PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

Each month, we highlight a PAESTA member (K-16 instructor, informal educator, or pre-service teacher) that has made a notable contribution to the Earth and space science community and/or has served as a leader for the discipline.  Please nominate a teacher for us to recognize (or self-nominate) by completing our online Contact form.

January 2015 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize Erin Kraal, a geologist and planetary scientist at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, for her interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to instructing students and teachers. For the past four years, Erin has her introductory-level planetary science students create ‘Telescopic Topics.’ She scaffolds activities for the students through the semester where they select a topic on planetary science, work with the science reference librarian, visit the writing center, and record their podcast at the campus student radio station, with the top podcasts then aired on campus radio.  Erin is also a co-coordinator and founder of a week-long summer institute at Kutztown for K-12 educators that explores the integration of art and science across the curriculum, integrating trips outdoors and to museums with studio art instruction and 3-D printing to enhance disciplinary connections.

Congratulations, Erin - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

December 2014 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize Rebecca Newschaffer, 7th grade math teacher at AMY Northwest Middle School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nominated by one of her peers, “Rebecca has been teaching for over 20 years and she has been teaching in Philadelphia for the last 8 years. She is always interested in teaching integrated math and science units that require the use of real time data. She is especially excited about co-teaching the Weather and Climate unit because there is such a wealth of data that students can organize and make claims about. She is looking forward to contributing new resources to the PAESTA Classroom that other teachers can use to engage students. Rebecca has been incorporating the Claims-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) strategy when teaching math, requiring students to make claims and provide evidence and reasoning for problem sets. Rebecca is also a respected member of the AMY Northwest family, always making herself available to help her students and colleagues when needed. She made her first presentation at the 3rd Annual PAESTA Conference this year and she truly deserves to be recognized as a PAESTAR!” We at PAESTA certainly agree!

Congratulations, Rebecca - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

November 2014 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Judy Treichler of 12th and Marion Elementary School in Reading, Pennsylvania. For the past two years, Judy has shared her professional experiences and knowledge by serving as a presenter at the PAESTA Annual Conference. In 2013, Judy led a session on grant proposal writing for teachers. In 2014, Judy presented on notebooking with claims, evidence and reasoning. Both of her sessions were very well attended, and Judy has quickly earned the respect and reputation as a leader in teaching Earth science at the elementary grade levels.

Congratulations, Judy - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

October 2014 PAESTAR

This month we recognize David Andrews, who teaches general science, environmental science and chemistry at Butler Junior High School in Butler, Pennsylvania. In August, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced David as a winner of the annual Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators. In a ceremony at the White House, David was one of 17 teachers from across the nation honored for contributions to environmental education and stewardship. David's full citation can be viewed at:

Congratulations, David - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

September 2014 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize Dr. David Bauman, Science Education Advisor for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, for his dedication and hard work towards improving education in all areas of science, which include the Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Earth and Space Science.  Dr. Bauman is the moderator for the online Science Learning Community in the SAS Portal site, providing a collaborative environment to extend and enhance the discussion of important issues, challenges, and ideas that promote success in the teaching and learning of science throughout the Commonwealth. Dr. Bauman has served for the second year on the STEMathon design team, helping establish a statewide conference for all disciplines of STEM education. Dr. Bauman also served as our morning keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual PAESTA Conference in 2013.

Congratulations, Dr. Bauman - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

August 2014 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize Theresa Rabogliatti, who teaches grades 6-8 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Pittsburgh, PA, for being selected as an official 2014 NASA Educator Ambassador for the Mars MAVEN mission. Theresa is one of only 60 teachers nationwide chosen for this honor, and she now trains other teachers on topics fundamental to space science, specifically magnetism and spectroscopy.

Congratulations, Theresa - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

July 2014 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize Valerie Adams, a sixth-grade teacher at John H. Taggart School in Philadelphia, PA. Valerie has used hands-on collaboration as an effective classroom strategy for her students to share their perspective on Earth science topics without the fear of criticism or being misunderstood.  For her female students that still had a fear of sharing their ideas, Valerie started a Girl Power STEM group during the lunch period.  She found the girls excited with the focused investigations and able to share their knowledge and understanding through Girl Power.

Congratulations, Valerie - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

June 2014 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize Christopher Hartman, a math and science teacher at Daniel Boone High School in Birdsboro, PA. Chris has consistently pursued professional development opportunities, such as the summer and academic-year programs offered through the Penn State Earth and Space Science Partnership. He also shows a strong commitment to the overall academic excellence of his students, having served as his school's Academic Challenge adviser since 2009. This year, against Berk County's sixteen public high schools, his students went undefeated until the final round before the state championship. 

Congratulations, Chris - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

May 2014 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize John Trey Smith III, a high school science teacher from Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School in Philadelphia, PA, for being selected for the 2014-2015 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. Beginning in September, Trey and thirteen additional selected educators will serve an 11-month fellowship in Washington, D.C., at sponsoring agencies. As Einstein Fellows, the educators will provide their host agency with practical classroom insight to inform the development and implementation of education programs and policies, especially those related to STEM education. Trey will serve as a Congressional Fellow on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the guidance of Brian O'Donnell.

Congratulations, Trey - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

April 2014 PAESTAR

This month, we recognize Blake Colaianne of Dallastown Area High School in Dallastown, PA, for his commitment to professional development and for sharing his classroom pedagogical innovations in Earth and space science.  Blake is the 2012 William B. McIlwaine Science Teaching Award winner from the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association and an author on two peer-reviewed journal articles, including one manuscript in the Journal of Geoscience Education.  Recently, Blake attended the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, and he presented in a geoscience education session at the Northeastern Section Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Blake’s presentation was titled, “Constructing a Climate Change Unit for High School Science Based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Framework.”  His innovative approach for teaching students about climate change and sources of climate data was a topic of conversation among attendees at his talk throughout the remainder of the conference.

Congratulations, Blake - you clearly are a PAESTAR!