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High school teachers excel during pandemic, honored by Tech Titans STEM Award

By Melinda Guravich, staff writer

Tech Titans presented its first STEM Excellence Awards to ten high
school educators who demonstrate creativity and leadership during challenging times as they inspire students to pursue STEM careers. The awards and virtual celebration were sponsored by State Farm.

Tech Titans recognizes these leaders as first responders. They’ve championed student needs and developed innovative approaches to STEM instruction for online and in-person learning during a global crisis.

Judges selected ten winners. Each received a plaque, a gift box and a retail gift card ahead of the virtual awards event. 

2020 STEM Excellence Award winners
Kari Nathan, Lewisville ISD, Genius Hour. Kari kept her students engaged, motivating them to participate virtually in a nationwide rocket competition during the pandemic.

 Kim Mosely, Lewisville ISD, Titration Lab. Kim made Chemistry Lab pandemic-friendly. “Students are not only learning chemistry; because of her they are loving chemistry,” a student said.

Gary Ryman, Lewisville ISD, Hebron Space Science and Engineering Rover Development Lab. Gary carried out a grant for OLLIE robots. By modifying the pre-pandemic hands-on experience, he created an “awesome” lesson plan to make the robots safely accessible for all.

Laura Bellone, Richardson ISD, was recognized for student-centered collaboration. She created STEM lessons that work for students learning from home by incorporating common household items. She encouraged collaboration and virtual sharing and empowered students to share screens and “drive” in a virtual environment.

Allison Han, Richardson ISD, delivered innovative online/hybrid instruction. She taught other teachers how to use 3D computers for virtual instruction and created virtual “escape rooms” for her health science students who were unable to prepare in person for medical certification exams.

Annette Munson, Richardson ISD, Animation 1 and 2. When classroom animation software wasn’t accessible from home, Annette pivoted lesson plans to stop-motion projects to keep students engaged. Shen then set up a new VDI so that animation software could ultimately run from home.

Samuel Mount, Richardson ISD, Integrated Problem-based Learning. English teacher Samuel brought STEM and English together using interactive virtual activities. 

Caleb Mayes, Richardson ISD, Applied Engineering and Robotics. Samuel adjusted curriculum for his hybrid class to encompass building robots in-person, or in a virtual environment. He used this as an opportunity to teach students about online security and safety and how to access virtual machines.

Morris Goldade, Wylie ISD, Robotics (VEX). Morris changed the robotics curriculum to blend in-person and online instruction and meet the supplies needs of remote students. He set up a drive-through pickup for materials and personally hand-delivered to many students during evenings and weekends to ensure they could complete their lessons.

Vernon Gibson, Wylie ISD, Engineering Design. Vernon helped students design and build a 3D-printed fork for use by a disabled member of the community who struggled to eat independently. The students are now working to design a spoon!

Congratulations, to these inspiring educators!

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