I wrote in the last article that I would talk more about the CAGS at a later date and decided this will be a part of my message this time. You have probably heard some of the officers or others in our association use the acronym CAGS--what is this and what does it stand for?
     CAGS stands for Chapters and Associated Groups in Science. The National Congress on Science Education (the "Congress") meets annually each summer and consists of one voting delegate from each of the 94 NSTA Chapters and Associated Groups. The South Dakota Science Teachers Association is a Chapter of the National Science teachers Association. The Congress meets to discuss issues and bring forth recommendations that may be of interest to NSTA and the science education community. Delegates and other local leaders benefit from attending the summer congress, which provides opportunities to network with other science leaders from the US and Canada; attend leadership workshops to assist them in their association role; represent their members as a voting delegate; attend focus groups to address national issues and formulate debate and adopt resolutions; meet and work with the NSTA elected leaders and staff.
     Each year our association sends a representative to the CAGS meeting. This is important for us to do because our association needs to stay informed and to have representation at the National level.  Any delegate can submit a resolution ahead of time and the Congress will address the resolution, the person submitting the resolution has an opportunity to present the merits of the resolution and all CAGS Chapter representatives vote. The website for information on the "Congress" is    http://www.nsta.org/about/collaboration/chapters/congress.aspx

     At the meeting, the delegates met in small groups to develop additional resolutions on topics such as implementing 21st century learning skills, retaining and renewing teacher of science, and anchoring science content in the national standards.  This process impressed me because everyone in attendance had an equal voice in the discussion of these issues. And our vote from the SDSTA had the same weight as the vote from anywhere in the nation. I also appreciated learning about one of the ways our National Association decides what educational issues to address. I very much enjoyed and learned from attending CAGS and hope our association will be able to continue to send a delegate to this meeting.
     Another topic I want to mention is grant writing and summer workshops. I believe these two go hand in hand because often times the availability of a workshop is dependent upon grant money. Grant monies support the cost of the workshop, supplies and stipends for attendees. I have spent much time in my life at summer workshops and have had many benefits from doing so. I always feel like when I return to school, I want to be able to tell my students that even though I am getting gray hair, I am still learning and want to continue to learn.   Often in the spring, we educators receive mailings about two or three day, week long or two week long workshops that provide housing, reduced tuition, mileage and a stipend. And often we can actually pick and chose what we might like to attend.  This had been true for Math and Science workshops for many years. At the time of the writing of this message, I have only heard of three such workshops being offered to South Dakota Science educators. The number of workshops seems to have diminished compared to the recent past.  We would like to be able to post

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