CSTA Classroom Science

Who Really Does the Work?

As we quickly approach the end of my term as CASE President, I want to take this opportunity to thank some of the unsung heroes of the last two years: CASE Committee Members.

Typically, during our annual conference, we are able to acknowledge these amazing individuals and let the science education community applaud them and thank them for their work by embarrassing them and making them stand up in front of a room filled with over a thousand of their peers. With the virtual conference in October, we were able to acknowledge our committee members, but it wasn’t the same.

Here is some of the incredible work accomplished this year, even with a global pandemic, by our CASE Committees:

Conference Committee
It is no secret that CASE puts on one of the best educational conferences in the state every year. What many people do not realize is just how many volunteer hours go into the planning and execution of the annual conference. The 2020 Conference Committee had the framework for an incredible Palm Springs event when the world shut down and were then faced with the excruciating decision of whether or not to start reimagining the conference into a virtual event. The extra hours and dedication put forth by this group of educators while struggling with everything that the pandemic was throwing at them was unreal. As many of you know, it was energy well spent and we had a great event. We are halfway to the 2021 Conference and those committee members are already working hard to take lessons learned from 2020 and make the conference 2021 even  better. We could never put on the conference, whether virtual or in person, without these committee members.

NGSS Committee
Almost 10 years after the adoption of CA NGSS, this committee still makes a huge impact on science implementation in California. Last year, this committee worked with CASE staff and partners to construct and disseminate a survey to provide input on NGSS implementation and professional learning. This year, Members of the NGSS Committee with expertise in qualitative data analysis worked with a data analyst from the San Joaquin Office of Education and CASE staff to provide detailed analysis of the CASE NGSS Professional Learning Survey. Analysis is nearly completed and will inform the creation of a briefing paper. Additionally, the members of this committee have worked collaboratively with other members to begin the discussion surrounding the synergy between Career and Technical Education and CA NGSS. The dialogue became so robust and the potential scope of work so great that it resulted in the creation of a new committee to further explore this connection.

Legislative Oversight Committee
When not busy reviewing draft pieces of legislation to determine if there is an impact to science education and how CASE should respond, this dedicated group of individuals has been coordinating with all of the acronyms: CDE, SBE, CSBA, ACSA, and CALSA (to name a few) to identify how to push science to the forefront of education and have science recognized as being just as critical and worthy of time, energy, and funding as ELA and math. Additionally, these committee members have been strategizing how to get the rest of us involved in more science advocacy education. Afterall, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Environmental Literacy Committee
Remember those Environmental Literacy webinars? Those were the brainchild of this committee. Recognizing that, especially at the elementary level, environmental literacy is a great place to build teacher confidence and student interest in science, this committee worked with others to develop and present an amazing webinar series that has sparked the creation of additional events.

Membership/Marketing Committee
This group of volunteers is working to provide you with additional value for your membership. Recognizing the importance of making personal connections, these committee members have set up numerous happy hour events to provide you with a chance to connect and enjoy some virtual time with colleagues. They worked with staff to get MemberClicks up and running so that you can be a part of specific circles and make connections with science educators across the state who are in similar positions as you. They have taken the webinar idea and have expanded it to provide you with professional learning opportunities. Recognizing that so much of the CASE work that is done occurs behind the scenes, these committee members work to keep CASE alive and thriving.

Policy Committee
CASE has numerous policy and position statements on a variety of science education topics.These documents provide the Executive Director with a road map for advocacy conversations, but they are also there for you, the science educator, to use to advocate for your science education needs. This year, the committee has been drafting two new statements: Maintaining High Quality Science Education in Distance Learning and Social and Emotional Learning. 2020 has definitely highlighted the need for these new statements. 

E-Communications Committee
For all you social media addicts out there...this is the committee that keeps it all going on the internet. They work diligently to ensure that your online communities are safe and professional, not to mention filled with all of the CASE opportunities. There is a lot of work that goes into keeping these groups going, and this is the team that makes that happen.

Publications Committee 
Have you ever enjoyed reading an article in CA Classroom Science? If so, you have this committee to thank. They spend countless hours recruiting article writers, writing articles themselves, editing, and formatting...all to ensure you get the resources and information you need. Science is about collaboration and communication. This is the committee that ensures we do that in spades. You don’t need to be a committee member to submit an article, so if you are ever eager to try your hand at sharing something you found valuable, just reach out and this is the committee that will work with you.

If you are a member of any of these committees, I hope you know how valued you are. CASE could never do half of what we do without you. (half...lol...we couldn’t do 1/10th of it) It is almost that time of year to apply for committees. Whether you are an experienced committee member or new to CASE, you should consider being a part of the awesomeness I get to work with. Be on the lookout for committee applications. I hope to see you on one soon.


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Shawna Metcalf

Written by Shawna Kolmel


Shawna is a science specialist at Glendale Unified School District and is President of CASE (2019-2021).

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