ISAAPT Outstanding High School Physics Teacher
Candidate Information
2014-2015

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      Recent
 
            Filled out candidate info last year
1. David Baxter (21 years), Galesburg, Galesburg
2. William "Wes" Cooley (10 years), Lincoln-Way North, Frankfort
3. Walter Glogowski (20 years), Ridgewood, Northfield
4. Martin Kulak (15 years), James B. Conant, Hoffman Estates
5. Eric Malvik (4 years), Nokomis, Nokomis
           Filled out candidate info last year
6. Michael Marchizza (39 years), Edinburg District #4, Sherman
7. Jack Marino (28 years), Maine South, Park Ridge
8. ** David Schultz (11 years), Maine East, Park Ridge
9. Rebecca Vierya  (7 years), Cary-Grove, Cary

** Received the award



 

Last year's candidate information (2013-2014)

Candidate Information

Martin Kulak (15 years)
James B. Conant High School
700 E. Cougar Trail
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
847-755-3816
mkulak@d211.org
Dec. 20, 2013

Question 1:

A classroom needs to be a place where students want to be. Physics is a difficult class for a lot of students, for those students it is the first time they are asked to think...not just memorize. I believe that Physics must be taught in such a way that it seems like common sense. I also believe that the more my students are able to "play" with the material, the deeper they will understand the material. Science is about the process, not the results.

Question 2:

This is a hard question to answer because I do not think of myself as an outstanding physics teacher. I work closely with three other physics teachers in my department, and I do believe we are an outstanding physics teaching team. We work together very well as a team and have developed several quality learning tools (see the innovation section at the end of this form).

So, why would my department chair think I should be the physics teacher of the year? First, I would consider myself the leader of the team. I make sure all the members of the team are focused on a common goal, how we can improve physics education at Conant High School. I work tirelessly to improve my lessons and to make them fun, engaging, and require the students to think on their own. I am never satisfied at the end of the day and I always think I can do better. I have an upbeat and personable teaching style and I try to make all my students think that they are my favorite.

Question 3:

My proudest moments are when students talk about how they used physics in the real world. Many stories come to mind.  I will never forget when I received a phone call from a concerned parent because his son and two friends were building a rather large trebuchet in the garage after a lecture on conservation of energy.  Or when another student constructed a working sterling engine from household materials after a lecture on heat engines.  Or that other student who made a ballistic pendulum with his dad to determine the muzzle velocity of their potato cannon. When students take what we teach them in class and apply it to their own lives, I believe that is making an impact.

In addition to my classroom, all of my lectures can be found on my team's iTunes U course (see innovation section). It is quite rewarding to receive emails from students all over the world thanking me for the lecture videos I provided. The other day I received an email from a student from Brazil saying that because of my videos she passed her physics class, and, the previous year it was a stay-at- home mom using my videos to study for the MCAT. I love the fact that my teaching is impacting learners all over the world.

Question 4:

  • I have attended the February ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Conference the past two years.
  • I regularly attend Physics Northwest (northwest suburban physics professional learning team) meetings including the tri-meeting (AAPT, ISPP, and PNW) at Elmhurst College.
  • I attended the Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling Workshop at Niles North High School last year.
  • I attended the District 211 One to One Summit in November.

Question 5:

  1. I am the Leader of the District 211 Physics Teacher PLT (all the physics teachers in District 211).
  2. I co-taught a workshop on developing physics based games at the District 211 One to One Summit in November and will be doing the same at the February ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Conference.
  3. I am the lead teacher for a workshop titled "Teaching the Physical Sciences using iPads" at the February ICE Conference.
  4. I have hosted Physics Northwest (northwest suburban physics professional learning team) twice at Conant High School and regularly share ideas at the meeting.
  5. I have been the cooperating teacher for two student teachers.
  6. I have co-taught several in-district workshops during institute days on using technology in the classroom.

Question 6:

State and national standards can be broken up into 2 categories: content and skills. Content: Rather than have students frantically coping notes from the board, they are allowed to listen to what I am saying and add little reminders and insights to the notes. It also allows us more time to practice problems together and discuss demos. To assess their content retention I use data from their quizzes/tests to differentiate reinforcement homework. Individual quiz and test questions are tagged with specific learning targets. Students are given a grade on individual learning targets, rather than on the quiz/test as a whole. Students who do not meet expectations on a particular learning target complete reinforcement assignments for that target. The data also allows me, at the teacher, to look at the class as a whole and see what learning topics need to be covered again or differently.

Skills: I believe that exploratory and open ended activities are best for the students to play and use the content taught. I notice this is where they start asking the good questions and exposing the misconceptions that many of them hold. My students spend a lot of time thinking about how they are going to measure quantities and prove an idea. I have removed recipe like directions from labs to force my students to think on their own. I believe this approach allows students to develop their scientific reasoning skills and data collection/presentation skills.

Question 7:

With over 60,000 subscribers, our 4-person physics teaching team has created the world's most popular iTunes U high school physics course. I provided videos of all of my lectures and notes for learners all over the world to download and stream for free. Our team has been profiled twice on www.apple.com/education for our work on the iTunes U course. Here a link to the course.

I was a member of a team of four teachers who created a physics education app currently featured on iPads in Apple retail stores around the world: Step2Step Physics: Mechanics. Here is a link to the app.

I was a member of the pilot 1 to 1 initiative in District 211 that put an iPad in every one of my students' hands last year. I continue to adapt and redefine how students learn physics with technology.

I was one of the driving forces in using test data to differentiate learning in our district. Students receive immediate feedback and homework that is tailored to their individual weak areas. Many other teachers in the District 211 have followed my model.


Candidate Information

Michael Marchizza (39 years)
Edinburg District #4 High School
465 Quail Roost Ct
Sherman, Illinois 62684
217-725-6828
trekkin@live.com
Jan. 3, 2014

Question 1:

As a science teacher, I believe that doing science is as important as understanding the concepts involved. Science should be something that students explore hands-on with as many opportunities as possible. It is also my belief that the teacher can make the subject exciting or interesting regardless of the topic just by being passionate themselves about the subject. Finally I believe that the classroom environment should be inviting, stimulating, and one where the students feel comfortable and safe.

Question 2:

I think that mostly what makes my an outstanding physics teacher is that I am not a physicist and did not major or minor in physics or any physical science. So when I became a physics teacher due to the school's needs, I understood enough physics to relate to the students in a non-threatening manner. In other words, the students saw through me that physics can be understood and that you didn't have to be a "rocket scientist" or math wizard to do or understand physics.

Question 3:

I feel that my enthusiasm and passion for science has instilled in my students an excitement and interest in science and particularly an appreciation of physics. I believe it is my methodology and philosophy about learning as well as my attitude and passion for science that leaves students with an everlasting impact of at the very least not fearing science and at the very most gaining a deep appreciation for science.

Question 4:

During the past 5 years I have participated in workshops involving strategic aligned classrooms, chemistry taught in rural high schools, positive behavior initiatives, and common core standards. Having began my teaching career in 1974, I have seen many changes in education, and obviously have seen many types of reforms, reworkings, and revisions about what we teach, how we teach and who we teach.

Question 5:

I have mentored many younger teachers as well as people new to the teaching career. I have done my best to model my teaching methods, discuss my teaching philosophy, share my teaching experiences as much as possible.

Question 6:

Since I teach at a small rural high school now, I am the sole high school science teacher. Therefore I teach the biology, biology II, chemistry, physics, earth science, and anatomy & physiology classes. I incorporate the science teaching standards in every area, every grade level that I teach. The standards have been incorporated into my lesson plans in the form of labs, projects, power point production, lectures, field trips, science fairs, and other class-related activities.

Question 7:

In my earlier years of teaching I was one of the first teachers to use technology in the form of powerpoint, web pages, and online science activities. However that was many years ago. As of late I cannot say that I have though of any new innovations. I do always try to make each and every topic special, exciting, and something that the students will find interesting, and perhaps even want to learn more on their own. My newest innovative techniques would have to be the ways that I am exploring incorporating the common core standards into my various science classes including physics.


Candidate Information

David Schultz (11 years)
Maine East High School
2601 W. Dempster St.
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068
847-825-4484 ext 1362
dschultz@maine207.org
Jan. 23, 2014

Question 1:

• I believe the first step in the classroom is to engage students by making them see that physics is IMPORTANT! It can have an impact on their academic performance, career paths and ways of thinking. Real-world, relevant and authentic examples are essential to keeping student interest strong.
• I believe in emphasizing skills that will prepare students for careers beyond the physics classroom. Measurement, mathematical analysis, and modeling are examples of quantitative skills that are finding increased relevance in technical careers. Likewise, research and oral and written communication skills are fundamental to an even wider variety of venues in the "real world".  All of these skills must be taught and coached in the physics classroom setting.
• I believe in the importance of challenging students not only with high expectations, but with the idea that all students can be expert in physics at some level. Since it is such a broad and fundamental subject, physics offers innumerable points of entry for young people who previously thought of themselves as not interested in science.

