Preparing Students for High Stakes Testing in Science

Preparing Students for High Stakes Testing in Science

Presented by Sally Wall

Are you prepared to prepare your students to pass any of the high stakes tests they have to pass? There are many things you can do throughout the year besides teaching them to analyze a multiple-choice question. Look at year long to weeks before strategies that will prepare your students to pass.

What does a good review look like?

How can we use the released STAAR test as a tool for review?

What role does metacognition play?

Come get the answers to these questions.


Contact Texas ASCD at 512-477-8200 x10 to discuss bring this training to your area.

Starting STEM: First Looks & Steps for K-5

Brenda SwirczynskiPresenter: Brenda Swirczinski

Workshop Time: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Registration Time: 8:00 AM
Registration Fees:
One Day Insitute: $175 ($150 for Texas ASCD members)

For more information or to schedule the workshop at your district call: 512-477-8200.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) inititive and focus in education is gaining ever-increasing interest from educators. STEM programs and resources abound for middle and high school levels, but what about STEM for our earliest learners in kindergarten through grade 5?

This one-day session will take participants through a day of examination of what STEM is, looks like, sounds like and can do for students in K-5. District and campus leaders and teachers interested in getting started in STEM will have opportunites to define and refine their understanding of STEM and learn about current programs and practices at the elementary level. Participants will also explore connections and resources that link STEM and 21st century skills essential for student success.

Join us for a hands-on, minds-in day of learning the landscape of STEM, starting points for your district or school and implications for your students’ success.

Starting STEM: First Looks & Steps for K-5 participants will:

-develop an clear understanding of what STEM is and is not as it relates to K-5 learners
-participate in hands-on examples of STEM reflective of best practices and 21st century skills
-learn and explore specific K-5 STEM programs, resources and ideas for district, campus-level and  
classroom levels
-construct a working plan of first steps and beyond for their district, school or classroom


Target Audience:
-Curriculum/Program Leaders
-K-5 classroom teachers

About the Presenter:  Brenda Swirczynski has over 25 years of experience teaching informal and formal science education at the elementary and post-secondary level and developing programs and curricula for Texas school districts, universities and botanical research institutions. Of particular interest to her work is experiential science education for elementary students and elementary teachers, especially those teachers with little background in the sciences. She finds the STEM education framework to be an important and ever- expanding catalyst for scientific content and skill acquisition for students. She currently serves as the elementary science coordinator for Birdville ISD.



Contact the Texas ASCD office at either 1-800-717-2723 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to bring this workshop to your area for a summer or early fall training.

BRAINS for Teaching Science

Presenter: Tammy Shepherd

Workshop Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm 
Registration fee: $349, ($299 for Texas ASCD members)
Two-day Academy

  Please contact our office at 512.477.8200 to schedule this academy at your location.

Workshop overview:
This workshop is the same as BRAINS for Teaching Strategies except day 2 is focused exclusively on Science Instruction.  The workshop may be structured for all level science, or broken down to present to elementary, middle school, or high school only.
Educators in this workshop will learn to enhance their teaching through discoveries about the brain, the mind, and the learning process.  Beginning with a non-technical overview of new research from neuroscience and cognitive science, participants gain usable knowledge and practical strategies for the classroom.  The second day of this workshop is strong application of the brain compatible knowledge and skills to the teacher’s classroom.  Teachers will need to bring samples of lesson plans and their curriculum and/or scope and sequence.  Practical techniques to enhance the learning practice will be explored and practiced. Educators will gain understanding of over 50 strategies which can be used immediately to make instruction effective, increase memory and engagement, support higher level thinking skills, and improve behavior as students increase ownership of their learning.
Tammy Shepherd works as a consultant and presenter on the topic of neuroeducation. She has written and presented informative, engaging, and thought provoking workshops on enhancing student achievement  for the past 10 years.  With 30 years of experience in public schools as a science teacher, counselor, administrator and now completing a doctoral study in the area of Brain Research as it relates to teaching and learning, Tammy bridges practical experience with researched perspectives on how we can enhance learning in today’s diverse classrooms.
Workshops are designed to be interactive and engaging as they enhance the important work of educating all students by supporting those who teach them.  We are teaching students today to live, learn, and work in a world of tomorrow that is unknown and expanding exponentially.  The best approach is to prepare students who think, evaluate, explore, and create.  Although the world is rapidly changing, the biology of the brain is not. We now understand the brain better! Neuroeducation is a natural connection between a love for learning, the science of learning, and a commitment to making instructional practice effective, enjoyable, and research-based.

