or game through an entire production cycle, students will practice skills needed in today's workplace.  Academic language will be developed through the creation of manuals for the Alice and Audacity programs. All activities, handouts, notes, and assessment pieces for this ETP are included. The following link will take you directly to the website.

Learn How to Become...

Looking for resources to aid your students in researching future career paths or to incorporate into a unit on career exploration? provides detailed insight into 45 of today's most popular career fields, including accounting, engineering, medical assisting, nursing, firefighting, financial advising and teaching. 

The Art of Keith Haring

The Haringkids' website  brings the art of Keith Haring to life with over 180 art-based lessons. Educational resources are available for students from pre-K through high school. Integrated science lessons include "Creating a Cranimal" (elementary and "RNA Protein Strand Sculpture" (middle school).  

Through My Window

This multimedia website was developed by faculty and students at Smith College and Springfield Technical Community College to engage middle school students in engineering through narrative. Students follow a fictional story that introduced elements of engineering to solve a crime.

Q?rius Learning Lab

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History hosts an interactive science education space for students in grades 6-12. In addition to on-line activities, the website offers science articles and a database of objects in the Smithsonian's collection. Investigate coral reefs, create a digital field book or participate in webcasts. Visit today.

The American Honda Foundation

The American Honda Foundation awards grants from $20,000 to $75,000 to youth education programs focused on STEM and the environment. Apply at this website by August 1. 

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

Register now to bring students to the Academy for hands-on learning experiences. For more information and to apply online visit their website

Student Opportunities
Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology

Registration has opened for the 2014 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. High school students submit original research projects for the opportunity to win college scholarships ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000. Students can compete as individuals or as members of a team. Research projects are due on September 30. Go to their website to get started.

Physics In and Through Cosmology Workshop for High School Students

2006 Nobel Prize Winner George Smoot and 2011 Nobel Prize Winner Saul Perlmutter are seeking high school students for the eighth annual summer workshop presented by the Physics Division of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and Quarknet in conjunction with the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics. The Physics in and Through Cosmology workshop will be held at the  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory adjacent to the University of California Berkeley Campus beginning Monday, June 23 and ending Friday, June 27. The ideal student applicant will have completed algebra, geometry, advanced algebra, and chemistry. and have completed or will be taking physics next year.


For more information, contact Laurie Kerrigan or review their flyerYou can also download the student applicationApplication should be returned as soon as possible; more applicants apply than can be accommodated.

2014 SkeptiCAL Conference

Join science fans and people who enjoy examining the foibles of the world for a day of stimulating ideas and fun conversation.  Tickets are now on sale on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited! For more information and to register, please visit their website.  


The conference will be held on Saturday, May 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th Street, Oakland.

2014 Samsung Mobile App Academy

UC Berkeley will be hosting the 2014 Samsung Mobile App Academy on June 17 through 19th. All App Academy attendees will receive a free Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and a chance to win up to $20,000 in scholarships!


  • Students who are going to be in the 11th or 12th grade during the 2014-2015 school year.
  • Students interested in STEM.
  • Have taken or be enrolled in at least 2 Honors and/or AP STEM related courses.
  • Have at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) GPA.
  • Live within 60 miles of Berkeley.

Visit their website for more information.

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.  

The camps are scheduled for these dates: Engineering, June 16-20, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant HillBiotechnology, July 7-11, CSUEB, Concord; Environmental Sciences, July 21-25; CSUEB, Concord.  For more information and to register, visit the programs' website

Choose Civility 
Accept and Give Constructive Criticism

The Choose Civility Principle for May


"Our critics are the unpaid guardians of our souls." 

- Corrie ten Boom


One should give constructive criticism whenever circumstances suggest that it's the right thing to do. But one should also welcome opportunity to learn - mostly about oneself, one's critics and about life, when on the receiving end of criticism.

To criticize is a serious business and a responsibility. Before you speak make sure your intention is to help with a problem and not humiliate, manipulate, or exact revenge.

To make your criticism constructive and effective:

  • Identify an issue, rather than launching an attack on the person.
  • Describe what you have observed rather than uttering accusations or engaging in name-calling.
  • Show that you understand how the other person may feel.
  • Suggest a solution if you feel this is the right time to do so.
  • Remain calm, kind, and empathic throughout the exchange. End on a positive note.

Receiving Criticism

  • Not all criticism is good, but in most criticism there is something good enough to take to heart.
  • The first important step is to listen as though your critic were not speaking about you but rather about someone else. Ask yourself: Is it valid? Then simply agree with it, and start thinking about changes you want to make.
  • Or, reply "thank you for your honest opinion. I will need time to think about that."
  • Or, should the criticism appear totally unwarranted, say with firmness, "I'm afraid I can't agree with that."
  • Be assertive, not abusive, even if you feel your critic is being unfair or hostile.

It is criticism that makes us learn what we are unable or unwilling to learn by ourselves


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



Published by the Communications Office of the Contra Costa County Office of Education

Layout/Design, Diane Morrell; Web Developer, June Stephens;
Writer/Editor/Media Relations, Jonathan Lance