Question 2:

• I strive to foster energetic, targeted and effective classroom dialogue on a daily basis. I create an environment in which students feel safe to take the risks necessary to engage in such dialogue.
• I constantly reflect and innovate. Whether this involves creating learning targets, turning a standard lab investigation into something more engaging for students, devising fun demonstrations, or refining homework assignments or projects, I do my best to design classroom experiences that enrich and inspire my kids.
• I provide opportunities for high-quality learning outside of the classroom. As an example, I initiated a student-driven, extracurricular, renewable energy research project. This was funded by grants from both the Illinois Innovation Talent and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation programs. Club achievements included installation of a pilot solar panel display, and securing a grant for installation of a 1kW panel array used to supplement building power.
• I provide in-class opportunities that allow students to link physics to the outside world, including the development of problem-based learning modules on noise pollution, bridge design, etc. I have created projects centered on visits to the Museum of Science and Industry and Six Flags Great America. I have also used personal connections to establish an annual visit to Argonne National Laboratory. In addition to the general tour of the facilities, students get a chance to visit up-close with my former colleagues at the Advanced Photon Source.
• I care about my students and strive to build positive personal relationships.

Question 3:

• I have helped to encourage girls to gain more interest in physics and STEM careers by sponsoring our school's renewable energy club for two years. The project involved about a dozen female students. Girls gained research experience, had multiple opportunities for hands-on building projects (including installation of a small solar panel outside our building), got to meet engineers and professionals from the larger community, and gained valuable experience presenting arguments to our district's community advisory group.
• Over last three years, I have worked to build up our AP Physics C program (28 students in 2013-2014) after a brief hiatus. As the teacher of accelerated juniors, I have been in an advantageous position for recruiting and communicating the importance of this course for STEM-related college and career paths.
• I have helped students to get important summer internships and have written many(!) letters of recommendation that have helped deserving students get accepted at the schools of their choice.
• I have played a role in inspiring some of my students to go into physics, engineering and teaching.

Question 4:

• I have implemented a number of significant changes in our accelerated physics course over the last several years, utilizing voluntary training from district PD initiatives in assessment literacy (summer 2013) and working as a member of my professional learning team in physics.
• I have created detailed learning targets for the accelerated physics curriculum at our school.
• Through my PLT, I have led the development of common assessments to be administered across all levels of physics at my school.
• For the accelerated physics program at my school, I have implemented a standards-based grading system, in which students receive feedback on specific targets and goals, rather than in traditional categories of tests, homework, etc. As part of this effort, I have been at the leading edge of using district software for grade keeping and reporting to students. I have shared my experiences with colleagues in both departmental and interdepartmental presentations.
• I have also trained for, and incorporated other innovative teaching strategies, including problem-based learning (PBL). Specifically, I used this methodology as the organizing structure for the renewable energy project described earlier (PBL training through IMSA and ILIT- sponsored programs)

Question 5:

• I have played leadership roles in my professional learning team, including standards coach (2012-2013) and team facilitator (2013-2014.)
• I have worked with 3-4 teachers new to physics in our department, serving unofficially to mentor them in physics teaching.
• I present topics to fellow teachers in departmental and building-wide forums.
• I mentored a student teacher in physics in the spring of 2012. She now teaches high school physics in a neighboring district.
• I am an involved member of Physics Northwest, attending and presenting at several PNW meetings each year. I have helped to host 3 meeting of Physics Northwest at my home school (dates X, X, X) I have also made numerous informal presentations at monthly PNW meetings (shoot-the-monkey, current transformer, bike wheel pendulum, stopping distance, telescope coordinate transform calculator, faraday cage, etc)
• In the summer of 2011, I spoke at the National AAPT meeting in Omaha about my experiences incorporating problem-based learning strategies in the classroom. (Presentation title: "Problem-based Learning in Physics Instruction")
• I published an article in the October, 2012 issue of The Physics Teacher, entitled "An inexpensive, multi-purpose physical pendulum." (v50, pp 436-438.)

Question 6:

• Through my professional learning team (PLT), I spearheaded the creation of several assessments designed to be administered to all physics students at our school. One of these common assessments was designed to look at how our physics instruction is addressing the Common Core reading standard for literacy in science and technology. The second assessment addressed student competency in mechanics. We have administered these assessments at all levels of physics instruction, and have used the results and to modify our practices.
• I am currently in charge of re-aligning our accelerated physics curriculum with the newly established Next Generation Science Standards. In my PLT, I am collaborating with fellow physics teachers at different levels to determine how to best interpret these standards for the students we teach.

Question 7:

A large part of my teaching focuses on high-quality activities and labs. Examples include
• Creation of many new labs for the accelerated and AP physics curricula at our school. An example of such a lab is one that I designed for rotational mechanics. In collaboration with a local bicycle shop, I created an inexpensive, multipurpose pendulum which is based on the hub of a bicycle wheel, and allows students to investigate the physics of both the physical- and ballistic pendula . This apparatus and corresponding activities were described in an article I published in The Physics Teacher magazine. (v50, 2012, pp 436- 438.)
• Many, many demonstration apparatuses constructed from PVC pipes!!! I have made use of video technology to engage students. There are three general contributions I have made to the physics curriculum at my school: o Creation of online video lessons and accompanying "flipped" classroom lesson plans for both AP and accelerated physics. I post these on a YouTube channel, MegaDSchultz that is frequently used by my students.
• Creation of numerous labs from scratch which allow students to analyze motion with commonly available video software (Tracker ™).  Examples include labs focusing on linear motion, 2D motion, and terminal velocity.
• Creation of a project in which students created their own videos analyzing movie physics.


Candidate Information

David Baxter (21 years)
Galesburg High School
1135 W. Fremont Street
Galesburg, Illinois 61401
(309) 973-2001
dbaxter@galesburg205.org
Feb. 11, 2014

Question 1:

There is a difference between getting a good grade and learning. I want to guide my students discover the difference between the two. I hope to inspire my students to choose to learn rather than just pursuing a grade because learning is so much more powerful, exciting, and fulfilling.

Question 2:

I strive to listen to my students as much as I talk to my students, and I provide space for the ideas to sink in and be processed. I fight the common teacher tendency to run over students with words and agendas.

I like to "tell the story of physics" because stories with interesting characters are more engaging than random facts. Stories are remembered and they help make sense of the facts. We often go back to the ancient Greek philosophers to start our stories, moving through the Dark Ages, up to Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and finally to more modern scientists.

I carefully craft my lessons to go from simple to more complex. I provide structure and organization for each new concept. And of course, I like to use humor to make class fun for the students and for myself.

Question 3:

I have tried to teach a "love of learning" as much as the learning itself. Favorite memories of mine include teaching Sylvia and Tyler in AP Physics. Sylvia was an excellent student but a self-confessed non physics person. She was willing to take a risk and take the class and discovered how much fun it was to learn Physics. She ended up loving physics! Tyler was used to coasting through school and nearly failed his first term of AP Physics. But then Tyler had that Ah-ha! moment and saw the difference between just getting assignments done versus actually digging in and learning. Tyler changed how he approached his education and I've never seen a student work so hard and enjoy it so much! The good grades followed as Tyler began to pursue learning.

The reward for me comes when my former students come back and visit after graduation and tell me what a difference our class made in their learning.

Question 4:

I have been searching for a better way to deliver course content for many years and my graduate courses reflect that. At first, I took courses in the modeling method and standards aligned curriculum. Then I learned website design as I explored putting my courses online. I moved away from developing my own website when I began learning to use Moodle. This has been one of the most exciting changes I've made in the classroom recently.

Many of my students push themselves much harder with each Moodle assignment compared to the book assignments. They really focus on learning the material and the techniques. They like the quick feedback provided online. I am still in the process of migrating my classes over to Moodle and I have many months ahead of me, but the process has been very rewarding for me and for my students.

Question 5:

I have had the opportunity to work with several student teachers and students doing observation work in preparation for student teaching. I am very proud of my profession and I enjoy passing on what I know to future teachers. Mentoring is a two way street and I often find that I pick up a few new ideas in exchange.

I've worked with my colleagues on standards aligned curriculum and recently, on the Next Generation Science Standards as our district begins to align with the new standards.

I'm gradually offering more and more assistance to other teachers as they begin to consider putting their courses on Moodle. Our district is not buying paper textbooks anymore, and we are looking for other ways to host and deliver course content. I've gotten a good head start with Moodle and I offer help to others when needed.

