It’s Official-’15 NY PAEMST Science

After a year of learning I was a state finalist and a week of knowing I was selected it is finally official. Wheww…

I am going to write a bunch about this so that those interested know the key information. It is also something I want to share with the many, many, many people who helped it happen. I’ve included links to highlight writing I’ve already done in those departments.

This blog would be pages long if everyone was listed. Just know that my students, colleagues, administration, community, family, educators (elementary, middle, high, college) and broader group of PLN’s continue to influence my daily professional decisions. I really feel as though they all have a piece of this too.  I cannot thank them enough.

How did this happen? What did you have to do?

Pretty much I was nominated and applied. The application consisted of a videoed lesson that was 40 minutes long, a written narrative, artifacts, letters of recommendation, and a resume.

Given that we have 38 minute periods this was a most challenging piece. I asked one of my classes who always arrived early and left late what they thought. They said 40 minutes could definitely happen, no problem. I used a lesson that I loved on equilibrium. Things went well. The students had some amazing questions and excellent conversation.

The lesson and overall class made writing the narrative not so crazy. It was quite similar to the National Board Process which I honestly think every educator should do. I had to highlight 5 key dimensions of outstanding teaching that are: 1) content knowledge appropriate for students, 2) use of methods and strategies that are appropriate for students and support student learning, 3) effective use of assessments to evaluate, monitor, and improve student learning, 4) reflective practice to improve teaching and learning, and 5) leadership outside the classroom. For my artifacts I used student ‘pre-assessment’, their work from the day, and evidence that they learned the concept. Although we had months, I wrote the narrative on a plane to Denver for a Farm to School Conference.

My principal and his secretary were great and printed out a letter of recommendation. Thankfully I’ve been on top of things enough to keep my resume up to date.

Then What?

That was submitted May 1st. I heard nothing until August 13th when I found out I was a state finalist. That was quite exciting, especially since NY hadn’t anyone from the state the previous cycle.

Then I forgot about it. Seriously. I never expected they would pick me. I live in a rural area. I teach a challenging subject. I have all levels and types of students mixed into one class. I don’t have glitter coming out of my fingers when I teach. I am a normal teacher. That reality is most humbling.

Early July I got a bunch of requests from unusual places. I actually called the FBI to ask about what the said FBI form was. I thought it might be spam. I then had to upload a picture of high quality which after 20 or so attempts with other photos Kevin took one of me in-front of our fireplace.

Then, another month of nothing. One early evening an email arrived congratulating me but it said only to share with immediate family. I was shocked! So shocked I couldn’t breathe.

Now what?

I hope everyone understands that this honor is attainable for them. I really feel like I do what many other educators I am surrounding by do. I will be nominating people when it opens. It is an honor to be nominated for something. I also know I am surrounded by others doing what I do.

On September 7th I will travel to Washington DC for a few days. I am totally bummed to be missing the second to fourth days of school (thankfully the best sub ever will be in for me). I am really excited to meet the other awardee’s in person. I look forward to the knowledge we will share and the growth in practice I will experience from that trip. I plan on it influencing my classroom this year!

I will document that experience here in subsequent blogs so we can all share together.

If there is something you’d like me to share with you, please let me know!



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