California Educator

June/July 2021

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F I V E C T A M E M B E R S are California finalists for the 2021 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Despite the significant challenges of the past year, these educators went above and beyond to give their students the tools to succeed, while encouraging them to think critically and creatively. T h e PA E M S T a w a r d s , a d m i n i s t e r e d b y t h e National Science Foundation, are the nation's high- est honors for K-12 teachers of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science. e California Department of Education (CDE) partners with the California Mathematics Council and the California Association of Science Educators to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program. (Note: CTA recognizes STEAM and the importance of arts education, but for this article we use STEM, the official award designation.) "On behalf of our 310,000-member union, I extend heartfelt congratulations to our five finalists," says CTA President E. Toby Boyd. "During the pandemic, these educators quickly adapted an innovator's mindset and tailored their lessons to emphasize curiosity and inspire students' lifelong love of learning. They have worked harder than ever to show that even though buildings were closed, teaching and learning never stopped. ey are truly leaders." e PAEMST program requires that applicants display subject mastery, appropriate use of instructional meth- ods and strategies, lifelong learning, and leadership in education outside the classroom. Candidates must also submit a 30-minute video lesson in support of their application. (For more information, visit CTA members are finalists for presidential STEM awards By Gabriella Landeros Science Finalists GARRET T LIM Walnut Valley Educators Association Walnut High School Lim, a 14-year teacher, helped develop and currently teaches the school's first- ever International Baccalaureate Higher Level Chemistry course. He was part of a district committee tasked with brainstorming how the Common Core curriculum could be implemented and integrated within the science classroom. The topic of his video lesson: How different materials have different spe- cific heat capacities and their relationship to how they feel. "Being a chemistry teacher has been so rewarding, and I am glad that this award exists to honor those that inspire and educate the next generation in STEM," Lim says. "As we are battling a global pandemic, the importance of STEM has never been clearer. From being a discerning citizen to being a scientist or engineer that is working to solve our world's problems, STEM education is foundational in informing and hopefully inspiring our students to become contributing members of society." in Math and Science Teaching CATHERINE MESSENGER Los Gatos-Saratoga District Teachers Association Los Gatos High School Messenger teaches AP Biology along with a STEM research class. A 15-year teacher, she was the science depart- ment chair from 2015 to 2020 and led the Los Gatos High team participating in a multischool program to launch a corrosion of iron experiment to the International Space Station. She has also shared advanced science research curriculum with San Francisco Bay Area teachers. Her video lesson focused on the properties of carbon and water. "STEM is so important to me and for our students [because] we need objective critical thinkers to navigate these very challenging times," Messenger says. "I stay in touch with students who enrolled in my science research class, and they are already making significant contributions in STEM — many of them directly addressing COVID. My hope for the future of STEM education is that we can make a program like my research class accessible to all students at all levels. Carrying out authentic research not only pro- motes critical thinking and problem-solving skills, but also gives the students the confidence to take on any problem and know that they can find a solution." 48 CTA & You

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