CSTA Classroom Science

Celebrating Achievements and Successes at the California Science Education Conference

By Debbie Gordon, CASE President

Give yourself a high-five, pat yourself on the back, smile that awesome smile, you’ve made it to December! The first half of this school year has flown by, with some bumps, and some celebrations. One big celebration for science educators was our annual CASE Science Educator Conference, October 20-22, in Palm Springs.

I am especially proud of everyone that supported this conference and made it a memorable experience for all. Attendance was up from last year as we all got back to a new normal, presentations and speakers were superb, and the atmosphere was charged with new connections and new learning. And don’t just take it from me. Check out the following comments.

Veteran Conference Attendee

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Jim Clark

Attending CASE is always the highlight of my conference year.  I enjoy NSTA and other conferences, however, CASE always feels like home to me.  The speakers are interesting , the sessions speak to me in a "place based" way that other conferences can't.  I always learn so much from other educators at CASE who are facing the same challenges and finding success with similar students.  After attending multiple conferences for more than 20 years, if I could only attend one conference a year it would, without question, be CASE.

Jim Clark,  Retired Science Teacher
Next Gen Science Innovations, Pleasanton, CA


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Christina Miramontes

My co-presenter and I were welcomed with a packed room with folks in every seat and even willing to pull up some carpet space to join us!  The participants were eager to share in our experiences and session strategies.  As a teacher and presenter, it is so meaningful how CASE gives us these opportunities to be a voice for our students.  I have learned much about improving my own teaching and shifting classroom science to better meet student needs by joining the CASE community and attending CASE conferences.

Christina Miramontes, Middle School Science Teacher
Cielo Vista Charter School, Palm Springs, CA

Conference Committee Member and Volunteer

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Kim Van Scoyk

I had so much fun at the conference.  I got to talk with and help a lot of people to help them enjoy the conference.  I really enjoyed being a group lead for the un-conference and getting to hear participants feedback regarding their conference experience.  My only advice is make sure you block time for yourself to make sure you also attend at least 5 workshops that interest you.

Kim Van Scoyk, Teacher
Five Keys Schools and Programs, Castaic, CA

First-time Conference Attendees

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SDSU group photo

This was my first time attending a professional conference and I hadn’t realized how many like-minded teachers there are out there. It made me excited for the future of science teaching. I went to some great sessions, many of which emphasized that the implementation of NGSS promotes teaching pedagogy that excites students. I met a teacher who shared an entire google drive of resources with me, it was amazing!  At individual sessions, I learned that it is important to create inclusive classrooms for your students, but don't forget to create a positive environment for yourself as an educator.  It was also great to be reminded that teaching in a classroom is not the only way to teach science.

San Diego State University Preservice Teachers

University Associate Professor

Donna Ross

It is such a joy to bring preservice teachers to the annual CASE conference.  Everyone is so welcoming and willing to share resources with them.  I believe it is critical that new teachers understand that being a professional involves more than just shutting your classroom door and teaching in a vacuum. Our conference helps develop life-long learners among our novice teachers. Thanks to everyone who made our student teachers feel welcome.

Donna Ross, Associate Professor
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Informal Science Educator

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Tara Fuad

I was thrilled to connect with other like-minded educators in Palm Springs who are committed to using outdoor spaces for teaching and learning.  Several participants mentioned that they were surprised by how much they enjoyed the outdoor 'classroom' sessions of hiking, birding and nature journaling, noting that not only did the sessions serve as a nice break from the more traditional classroom setting, but that that they inspired curiosity and wonder, exactly what they would want to instill in their own students. 

Tara Fuad, Executive Director
San Diego Children and Nature, San Diego, CA

Teacher Leader (TOSA) and 2023 Conference Co-Chair

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Shay Fairchild

CASE has been such an amazing support since I moved from classroom teacher to teacher on special assignment.  It’s inspiring. (Since attending CASE conferences) I have built relationships with work colleagues whom I get to see every year with joyful smiles and huge hugs, share funny stories and just have an overall great experience. I am very grateful to CASE and look forward to the conference every year.

Shay Fairchild, CASE Treasurer
Norwalk La Mirada USD

Award Recipient

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Brad Schleder

This year’s CASE conference was one of the best. The sessions I attended were stimulating and the presenters were excellent. In addition, it was an honor to be recognized by my peers with a CASE award. I truly appreciate the outstanding professional learning CASE provides for California science educators.


Brad Schleder, Retired 
Three Rivers, CA

Thank you to everyone who attended the conference this year.  We will see you and even more of our Northern California colleagues November 8-10, 2024 in Sacramento.

Be on the lookout for the call for proposals and early bird registration details. And, hey, why not bring a friend? That new teacher down the hall would love a buddy at their first conference!  It’s going to be great!

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Debbie Gordon

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.
Debbie Gordon, President
STEAM Teacher, Palm Springs USD



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