Question 6:

I have been studying the Next Generation Science Standards since they were first presented in draft form. The challenge for me was to gather up all of the pieces that fit under the Physics umbrella and arrange them in coherent courses. I had to make some changes in my curriculum and had to let go of a few things that were not represented in the standards as I added new topics that the NGSS included. I am currently weaving the NGSS into my courses, while coordinating with other teachers who teach related disciplines.

Question 7:

I am most pleased with the Physical Science experiments I developed while working with a colleague. We set aside the "cook book" method that usually requires students to follow a predetermined set of steps to arrive at a known outcome and instead, presented students with a question that required them to develop an experiment to find an answer. These experiments might be classified as "inquiry based" or "constructivist" but as we developed them our real goal was to give the students the opportunity to use the Scientific Method to help them find answers.

Our catapult contest and egg drop contest are always fun, but I make sure that we go beyond that and learn the Physics behind the fun. The concepts involve conservation of energy, projectile motion, momentum, and impulse. We have an electrical cook out day and cook hotdogs by including them in electrical circuits. I invented the Pirate Treasure Vector Game to help students learn about vector addition. The game is currently sold by Science Kit and Boreal Labs. We make liquid nitrogen ice cream. We make our own light bulbs. We have star parties and learn the constellations. And beyond this, I am still looking for that next innovation to help my students learn and love Physics.


Candidate Information

Walter Glogowski (20 years)
Ridgewood High School
1873 Bosworth Ln
Northfield, Illinois 60093
8479102878
wglogowski@gmail.com
Feb. 16, 2014

Question 1:

Foremost, I believe that students must be active participants in their education in order to get any benefit out of the curriculum which I teach. I also believe that experimentation must be significant, integrated, and tightly correlated to any lecture. With this said, students need to be guided through inquiry to allow them to develop the basic and advanced techniques of experimental observation and analysis. Guiding students in this fashion helps them develop critical and independent thinking skills and it encourages them to make abstract connections between the topics which I teach. I try to never introduce a new idea with only a lecture. Instead I design learning experiences that allow my students to master the material while gaining experience about the process of science. Teaching is a second career for me. Previous to teaching, I worked at Northwestern University's McGraw Medical Center in Chicago for fourteen years. When I began teaching at my current high school in 1995, I quickly realized that the curriculum which I was required to teach at that time was lacking the "experiences" that one gains while doing research. I realized that much of the high school curriculum that I used to teach did not include the process of understanding experimentation. It was at that time only of process of trying to find the source of error in activities that had been performed numerous times by countless classes. I decided to write a proposal for a grant from the GTE Corporation. As part of this grant, I applied to become a, GIFT Fellow (Growth Initiatives for Teachers) 1997-1998. I won the grant and received a $12,000 to implement an integrated curriculum centered on student research. My classroom became a place where my students focus on what they understand about the physical world around them, thereby gaining a deeper understanding about the nature and process of that world by doing research. Finally, I bring my passion for astronomy into my curriculum whenever I can. It has been my experience that students are naturally curious about the Universe and I capitalize on this curiosity by engaging them in projects that require higher-order thinking. Part of the grant that I received was used to construct a 4-meter radio telescope that my classes still use to this day.

Question 2:

I believe that I am an outstanding physics teacher because I have the ability to engage my students in critical thinking no matter what level they are at. I have always thought that it is easy to teach the highest performing students. Oftentimes, they have a natural curiosity about the physical world along with a natural ability to analyze problems and they are able to make connections between concepts that are taught. They also usually go home and do all of their assigned work and are well-prepared for class. On the other hand, the average students or the "challenging" students commonly struggle to make connections and they sometimes see little worth in taking physics. It is obviously much more difficult to teach these students. I am proud to say that I have had tremendous success with the students in this category with which other teachers may struggle. I develop unique curricula for these students whereby they learn all of the common physics principles but these principles are wrapped around unique projects that they perform. For example, when I was teaching my students about vector analysis of forces, they walked into my classroom in which boxes of different sizes and shapes were suspended from the ceiling. The boxes were labeled with the mass that each one represented. Additionally, the boxes were suspended by one or more ropes which simulated the "real-world" suspension of objects that they see in their neighborhoods, such as traffic signs, lights, and general signs. Another more current example is my one-to-one iPad class that I am running this year. After reading about a University of Illinois Chemistry Professor who had developed an analytical software application that can analyze light spectra and a separate iPhone app called SpectraSnapp created by James Roche of the American Physics Society, I began to brainstorm ways that my students could use both applications to perform a research project. I read an on-line source about remote sensing and the "bones" of a project came together for me to incorporate into my classroom. My students use the SpectraSnapp app to obtain light spectra from laboratory reference sources (emission tube spectra) and from light sources and the reflection of this light source to analyze the emission and absorption spectra. The project evolved into each student building the spectra-collecting attachment for their iPad, collecting individual data, analyzing that data and writing a scientific abstract and short paper on his/her research. Finally, in 2003 I was chosen as a NASA Educator Ambassador for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescopes. As an Educator Ambassador for the Fermi space mission, I attended two week long workshops at Sonoma State University during those summers in which I learned about the physics of the Fermi space telescope and the other NASA space missions from the principal investigators of those missions. Because I was chosen as an ambassador, I am able to bring my knowledge about the physics behind these space missions into my classroom. These are just a few examples from different points of my career in which I have striven to find ways to bring unique learning experiences into my classroom for my students.

Question 3:

I have always attempted to find ways to involve my students in extracurricular physics-related activities, which have had great impact on them. One example is a program that I am involved in called Educational Research in Radio Astronomy. Since 1998, I have been a co-coordinator in University of North Carolina's Educational Research in Radio Astronomy (http://skynet.unc.edu/erira/about/) in Chapel Hill. The program is for college and university students who are interested in physics and astronomy but I bring to the program 3 or 4 high school students from my school. They work for one week at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV doing astronomical research alongside the university students from across the nation who act as mentors for my students. Dr. Daniel Reichart, an astrophysics professor at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill started the program while he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago. I meet Dan when I was implementing a "maker" lab curriculum in my physics class. The students were making a small dish radio telescope from a grant which I won from the GTE cooperation. At the time, Dan was a graduate student working in the lab of a microwave astronomer, Dr. John Carlstrom. I was looking for help and I contacted Dr. Carlstrom and he, in turn, asked Dan if he would help "this high school teacher who was trying to build a radio telescope." Dan was more than willing to help me set up not only my dish but also work with my students. It was at this time that he invited both my students into the Educational Research in Radio Astronomy program and me into the program as a co-coordinator. The exposure to the program for my students has been life changing! Most of the students at my school do not attend a four-year college. Most of the students come from homes where both parents are recent immigrants to the country and English is not spoken at home. Over three-quarters of the students that I have taken into the program are females. All of the students who have attended the program have gone on to attend a four-year school college and half of those students have pursued advanced degrees in a field of science or medicine.

Another example of my impact on my students was when I helped four of my students apply for a grant to the National Optical Astronomical Observatory at Kitt Peak in Tuscon, Arizona. They applied to study a type of star called Cataclysmic Variable star named a POLAR with the WYIN telescope. POLAR's have intense magnetic fields of thousands of Gauss and a companion star which orbits them. The companion star accretes from its atmosphere onto the POLAR which causes the POLAR to 'flash' in luminosity when it ignites the hydrogen that the companion is accreting. My students won the grant which gave them the opportunity to study the Polar with the WYIN telescope for three nights atop the mountain with a professional astronomer as their mentor at Kitt Peak. For juniors in high school, this had a life changing impact on their lives. One of the female students was accepted into the University of Chicago, another female student went into a science program at the University of Florida. The two male students who were also on the team attended engineering programs in Colorado. All of these students are now first generation college graduates. As for the students that do not go on extend academic field-trips, I create projects and opportunities for them to become involved while at school, such as the aforementioned radio telescope project within my physics and astronomy classes.

Question 4:

I am activity involved in the scientific community and I actively attempt to develop opportunities in which my students can participate. Most of my professional development activities are associated in the field of astrophysics because of my previously mentioned connection with the University of Chicago's Astrophysics Department and the University of North Carolina's Educational Research in Radio Astronomy Program. Once the U of C's Dr. Reichart and I became good friends, I was introduced to other professional astronomers. The astrophysics community is a relatively small group and it amazes me how becoming friend with Dr. Reichart has professionally changed my life as an educator.

