san diego

San Diego - June 28-July 1, 2016

Updated Program Here (as of 6/21)

  • Strand A: Understanding the Change Process
  • Strand B: Building a Culture for Change
  • Strand C: Making Decisions Based on Evidence


Tuesday, June 28, 1:00-5:00 pm; 
Wednesday, June 29, 8:00-4:00 pm; 
Thursday, June 30, 8:00-4:00 pm; and 
Friday, July 1 (optional)

Field Experiences on Tuesday morning and all-day Friday (San Diego Zoo)

Wednesday Evening Reception at the MIDWAY MUSEUM - Sponsored by PASCO


Regular Registration Member $575, Non-Member $630

Pre-registration is closed but you may register on-site on June 28.

If you have any trouble with the registration process, contact Beth Harris at or 919-561-3612.

Keynote Speakers

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WestEd, K-12 Alliance Director
NSELA's 2015 Outstanding Leader in Science Education

"Hope is a Good Thing" - We know leadership is about shared vision and action, but how do you build the energy of collaboration? Learn how the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative is working with 8 districts and 2 charter organizations to implement NGSS K-5 as a core subject in elementary school, and grades 6-8 as a integrated model. Hear real stories about the success and challenges of implementation that incorporates research, data, evidence—and a thing called hope--to make a difference in science education for all students.



Hacking Leadership - Innovation for Change

"Hacking Leadership" is a model for creating a culture of creativity and innovation in a sea of change and uncertainty. The issues we face today will be solved by answers we do not yet have. This session explores ways of creating a culture where communication is the foundation for creating a culture of creativity and innovation by looking at credibility, rapport, how to listen and respond as well as how to recover with grace.



NSTA, Assistant Executive Director

"ESSA Update" - No Child Left Behind” is gone and the new federal education legislation—the “Every Student Succeeds Act” or ESSA—is coming, and soon. District leaders and teachers will need to know how, and if, ESSA will change the way science and STEM is taught in your school or district.

During the SLI, we will examine the new law with a focus on science/STEM education and teachers. Learn about the key changes from NCLB, get answers to your questions, and find out where (and how) you can find and access federal dollars for science and STEM programs. Classroom science teachers, district and school science leaders, administrators, and other science education stakeholders are encouraged to attend.


Gerald Solomon, Executive Director,
Samueli Foundation

Breakout Sessions

Making Sense of Science: A System for Systems Thinking

Develop an understanding of the NGSS cross-cutting concept of systems and system models. Using organisms as an example, participants will collaboratively explore a variety of biological systems and environments, to identify their boundaries, components, inputs/outputs of matter and energy, and interactions that take place within the system and across systems. Included are five principles of systems thinking: (1) Look for the bigger picture; (2) Study systems from multiple perspectives; (3) Consider the role of short and long time frames; (4) Search for complex, circular cause and effect relationships (not just simple ones); and, (5) Explore places where systems connect with other systems.

Transitioning To 3-Dimensional Assessment: Using Hands-on Performance Tasks to Assess Mastery of Both the Science Practices and DCIs

As a leader in science education, we are often charged with facilitating improvement in teacher pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). This session provides PCK strategies for developing formative assessment tools and processes. And for leaders, this session provides resources and rationale to use as you introduce these changes in assessment called for by the NRC Framework, the NRC Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards, and the NGSS. Session participants will engage in a hands-on performance task, consider the formative assessment implications of this type of assessment, and reflect on their use of hands-on performance assessment in their own learning environment.

Building a Bridge: 3-Dimensional Learning and Literacy

Investigate light while engaging in 3-dimensional learning and literacy simultaneously. Develop a model of light while we experience a framework to stimulate reasoning, promote dialogue, include reading, and require meaningful writing.

Using Phenomenon as a Tool for Instruction in the Integrated Middle School Model

Phenomenon-based learning engages students with real-world science as a starting point for developing understanding. Participants in this session will experience a process for brainstorming an integrated Phenomenon Cluster Map, creating unit storylines, and developing three-dimensional Conceptual Flows. Phenomena use allows educators to construct coherent and integrated NGSS units for 6-8th grade classrooms. These types of 3D units provide equitable access to science content for all students.

Navigating the NGSS Change Process: Understanding the How, What, and Why

Change is difficult. It requires significant shifts in thinking as we seek to understand what is changing and how we are supposed to implement those changes. Change is also deeply emotional. It asks us to rethink the fundamental purposes and rationale for what we do, how we do it, and also why we do it. Educators respond to these changes with a variety of emotions which must be considered as part of the NGSS implementation process. Implementing a new system-wide change effort, such as the NGSS, requires tremendous assistance and encouragement. Learn how effective strategies can support the change effort. Understand the emotions that prevent positive change.

Performance-Based Certification for STEM Teachers and Campuses

A classroom with an effective teacher is associated with growth in student learning at a rate that is three times greater than that in a classroom with a low-performing teacher,” according to researchers Frontier & Rickabaugh (2014). How is an effective teacher identified and what are the varying degrees of effectiveness? In the STEM classroom an effective teacher selects actions, which impact student achievement. This session provides an observation tool for teachers to self-assess and coaches to calibrate levels of proficiency in the 16 observable actions that are essential for student achievement in STEM; including the best practices for teaching and learning in the 3 Dimensions. Submission of an online portfolio of these actions gains for teachers the National Certificate for STEM Teaching through the National Institute for STEM Education and for campuses/districts the National Certificate for STEM Excellence.

Ingredients of Productive Science Talk in the Classroom

During this session, participants will engage in discourse by using and analyzing data, listening to each other, questioning one another, and refining scientific vocabulary through discussion. They will also view classroom videos and identifies strategies that support productive scientific discourse. The group will reflect on Lemke’s four languages of science — words, symbols, actions, and images — and discuss how these languages help students bridge the connection between science and literacy. Participants will walk away with techniques for supporting productive scientific discourse in the classroom.

New Tools for Teaching About Waves

Although they spend much (too much?) of their time in front of screens, most middle school students have little understanding about how they work. Join us to explore some new hands-on tools for teaching content dealing with waves as carriers of information and energy. This new NGSS unit from SEPUP uses a personal health issue context -- protection from the exposure to dangerous levels of sound and light energy -- to understand the basics of wave behavior and transmission. How does light interact with matter? Does sound reflect the way that light does? Do all colors of light contain the same energy? Join us for a hands-on look at these topics and more.

Computer-Based Assessments Made Easy

With widespread implementation of interactive computer-based tests, the assessment landscape is rapidly changing. How prepared are you and your students to move beyond multiple-choice questions to those that assess student scientific understanding and thinking?

It is important for students to experience the types of test items that are possible with computer-based platforms but which may not be possible with paper-based assessments. In order to be successful on technology based assessments, instruction must prepare students for an assessment world which includes more complex and constructed assessment items that relate to real life scenarios. Students will need to be able to make strategic decisions about variables and to conduct investigations which include multiple variables. They'll also need to learn how to provide evidence with data collected from experimentation, and to construct explanations for their results. ExploreLearning Gizmos are interactive, virtual simulations designed to support just that kind of instruction. Participants will experience the types of student tools that are available through Gizmos, which are a component of answering a computer-based assessment correctly and completely.