STAAR Chemistry Preparation Workshop

shellyPresentor: Shelly LeDoux
Workshop Time: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Registration fee:
For One Day Institute: $175 ($150 for Texas ASCD members)
For Two Day Academy: $349 ($299 for Texas ASCD members)

For more information or to schedule workshop in your district, call 512-477-8200

Target Audience:

  •  Science Supervisors
  •  High School Chemistry Teachers and Administrators

The Chemistry End of Course Exam is here!

This spring, students will take the end of course chemistry exam. Success on this exam is required for graduation. Stakes are high for students, teachers and schools. More rigorous student expectations will be assessed multiple times and in multiple ways.

Join us for a hands-on, lively workshop designed to address the urgent and critical needs of high school chemistry teachers and students. Teachers will return to their classrooms better equipped to support student learning and achievement.

Utilizing the 5E instructional model and cooperative learning strategies, teachers will practice and receive lab-based activities designed to address TEA Chemistry STAAR performance descriptors. Opportunities for extension and remediation will be included for each activity.

Don’t miss this opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the Chemistry STAAR test, and the skills students will need to be successful!

About the Presenter, Shelly LeDoux: Shelly LeDoux has 17 years of teaching and administrative experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in multi-disciplinary science and a master’s degree in educational administration. Shelly has taught all levels and of secondary science. Having worked as a department chair and consultant to the curriculum coordinator, she has a deep understanding of curriculum alignment and assessment.  Shelly is currently working as an advanced academic administrator to improve college readiness for the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District. Her true passion is helping teachers to build on students’ natural curiosity about science. She hopes to instill a love of life long learning and personal growth in educators so that they can inspire generations of students to come.


Physics First: Preparing Your Teachers to Teach Physics to All Students

Presenter: Karen Jo Matsler, Ed.D.
Workshop Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Registration time: 8:30 am
Registration fees:
One day sessions - $175, $150 for Texas ASCD members
Two day sessions - $349, $299 for Texas ASCD members

Please contact our office at 512.477.8200 to schedule this institute at your location.

  • Are your teachers prepared to teach Physics to all students?
  • Is your district considering teaching Physics in the 9th Grade? 
  • Do you have a conceptual understanding of Physics concepts?
  • Do you need help with the new TEKS?

At this workshop, participants will be actively engaged in activities designed to address student misconceptions as identified by physics research.  In addition, teachers will:
  • Develop deeper conceptual understanding of physics concepts.
  • Practice in the appropriate use of technology (TEKS 2).
  • Practice in ways to modify classroom activities to be more inquiry based (TEKS 2).
  • Develop performance-based assessments, project-based activities emphasizing real world applications (TEKS 3).
  • Engage in collaborative discussions pertaining to best practices and assessing student performance.

Karen Jo Matsler was nationally recognized by the physics community for her distinguished service to physics education in 2008 by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).  Dr. Matsler has been in education for over 25 years as a classroom teacher (grades 7-12 for 20 years), science coordinator (4 years), university adjunct faculty in science and education (9 years), and a program evaluator for nationally funded projects (10 years).  Currently she is serving on the American Institute of Physics National Advisory Committee on Physics Education and is on the AAPT/PTRA National Advisory Board.  In addition, she has served her peers through state elected positions including: President of the Texas Science Education Leadership Association (2008-09), Secretary of the Science Teacher Association of Texas (2009-10), and President of the Texas Section AAPT (2010-2011). Dr. Matsler’s involvement helps her stay updated on educational legislation, reform, and education research which allows teachers the benefit of knowing that they are receiving the latest information on best classroom practices.

Karen Jo understands the challenges of the science classroom as well as administration and state mandates. With a MS degree in Biology and a Composite Certification, she mistakenly thought she would teach biology the rest of her life.  Instead, one week before her first job, she was told she would be teaching IPC and physics.  The challenges of being a cross-over teacher were a blessing in disguise giving her the insight, experience, and background to help teachers overcome their fear, intimidation, and misconceptions of physics concepts.  She has worked with thousands of teachers across the nation and shares her extensive knowledge of pedagogy, technology, and content in a way that is non-threatening, exciting, and engaging to students as well as teachers.  Her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction enables administrators to be assured that teachers attending the training will have a deeper understanding of how their role fits in to “the big picture”.

Who Should Attend: Secondary Classroom teachers and administrators


1601 Rio Grande, Ste. 451
Austin, Texas 78701

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Tel: (512) 477-8200
Fax: (512) 477-8215
Toll-free: (800) 717-2723

Office Hours
9 a.m. - 5 p.m  CST
Monday - Friday