Since 2001, I have worked along with professors and graduate students in the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago to develop activities for and participate in the program called 'Space Explorers' - a program that specifically brings approximately thirty underprivileged, Chicago inner-city, minority school age students to the U of C's Yerkes Observatory (Williams Bay, WI) for week-long science education programs that meet twice a year. I routinely work with graduate students to implement the program for the school age students and working with these graduate students in this program gives me access to cutting edge scientific researchers. For example, this past winter I worked with a graduate student who was doing research at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland) for the past two years on neutrinos. I also worked alongside Dr. Juan Collar who is doing research at U of C and Fermi Lab on hypothetical astroparticles (WIMP's, anions and magnetic monopoles). Working alongside professionals such as these gives me the unique opportunity to speak to them about science and thereby learn cutting edge astrophysics from them. It is by participating in these out-reach activities that I am invited into the labs of the professors who help in the Space Explorers Program. Of course, I am a member of numerous scientific organizations and I routinely attend local and national meetings and I have made presentations at these meetings.

Question 5:

I am activity involved in my school's mentoring program for new teachers and I have mentored four new physics teachers in the last six years at my school. I also mentor teachers outside of my school district because of my involvement in my school articulation meetings with our 'feeder' school districts. Additionally, I have given seminars at Yerkes Observatory entitled "Stars at Yerkes" a program for ~6-12 teachers who are interested in bringing real scientific research into their schools. I have had a few student teachers but this depends on my Department Chair first offering them the opportunity to work within our Department.

Question 6:

I always embraced the 'old' Illinois Science Learning Standards and the National Science Standards in my curriculum. Currently, I am activity writing curriculum and implementing the Next Generation Science Standards. Specifically, I read the standards and 'dissect' my curriculum to see how I am addressing the thematic content required by these learning standards. If I find that I am not addressing one or more of the 'strands' within the standards, I re-develop my curriculum to incorporate those strands. As a trained researcher, I understand the process of science and how to interpret the science education standards and move them into the classroom. I view all science, not only physics, as an integrated pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and life-long learning. This view is reinforced by the professional physicists and cosmologists who I personally know and who speak to me about their research. They understand that their fields are entwined within other fields of science. So, for example, when I read the Next Generation Science Standard HS-PS3-4

Plan to conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of energy when two components of different temperatures are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system.

I see this standard as a way to bring together ideas about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that students learned in chemistry into the physics classroom and to help bridge the principles of the second law into their junior year biology class in which they can apply this Law towards the explanation of why a seed contains stored energy and nutrients. Physics and chemistry lay the groundwork for students to understand that, after the seed's germination, the embryo will grow and develop into a tree in which free energy was required for the embryo to grow into an organized tree. They will learn that the source of this energy was sunlight, which is harnessed through photosynthesis, and which requires an understanding of light. Hopefully they will remember and be able to apply the time they studied light with the iPad and spectra application in physics (previously described above)! Therefore, I can say that I read and attempt to understand the standards as a blueprint that teachers need to follow in order to bring rich and rewarding educational experiences to their students through project- and problem-based education.

Question 7:

One of the teaching innovations that I created and that my department now uses is the idea of "laboratory captains." All laboratory captains meet with the teacher the day before a laboratory activity is planned and they review the activity in detail with the teacher. It is during this time that the teacher explains the lab and answers any questions about the lab to the captains. The day of the lab, each 'captain' is responsible for leading his or her group, usually 3 students, in the laboratory investigation. The captain is responsible for answering questions about equipment setup, data collection, and he/she attempts to make connections with other topics that were taught in the course. They are also responsible for leading the post-lab written report session. This allows the teacher more time to circulate around during both the lab and the post-lab writing session to ask probing questions of the students and to correct any misconceptions about the activity. Just as importantly, this allows students to take leadership rolls during lab and to become 'the teacher'. This is especially important for quiet students who would otherwise never take a leadership role in class and for some female students who do not like to take leadership roles with male students. This innovation has changed the dynamic of labs by taking away the role of the dominant student with a dynamic personality that may possibly monopolize all aspects of the laboratory activity on a routine basis.


Candidate Information

Rebecca Vieyra (7 years)
Cary-Grove High School
53 Pine Ct
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
(309) 824-8853
rvieyra@d155.org
Feb. 25, 2014

Question 1:

My goal is to improve science literacy through physics understanding - the medium for this to occur is through inquiry and explicit teaching about the nature of science. My classroom is based upon the principles of cooperative learning (interdependence, individual accountability, and social/scientific skills), hands-on and minds-on activities, inquiry with contextual, real-life learning, and metacognitive practices to elicit, confront, and resolve misconceptions. I incorporate technology and engineering practices, and use creative assessments. For example, in a study of projectiles, students interact with projectiles (water balloons, sports, etc.) and are asked to determine the relationships between angle, height, range, and time of flight using inquiry practices and prior kinematics knowledge. Misconceptions are elicited and resolved using clickers on diagnostic questions, discussions using TIPERs (Heiggelke, et al.) and Quantoons (Tomas Bunk), whiteboarding/Modeling practices, and interactive demonstrations (Sokoloff). I use non-traditional assessments for a unit such as this, including video analysis of a home-made projectile video, and a cooperative activity in which small groups are given the task of placing fire-lit hoops at different ranges, with the goal to determine appropriate heights and angles given the initial conditions of a projectile. Whenever possible, I encourage students to write and solve their own contextual problems, and read about historical and nature of science case studies and concepts relevant to students' lives - I have received generous grants to provide my classroom with sets of Physics of Football (Timothy Gay), Story of Science (Joy Hakim), and Evolution of Physics (Albert Einstein).

Question 2:

I have been recognized for my accomplishments as an NSTA New Teacher Fellow (2010), ISTA New Science Teacher of the Year (2011), National Board Certified Teacher (2011), Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching state finalist (2013, with national selection TBD), and as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellow semi-finalist (interviewed with NSF and NASA, February 2014, with final selection TBD). Both National Board Certification and PAEMST result, in-part, from my scores of video-taped lessons, and are a testament to my ability to guide student inquiry through labs and interactive discussions. In line with my teaching philosophy, I engage students through all levels of inquiry in most units (discovery learning, interactive demonstrations, inquiry lessons, inquiry labs, real-world application, and hypothetical inquiry). Almost all information is derived from student experiences and discussions, and condensed into a concept map "toolbox." Whenever possible, I teach within a context that is either directly relevant to their lives or interests (i.e. cell phone science unit), set within a historical framework (Ben Franklin's electrostatics experiments), and that encourages explicit learning about the nature of science and science inquiry. I include the use of technology, including educational gaming (Impulse, Quantum Spectre), web and mobile device simulations (PhETs, Phydics), online content resources (PhysicsClassroom, TED talks), and other learning tools. My administration has also recognized me for my use of metacognitive practices with my students, including the use of pre- and post-tests, student reflection on learning targets, and the use of whiteboarding and clickers as formative assessments.

Question 3:

The impact of my teaching is demonstrated through growth on the science portion from the PLAN to the ACT. My students increased from an average of 22.7 to 25.7 points (after 8 months of my instruction). The College Board states that students typically demonstrate a growth of 1-4 points between these two exams -- an average growth of 3 points overall is commendable. From 2008-2010, I used the Test of Understanding Graphs in Kinematics. Research by Beichner of North Carolina State University shows students correctly answer 7.4/20 questions after didactic physics instruction. Over three years, my students demonstrated Hake gain growth from 3.5-7.5 (24% gain), 4.9-10.3 (35% gain), to 5.2-11.6 (43% gain) - values higher than those of students in didactic courses, and increasing each year. More recently, I have used diagnostic tests to create pre-tests unit by unit, and collect post-test data immediately before unit exams using clickers. It is not uncommon for my students to demonstrate growth averaging 40%-100%. Students have directly benefited from my grant-writing ($25,000+), and my students now have take-home, one-to-one Nexus tablets to provide all with internet accessibility and specialized learning and data collection apps. As a summer school teacher at the Lab School of Science and Technology (summer 2010 and 2013) and curriculum writer for Woodstock Challenger Learning Center, I have also provided accelerated learning for gifted students and contributed to informal science education. From 2008-2011, I also coached Science Olympiad.

