2021 California Science Education Conference

Focus Speakers


Focus speakers are highly regarded scientists and education experts who present 90-minute, in-depth sessions on subjects relevant to science teaching. The focus speaker series allows you to expand your understanding in a wide range of critical topics.

Focus speaker sessions are included in registration.

Friday, October 14, 2022
8:00 am - 9:30 am

Taking up the Call to Action for Science Education in California: Educator Stories of Coalition Building, Advocacy and Impact

Jessica Parker, PhD, Senior Director of Educator Engagement, The Exploratorium

In July 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a national Call to Action for Science Education. California science educators responded in profound ways to this call. This talk highlights the actions and advocacy of K12 science teachers, STEM leaders from districts and county offices, and educators from science-oriented institutions and professional organizations who rallied to identify the top priorities for more high-quality, equitable science education and enact change for all of California’s students. Come celebrate inspiring examples of leadership, organizing, individual influence and the power of building a coalition for science education reform. We will also ask ourselves: How do we continue to take action in our local contexts and advocate for better, more equitable science education?

Friday, October 14, 2022
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

Teach Climate Change to Unlock the Potential of Education

Kelley Lê, EdD, Director of UCI Science Project:

Dr. Kelley Lê is one of the many educators who feel that teaching about climate change is a moral imperative. Join this session to hear about Dr. Lê’s personal journey into climate and environmental literacy, justice and action efforts in education. Starting from where each educator is on their personal learning journey, Dr. Lê will also share about how to lean deeper into NGSS-aligned instruction with climate change and environmental justice as the teaching vehicles. Educators make up the critical mass needed to mobilize on the climate crisis. Join this session to tap into your power and positionality to be an agent of change.

Saturday, October 15, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Closing the Equity Gap to Diversity Computer Science

Brandon Nicholson, PhD, Executive Director , The Hidden Genius Project

Along with the increasing role of technology in our society, there is a rapidly growing awareness of and commitment to increasing the workforce's diversity in every technology-driven sector. Technology creation offers a significant opportunity to engage economically disenfranchised students to thrive in a global economy while simultaneously bolstering societal productivity. Join Brandon Nicholson, Founding Executive Director of The Hidden Genius Project as he shares his approach to supporting equitable computer science education in their district and programs.

Saturday, October 15, 2022
2:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Promoting equity and justice through 3D science instruction: The road traveled and the one ahead

Philip Bell, PhD, University of Washington

Each student has the right to develop a deep understanding of how the natural world works in ways that support their personal goals and the interests of their community. We need each student to learn to enact caring responsibilities that promote a thriving global community of living beings. Building from the vision in the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education, I will highlight existing equity-focused approaches that: (a) position learners as knowers, designers, and civic contributors, (b) center cultural relevancies and responsibilities for students as they learn about phenomena, and (c) leverage the multiple identities and full communicative resources of learners. I will also point to future directions for promoting equity and justice through science education and discuss pragmatic ways of finding our way forward. Throughout the session I will share open education resources called STEM Teaching Tools designed to support the professional learning of science educators.


Upcoming Conferences

  • 2023 Conference
    October 20-22, 2023
    Palm Springs, CA

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