Question 4:

My greatest professional development has been the process of co-writing a 40- chapter book, Teaching High School Physics. Collaborating, writing, researching, reflecting on my own teaching, editing, and beginning the professional review and publication process has been eye-opening. We called for reviewers at the fall ISAAPT meeting in fall 2013, and currently have 51 reviewers. From 2009- 2010, I completed my Master's in Science Education from the Illinois Institute of Technology, with special emphasis on leadership and the nature of science. That year, I was an NSTA New Teacher Fellow and took part in a year-long mentorship and training institute before attending the National NSTA Convention. In 2011, I earned my National Board Certification in AYA/Science-Physics. I am work with Pearson as an item writer and expert reviewer for content exams for board certification in physics. That year, I traveled to Omaha for training through AAPT's Physics Teacher Resource Agent program. I have also attended a variety of specialty workshops, including the Sloan Digital Sky Survey at FermiLab (3 days) (2009), Material Science (5 days) (2013), and multiple in- house district courses (Love and Logic, Cooperative Learning, Teaching ELLs, Aligning Learning Targets, Social and Emotional Learning - for an equivalent of 9 hours of graduate credit). From 2010-2013, I served as ISAAPT's High School Physics Teacher Representative, and have created and managed the group's Google+ page, Facebook group, and Twitter feed. Since 2009, I have given nine presentations/workshops, and attended eight conferences through AAPT/AAAS, ISAAPT/CSAAPT, NSTA, and ISTA.

Question 5:

In 2009, I co-taught ISU.s Physics 489.01 - Physical Science for Middle School Teachers to a cohort of District 150 teachers over four weeks. These teachers had significant need for physical science content comprehension and content- specific teaching pedagogy, and both their end-of-course exams and feedback a year later demonstrated their growth and maintained use of the course material. From 2006-2007, I worked as an NSF Teaching Fellow with 12 teachers to develop and teach STEM curriculum. I have written curriculum for both the Woodstock Challenger Learning Center and the Lab School of Science and Technology. I have given over 20 presentations and workshops, including an invited co-presentation, "Inquiry in Physics" at a conference in Puebla, Mexico (2005), "Electrostatics with Ben Franklin" workshop (ISAAPT, 2009), "Science of Cell Phones" workshop (CSAAPT, 2009, and "Whiteboarding with Socratic Dialogue" (Tazewell County In- Service, 2007). I was invited and will present on "Teaching Physics and Space Science through Inquiry" at Bandung University and SEAMEO (Asian science education conference) in Indonesia this June. I have also served as an AAPT e-mentor to two novice teachers since last summer, and volunteered as an informal mentor and reader for two National Board Certification applicants. I helped a doctoral student from the Illinois Institute of Technology collect data on nature of science and inquiry instruction in my classroom, and have collaborated with Edge, an NSF-sponsored non-profit to collect data on the educational value of science-based gaming for my students.

Question 6:

This past summer I attended a workshop on the Common Core Standards and discussed how to incorporate the standards for reading and writing in science into my own curriculum. The result has been that I have included more literary and academic readings in my course (at least one per unit), with assessment exercises that require students to summarize, infer, and connect. I have used Google Docs and other apps to require more writing, peer editing, and digital annotation of readings. I also collaborated over the last year with a Literacy Specialist to improve reading activities once per unit in my Physical Science course. As part of a district course, I also developed activities to enhance reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills for my English Language Learners. Also this past summer, I served on the district Next Generation Science Standard committee. I developed the document, with my peers, to align all levels of our current and potential physics courses (Regular, Honors, AP1, AP2, and APC) to the NGSS standards. We forwarded our findings to the district, who made decisions regarding the replacement of Honors Physics with AP1. Although we did not find our content to be lacking, we did find a need to include more of the engineering process and projects. As a result, we developed an engineering project for minimizing the impact of a falling cell-phone, and I have supplemented my curriculum with a research project associated with cell phone signal transmission.

Question 7:

Last year I wrote and received a $25,000 grant to pilot a one-to-one Nexus 7 program with the Google Apps for Education beta. As the first and only high school teacher to beta-test the take-home program, I have incorporated tablet-based technology into my classroom while contributing to the beta development. I have had students use tablet-specific apps/simulations and data collection sensors (i.e. for collecting data on roller coasters, in elevators, etc.), while encouraging skills for digital reading and annotation using iAnnotate, writing and note-taking using voice-to-text features, collaboration through discussions and peer review on Google Docs, and diagnostic and formative assessments through "clicker" apps such as Socrative. Working with my husband, a software engineer, we have both created a line of free Android apps for physics teachers and students that use mobile device sensors to collect data. Of the "Physics Toolbox" suite (goo.gl/MRdRvd), we have over 35,000 users using 11 apps (Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Barometer, Gyroscope, Thermometer, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor, Sound Meter, Tone Generator, Hygrometer, and Roller Coaster (accelerometer + barometer + gyroscope)). These apps have been used by both teachers and researchers, and have been used in papers published by ourselves ("Analyzing Forces on Amusement Park Rides" (2014). The Physics Teacher, Vol. 52, pp. 567- 569) and others (Strawson, R., (2013) "Map and apps widen the scope of school physics," Physics Education, pp. 409-410, and Sans, J. A. et al, (2013), "Oscillations studied with the smartphone ambient light sensor," European Journal of Physics, 34.)


Candidate Information

Jack Marino (28 years)
Maine Township High School South
1111 S. Dee Road
Park Ridge, IL 60068
224-383-4475
jmarino@maine207.org
Feb. 26, 2014

Question 1:

I believe a teacher is first and foremost a motivator. Secondly, a teacher is a role model. And thirdly, a teacher is an orchestrator.

Providing students with a meaningful, relevant, and interesting curriculum is crucial to the learning process. Once students are engaged emotionally, they will have the attitude and energy to do remarkable things. In general, people deeply enjoy learning, improving, and being productive. It is a cycle that feeds back on itself.

Role modeling habits of mind is part of this motivation process. A teacher's curiosity, attention to detail, intellectual honesty, open mindedness, healthy skepticism, persistence, and general commitment to quality rarely go unnoticed by students. Especially at the high school level, students are naturally tuned- in to role models and others who present new perspectives on learning and decision-making.

For me, the most challenging and rewarding part of teaching is the orchestration of a unit of study. Hundreds of daily decisions need to be made regarding the proper timing and use of laboratory work, cooperative learning, differentiated instruction, questioning techniques, technology, formative assessment, problem- based learning. In addition to this, I need to decide on when to challenge, when to encourage, when to be meta-cognitive, when to take a break, and how to include student input into these decisions. At its best, teaching should be providing students with opportunities and encouragement for experiencing first- hand how enjoyable and empowering it is to question, reason out, and deeply understand something.

Question 2:

This is a tough question because so many of the colleagues with whom I work or know from workshops or Physics Northwest are very talented teachers who are deeply committed to teaching. I have had the good fortune to be inspired by truly outstanding teachers like Chris Chiaverina, Tom Senior, Martha Leitz, Earl Zwicker, Jim Hicks, Bob Grimm, Scott Welty, John Lewis, Jim Stankevitz, and Clifford Swartz to name only a few.

That said, teaching and learning physics has been my profession and my passion for the past 27 years. I genuinely enjoy the enthusiasm and candor of high school students and feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work with them as they piece together their own understanding of physics. Using the modeling method of teaching physics has allowed my students the opportunity to confront their misconceptions and build reasonable scientific models through student-designed experiments and guided questioning by their peers and myself. New brain research, technology, and learning strategies such as Assessment Literacy have made this an exciting and challenging time to be teaching. If I am outstanding teacher it is not because I have been able to master all of these new strategies and methods. I am undoubtedly a novice in many of them. It would be because I continuously strive to incorporate the best of the new with the best of the old for the good of my students.

Question 3:

As a result of taking physics, my students develop skills in observation, questioning, experimental design, data collection, data analysis, mathematical modeling, proportional reasoning, quantitative estimation, problem-solving, respectfully critiquing their peers, and defending their ideas. As the year progresses, students gradually begin to expect physics to be reasonable. Without being prompted, they begin looking for connections and formulating questions. This reveals a mind shift in their relationship to physics. They now assume physics makes sense and that they can comprehend it and when something does not make sense, they have the confidence and know how to remedy this.

When a student begins to learn physics it is perspective-changing and most high school students seem to deeply appreciate a new perspective. Whether they are beginning to understand our place in the universe, the ideas of symmetry and conservation laws, how science is done, or how so many phenomena can be explained by so few concepts, it is such a pleasure to see my students become aware of these ideas for the first time.

Question 4:

In the past five years I have had the following professional development:

Assessment Literacy Workshop Modeling Physics Workshop Questioning and Discussion Strategies Workshop Numerous AP Physics workshops Numerous Monthly Physics Northwest meetings Solar Energy Workshop at Northwestern University

Question 5:

• I have been a cooperating teacher for several student teachers.
• I have given numerous presentations at our monthly Physics Northwest meetings.
• I have given 4 training sessions for my district on creating and using videos for differentiated instruction.
• I have received numerous e-mails from teachers around the world indicating that my on-line videos have helped them understand or teach a given topic. Many of these teachers have put a link to my videos on their course websites.

Question 6:

In April I will be attending a workshop on incorporating the NGSS's into our curriculum. I expect to leave with a couple of unit designs for specific standards. I have not yet begun to incorporate the newest standards into my curriculum.

Question 7:

In 2009 I made 208 YouTube videos for the AP Physics curriculum to begin flipping my classroom. To my surprise, my students' AP scores actually went down. Oddly enough, the videos seemed to significantly help students who normally struggled but hindered the more talented students who could pick things up after only one time through the material. I believe the reason they were hindered is because they were not actually viewing the videos or were "multitasking" as they were doing so. The following year I again used the videos but this time gave a daily quiz to encourage the students to focus more on these videos. This helped to bring the scores back up to where they were before 2009. I currently use the videos as one of many available resources for differentiated instruction. They have also been very useful for students who miss class or who need more review of a particular topic. I currently have over 13,000 subscribers and over 3 millions views by students and teachers from around the world.


Candidate Information

William "Wes" Cooley (10 years)
Lincoln-Way North High School
19900 S Harlem Ave
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-412-4123
wcooley@lw210.org
Feb. 28, 2014

Question 1:

Students learn to love science by doing science. As a physics teacher, it is my responsibility to create experiences in the classroom through which my passion for science is absorbed by my students. I want my students to feel that the search for scientific knowledge is a worthwhile pursuit. My dream would be for all of my students to consider a STEM major and career; however as a realist I do want my students to understand and appreciate the contributions of scientists and engineers in our everyday lives. I believe that all students should have at least a fundamental understanding of essential topics in physics. It is my responsibility to introduce them to these topics in a way that generates an interest and appreciation for the topic. This interest arises from their prior experiences and generated experiences in the classroom.

Question 2:

My passion for physics, my classroom presentations and innovations, and the high expectations that I have for my students to reach their maximum potential makes me an outstanding physics teacher. I know that physics may not be the easiest subject for students to master, but I believe that the teacher and the classroom experiences a student has that contribute to the student's interest and enthusiasm for learning. When I meet people and I tell them that I am a physics teacher I never get a neutral response. Inevitably the ones who don't like physics had a bad experience or a bad teacher, and the ones who liked physics had a good experience with a good teacher. I continually strive to ensure that my students will respond positively when they meet a physics teacher in the future. By creating lecture and demonstration combinations that hold my student's attention and using frequent opportunities for them to manipulate laboratory equipment I am providing them positive experiences in physics. I am also a great teacher for the high expectations I have from all of my students for them to reach their fullest potential. I am constantly monitoring their progress and consistently use feedback from assignments and student self assessments to determine if there are any misconceptions that need to be addressed before the class is ready to move on to the next topic.

Question 3:

Every year I have quite a few students remind me of the positive impact I have had on their academic achievement. I have students that return to do observation hours for their physics teacher preparation programs. I have students that run into me outside of school that make a point to say "hi". Most of these interactions contain that former student's remembrance of a memorable classroom experience. Some of these are now students that I haven't seen in several years, so I can say that some of their experiences are now a part of their long term memory. I have students that are taking physics at the collegiate level contact me to either thank me for how well they have been prepared for that class in comparison to their peers, or to ask me for advice on a particularly challenging problem. It is great to read the local newspaper and read that students that you have had in the past are experiencing success in their own careers. I love this aspect of my job and I appreciate the potential amount of positive influence that I can have on some of my students.

Question 4:

The major professional development that I have undertaken is National Board Certification. I am proud to be a NBCT and am impressed with how the process requires a teacher to be extremely reflective on their teaching practices. This certification is not the end; I am always looking to implement new ideas and procedures in my teaching that might contribute to the success of my students.

In this time I have also attended several conferences on AP Physics B best practices. These have helped me to develop a successful AP experience for my seniors.

I have taken a lead role in our district curriculum review. I have encouraged our teachers to strive to be more efficient with our students' time. Fewer topics should lead to greater depth of knowledge, but more topics lead to a breadth of knowledge. This balance between opposing forces has required a high level of focus and collaboration.

Question 5:

Over the past two years I have served as the mentor teacher for the new physics teacher at Lincoln-Way North. His content knowledge is second to none, but we have discussed ways to improve his delivery to the students to maintain their interest, and to include more hands on activities and labs to enrich his student's classroom experience. He has become a valuable resource for new ideas and a fresh perspective. I have learned as much from him as he has learned from me.

Over the past several years our district has encouraged all of our teachers to observe the classroom of great teachers. I am honored when a colleague chooses my classroom for his observation hours. My door is always open and I try to keep the administration informed about especially cool lab or demo days. I have visitors to my classroom at least once a month. I know through their feedback that they are able to take back some ideas to use in their classroom and daily life.

I use an overhead camera projector and a Livescribe pen to record my lectures and problem solutions. This pen records the lecture notes and the audio, kind of like a Khan Academy video. The students are then able to access these notes and problem solutions on line at home if they need additional help. My student and their parents appreciate this additional support from technology. I have been requested to demonstrate this use of technology several times for various groups during staff development meetings.

Question 6:

Obviously with major changes in state testing and national standards we have all been busy trying to stay ahead of the curve on implementation. I feel like my ten years of mouse trap cars, catapults, and bridge building have finally been nationally recognized as worthwhile activities through the engineering components of the NGSS. I am not a "modeler" per se, but I have been implementing more true inquiry labs. I am trying to streamline their effectiveness with the amount of time that is required for completion. Our physics curriculum at Lincoln-Way North has always been rigorous, and I am constantly trying to maintain this high standard. Some of my colleagues see this shift to PARCC testing and the NGSS as an opportunity to cover less material. I think that we are still responsible to teach juniors and seniors in high school about basic kinematics even though the Physical Science standards start with Newton's Laws.

Question 7:

One of the teaching innovations that I am the most proud of are my "red star" labs. These laboratory experiences arose from the observation of student's reaction to a successful "ball in cup" lab. Every year some of the lab groups cheer when they have successfully predicted the location of the balls landing. I thought that there could be a way to make this reaction to a successful prediction of physical phenomena a main focus of our laboratory experiences. So, over the past several years, I have developed quite a few additional prediction labs that give the student a reason for collecting and interpreting their data: the receiving of a "red star". Here are some of the student driven, red star labs that we use in my physics classes.

1) Predicting the location of a collision using constant motion and accelerating vehicles. 2) Projectile launch through a ring stand hoop. 3) Collision - double ball in cup. 4) Measuring the length of the hallway with diffraction 5) Predicting the speed or height of a pendulum using conservation of energy. 6) Finding the fundamental frequency for different strings and tensions. 7) Predicting the voltage and current through a branch of a circuit.

I am always trying to modify the normal labs to have this predictive success component. The students are now always asking me how to earn their "red star" with any of their laboratory experiences. I am amazed at how much additional effort is put into their data collection and interpretation for a simple stamp.


Candidate Information

Erik Malvik (4 years)
Nokomis High School
511 Oberle Street
Nokomis, Illinois 62075
3092305329
erikmalvik@nokomis.k12.il.us
Feb. 28, 2014

Question 1:

My teaching philosophy for science is that the students should understand the process of science and be an integral part in that process. I am the guide, the prompter, and the questioner, but I am not the answer giver. It is important for the students to understand that the knowledge in their books has come from the same process that they do during their labs, and that they can build their own scientific knowledge base just by observing and testing the things around them.

Question 2:

I try to make connections to the students while also keeping my expectations high. I try to balance the rigor and challenge of physics with fun projects, assignments, and different classroom activities that give students more ownership of the classroom. I have learned that the more ownership the students have of the classroom, the more engaged they will be in any topic.

Question 3:

I have not been teaching for too long, but I understand that teaching physics at a small school means that not many of may students will go on to major in physics in college. Many of my students enjoy the active classroom that I give them and the respect that I treat them with. I know that I am more than a physics teacher to many of them, and that my impact is teaching them that if they have the ability to succeed in a difficult class such as physics, then they can achieve other difficult goals as well.

Question 4:

I have been to ISTA conferences for the previous 4 years. I have also been to differentiated instruction seminars, common core seminars, and have taken a class on the NGSS.

Question 5:

I have completed a mentoring program as a mentee, which is part of the professional development for both the mentor and the mentee. Since I am a new teacher, I have been leaning on others for assistance much more than they have been seeking it from me.

Question 6:

My classroom is all about the process of science and engineering. I have incorporated new technology as well. In the past year, we have done engineering projects for the egg drop, a car crash, designing slides to reach the ground in a certain amount of time, and designing 2-liter rockets. I have students use technology to collect data, such as motion detectors, and model motion using graphs and mathematical equations.

Question 7:

I don't know if I have innovations, but I have my own style of the modeling curriculum from Arizona State University. I have incorporated different engineering projects (both short and long) into the curriculum over the years, which always peaks the students' interest. I also enjoy giving the students' opportunities to argue their point of views and their findings for labs. I incorporate my class website as a communication tool for the students to upload projects, lab data, maintain blogs, and view assignments. Overall, I try to keep things interesting and fresh for me and the students.


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Candidate Information

Martin Kulak (16.5 years)
James B. Conant High School High School
700 E. Cougar Trail
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
8477553816
mkulak@d211.org
Feb. 17, 2015

Question 1:

My philosophy is always evolving. Students need time to play, time to fail, and time to practice. The more the students DO themselves, the more questions they begin to ask on their own. Once the students begin to ask questions, they have taken ownership of their own learning.

Question 2:

I work tirelessly to improve my lessons and to make them fun, engaging, and require the students to think on their own. I am never satisfied at the end of the day and I always think I can do better. I have an upbeat and personable teaching style and I try to give each of my students the individual attention they need to feel comfortable to take chances and grow...both as learners and as people.

Question 3:

First, I have two former students teaching along side of me here at Conant ...along with two former student teachers employed and teaching physics.

My proudest moments are when students talk about how they used physics in the real world. Many stories come to mind…I will never forget when I received a phone call from a concerned parent because his son and two friends were building a “rather large” trebuchet in the garage after a lecture on conservation of energy…or when another student constructed a working Sterling engine from household materials after a lecture on heat engines…or that other student who made a ballistic pendulum with his dad to determine the muzzle velocity of their potato cannon. When students take what we teach them in class and apply it to their own lives, I believe that is making an impact.

In addition to my classroom, all of my lectures can be found on my team’s iTunes U course (see innovation section). It is quite rewarding to receive emails from students all over the world thanking me for the lecture videos I provided. I love the fact that my teaching is impacting learners all over the world.

Question 4:

-I, along with 3 colleagues, I am a Featured Speaker at the ASTE (Alaska Society for Technology) Conference in Anchorage, Alaska this weekend.

After we present, we will attend other speakers sessions. -I have attended the February ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Conference the past two years.

-I attend Physics Northwest (northwest suburban physics professional learning team) meetings

-I attended the Computational Thinking and Mathematical Modeling Workshop at Niles North High School two years ago

-I attended/presented the District 211 One to One Summit in November the past two years

Question 5:

-I am the Leader of the District 211 Physics Teacher PLT (all the physics teachers in District 211)

-Along with 3 colleagues, I am a Featured Speaker at the ASTE (Alaska Society for Technology) Conference in Anchorage, Alaska

-I co-taught a day long workshop on developing physics rich based games/simulations for the classroom at the District 211 One to One Summit in November and will be doing the same at the February ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Conference

-I am the lead teacher for a workshop titled “Teaching the Physical Sciences using iPads” at the February ICE Conference

-I have hosted Physics Northwest (northwest suburban physics professional learning team) twice at Conant High School and regularly share ideas at the meeting.

-I have been the cooperating teacher for two student teachers in the past 3 years.

-I have co-taught several in-district workshops during institute days on using technology in the classroom

Question 6:

The NGSS is a balance of content and skills weaved together. I feel I do a pretty decent job of this in my classroom...in a typical unit each student starts out with a simulation in which they try to figure out what variables effect another variable. Like in my electrostatics unit: what effects the force between two charges. Then the students take measurements and graph the relationships. From there, I give them some lectures and we practice on the content. At the end of the unit, I try to have another project where they show me what they know.

Question 7:

I was part of the pilot year for our districts 1 to 1 program, where we gave all of our students iPads. At the time, there was not much in the way of free simulations that worked on the iPad (Phet had not started the HTML5 simulations and their library of sims did not work in any mobile device) Me and a couple of colleagues decided that we should start creating simulations that would work on the iPad, our work is available for all to use at www.simbucket.org (take a look)

I was also a leader in data driven teaching in our district. When giving a quiz or test, each question is tagged with a specific objective for the unit. After taking the test, scores are given per objective, rather than the traditional total score. This shifted the conversations umongts the students/teachers from "I got a 'B'" to "I get Coulomb's Law problems, but I need help on method's of charging". From a teachers perspective, I can look at how my students performed per objective and then address the specific areas my students need work. Many of the teachers in our district are now using a similar approach in assessment.


Candidate Information

Martha Lietz (24 years)
Niles West High School
5701 Oakton Street
Skokie, Illinois 60077
847-626-2772
marlie@d219.org
Feb. 22, 2015

Question 1:

I believe that my purpose in the classroom is to help the students grow as critical thinkers, as problem solvers and as life-long learners. I believe that this can be done by providing them with a rigorous curriculum that demonstrates the real-world applications of what they are learning, and provides them with a relaxed and fun environment in which to learn. I believe that students should be brought together in the classroom and provided with demonstrations, labs and other critical thinking activities that give them the opportunity to engage interactively with each other and with the content. I believe that students themselves can often be the best teachers for their peers.

I believe that students should learn not just the content of science, the basic facts and details, but more importantly the process of science as a way of understanding the world around them. I believe in teaching them to use the tools of science, both cognitive and technological. Students need not only to understand Newton’s Laws, but also motion detectors, force sensors, spreadsheets and simulations as tools for investigating the world around them and visualizing the invisible.

I believe that students learn most from teachers who genuinely care about them and their interests, and not just about their scores on the tests. I believe that my role in the classroom is more than just as a teacher of physics, but as an example for how to be a compassionate, well-rounded human being.

Question 2:

I use my knowledge of physics, my pedagogical content knowledge, my sense of humor and compassion to connect with students. I truly enjoy teaching high school students, and that comes across to the students as a passion for my job and a strong connection with them individually.

An outstanding teacher knows how to present the content to the students in coherent, logical way, guiding the students to discover the joys of physics. I present the students with many and varied activities that allow them to explore, develop and deepen their understanding. I use Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, tutorials, inquiry-based labs, Think-Pair-Share, clicker questions, TIPERs and other research-based tools to get them to engage with the content. I organize the content so that their understanding builds and forms a coherent foundation for future learning.

I engage students in Socratic dialogue, as a class and individually. I ask questions to ascertain what they currently believe. I listen carefully to their responses. I ask questions to get them to clarify their thinking. I ask questions that allow them to consider a new perspective, and lead them to an accurate understanding. I lead the students in class discussions, helping share and explore their ideas with each other.

I maintain a website with resources for students to facilitate “anywhere, anytime learning.”

I use humor liberally to relax the students; I listen to their personal problems; I help them with their math homework; and I show them how to be compassionate.

Question 3:

It is difficult to know the true impact that our teaching has on our students. I hope that I have taught them to think more clearly and solve problems like an expert, but I also hope that I have shown them examples of what it means to be a compassionate, caring and kind person. I keep an album with thank- you notes and emails from former students, and I pull it out for inspiration on those rare difficult days. Students thank me for making physics a class they look forward to every day, even though it is the hardest class they ever took. They thank me for my compassion, and all the hours of help during free periods and after school. They tell me they were afraid to take physics, but now they find they actually enjoy it. They thank me for listening when they were having family issues, or friend issues. They thank me for the letters of recommendation. And some of them even tell me that because of me, because of my course, they are going to be a physics major. One young woman wrote to thank me for encouraging her to consider engineering: she graduated from college and got a good engineering job and never would have considered that had I not suggested it to her.

I have twice been selected as “Most Inspirational Teacher” by the National Honor Society. I have four times been selected as “Most Inspirational Teacher” by the Science Department Award winner.

Question 4:

During the past five years, I have attended local section and national AAPT meetings. In fact, I have attended every national AAPT meeting since the winter of 2011. I have participated in physics teacher alliances including Physics Northwest and Illinois State Physics Project (ISPP). This fall, I attended the AP Science Symposium at Hinsdale Central High School, sharing ideas about teaching AP Physics with other Chicago-area physics teachers. I will be attending the NSTA meeting in Chicago, March 12-14.

I have participated in the AP Physics Reading in June, grading exams, for four of the last five years. I have trained as an AP Physics consultant to prepare other teachers to teach AP Physics. I have trained to be mentor for other AP consultants.

I served as the College Board Advisor (CBA) for the AP Physics C Development Committee from August, 2010 until June, 2012. The CBA works with the committee to write the AP exams, and also serves as a liaison to the College Board, helping to develop teacher training materials. I served as CBA to the AP Physics 2 Development Committee from June of 2012 until June of 2014. I currently serve as a member of the AP Physics 2 Development Committee.

I have attended local insitute day trainings related to the use of the iPad, equity in the classroom, Google Apps, Schoology, and other topics. I have participated in our district’s Technology in the Classroom and Assessment for Learning courses.

Question 5:

As a consultant for the College Board, I present one-day workshops and week-long summer institutes (APSIs), preparing teachers to teach AP Physics courses. I have presented ten APSIs over the last five years.

As CBA, I helped develop a lab guide for the new AP Physics 1 and 2 courses, as well as a syllabus development guide to help teachers meet the new course requirements. I have presented several workshops at the National AAPT meetings on topics ranging from TIPERs in the HIgh School classroom to Inquiry-Based Labs.

I served as Chair of the Committee on Physics in High Schools for AAPT, helping to organize sessions and workshops for high school teachers at the national AAPT meeting. I am currently working with Steve Iona and some high school teachers to develop some new offerings for high school teachers at the meeting in Maryland.

I have served as the Section Representative for the Chicago Section AAPT, helping to organize several fall/ spring meetings. I hosted the Spring 2011 meeting in Chicago, including inviting a nationally- known PER professor to address our group. I run the registration for our meetings online, as well as the call for papers.

I maintain the email lists for ISPP and CSAAPT, sending reminders on at least monthly basis about meetings and other local events of interest to physics teachers in the Chicago area.

I currently serve as a mentor for a non-tenured Chemistry teacher at Niles West.

Question 6:

For 25 years I have taught AP Physics, adhering to the national standards as set forward by the College Board. I taught AP Physics C for 24 years, and this year I am teaching the new AP Physics 1 course. The AP Science Practices (as described in the Curriculum Framework for AP Physics 1 & 2) mirror the Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS curriculum.

I have used ranking tasks, bar-chart tasks, conceptual reasoning tasks and other TIPERs to help the students develop and use models in their understanding of physics. I have used inquiry-based labs to help the students learn to plan and carry out investigations of circular motion, friction and other physics topics. I have also used these labs to help the students learn to analyze and interpret the data they take during their laboratory investigations. I provide rigorous practice for them to help them grow in their use of mathematics and computational thinking. I teach them to use spreadsheets both for data analysis and for difficult computations. I teach them support arguments with evidence, and to support claims and predictions using physical laws and data from experiments. I teach them to communicate these arguments both orally and in written form. They learn to defend their laboratory designs and results to their peers in class discussion, and they learn to write paragraph-length explanations for predictions and claims.

Question 7:

I have two articles published in The Physics Teacher. The first one (April 2000) describes a Gauss’s law lab. It is a new twist on a traditional equipotential mapping lab. The students measure the potential along radial lines for a set of concentric silver ink circles. They are then asked to determine if this electrode configuration simulates concentric spheres or concentric cylinders by plotting their data and comparing it to the theoretical potential as a function of radius.

The second article (April 2007) describes a circuit demonstration made from electric lighting fixtures. I got the idea from a teacher at a workshop in Oregon, and I modified the circuit to be more complex. I then created four more circuits and changed the demonstration into a review activity. The students observe the brightness of the bulbs and the changes as one or more bulbs are removed, and work backwards to determine how the circuit has been constructed. I call it a “working backwards lab,” since it is similar to the Working Backwards Tasks in the TIPERs books.

I developed an on-line lab for my students to calculate the universal gravitational constant, G, of the PhET universe in the “My Solar System” simulation. The students vary the radius and “experimentally” determine the velocity which creates a circular orbit at that radius. They then plot the square of the speed versus the inverse of the radius. The slope of this graph can be used to calculate G.


Candidate Information

Bud Schultz (13 years)
Dwight High School High School
801 S. Franklin St.
Dwight, IL 60420
630-624-0512
schultzb@dwight.k12.il.us
Feb. 26, 2015

Question 1:

My philosophy is a simple one, Give your students the education you wanted as a student. Make it hands on, make them think through their own problems and give them phenomenological puzzles to solve. No one learns if class is uninteresting so make sure it is, give them just enough information to allow them to succeed and thrive. Make sure its cross curricular so that they see relevancy in every subject they study

Question 2:

I want my students to have the education that allows them to walk into new situations and have success because they have learned from hands on experience that has lead to both success and failure. I feel that they need to understand that failure teaches more than success. I give them semester projects that they choose because I want them to study something outside the typical curriculum that interests them. I have had students who have studied anything from weather, they built a working snow machine, to building an arc welder from old microwave ovens. In both of these instances the students have gone on to pursue a degree in science.

Question 3:

I like to keep in touch with my students after graduation. I find my students have a much easier time transitioning to college and a very high success rate in science related majors. Many have earned engineering or straight science degrees and some have gone on to post graduate work. A few have pursued work in very specialized fields such as meteorology and robotics. A couple now work at John Deere as mechanical engineers and have done everything from leading managing failure analysis teams, engineering sales and field implementation of new products. I have also helped my students get involved with the local sail plane club and earn their pilots license.

Question 4:

I have taken classes in modeling at Fermi Lab and Argonne National Labs through Aurora University. I also have attended many lectures at Fermi and other venues to stay current in a myriad of science related areas. I also meet with some thirty or so friends on Wednesday evenings who work at Fermi and like to share phenomenological materials.

Question 5:

I have taught mini classes during professional development days at our school to help get other teachers in the building to think outside the box. I did this using demonstrations, experimentation both physical and thought experiments. I have also helped the CTE department write curriculum that incorporates more math and science into it. This curriculum is now the model that they use for other districts state wide. I was also asked to speak to the physics students who were getting degrees in education at Illinois State University with three other veteran teachers.

Question 6:

I once went into a classroom where the teacher had the students reading the standards and then deciding upon what to do. I cringed when I realized what they were doing as it was the most boring lifeless lesson I had ever encountered. It was a book keeping class, not a physics class. I have and still use many methods that are in the standards but I feel those are mine to interpret and not the students. I find the next generation standards to be relatively natural since they encourage the students to think through problems and design their own experiments and then test, analyze and report them to peers and myself. I have used them to mix all the sciences since that is life, but it was something I did before the standards came to being. One cannot teach a particular science in a vacuum, they are all inextricably intertwined.

Question 7:

I give my students real world problems. I once went to a class through IIT that was presented by Mr. Bill Blunk. He gave us a pair of conductive ping pong balls and showed that they could have a charge applied to them and demonstrated such. It was enjoyable. I took this a step further and placed the setup in my lab. I then charged them, and let the students enter as a group. I then charged them (pun intended) with the task of determining the charge on them. It’s an easy task or so they thought. Once they went to measure the distance between them they realized that any measuring equipment brought near them results in a significant loss of charge. I then told them that they had two more chances to have the system charged up before they failed as a group. They have to come up with an innovative way of measuring the charge without impacting the charge. I also do something similar with a water jug. Tim Kulak, an old colleague of mine, used to send a water jug filled with methanol across his room suspended from a wire. I have one suspended similarly, but added low friction pulleys. My students are tasked with maximizing the acceleration of the jug and then determine what that acceleration is along with various other parameters including how many calories were burned. I allow them free range of the lab but they may not permanently mark any equipment nor do destructive testing.


Candidate Information

Mike Rogier (26 years)
Belleville West High School
117 Cedar Lane
Glen Carbon, Illinois 62034
618-288-4996
mrogier@bths201.org
Feb. 28, 2015

Question 1:

I believe teachers owe students enthusiasm and encouragement. Students come to the physics classroom with many strongly held misconceptions which cannot be broken by simply telling students the correct way to think. Students learn physics best when they are confronted with phenomena and are asked to extract the relationships that are hidden there. Students learn physics best when they use visual, graphical, and mathematical tools to justify conclusions they reach from their observations. Students learn physics best when they must use these tools to attempt to explain their predictions about how nature will work when they are faced with new phenomena. In other words, I believe students learn physics best in a student-centered classroom where they are guided to construct the models that physicists use to understand nature and then deploy those models to make real, testable predictions about how nature will behave.

Question 2:

I am an enthusiastic teacher and students recognize that I genuinely care about their well-being. I routinely have students in my classroom from early in the morning until well after school is over. As someone who earned an engineering degree from the University of Illinois, I can relate with students who are talented in math and science and help them to see that there is a world beyond high school where the problems are real and challenging and their colleagues will be just as talented as they are. I can challenge them to develop the work ethic and many communication skills that will help them as they pursue an engineering career. But I have also been successful in relating to students who are not in the honors classes and who don't bring an innate interest for physics with them to class. Some of my greatest successes have been when students from these classes go on to become physicists or engineers, or when students from these classes develop an enthusiasm for learning and attribute some of the credit for that to my inspiration. I feel like I have been successful in "doing no harm" to my students, and I know that I have made a difference in many of their lives.

Question 3:

Teaching requires enthusiasm and energy before, during, and after interacting with students. I am thankful that I am often encouraged and re- energized by visits and notes from former students who have gone on to study physics or engineering. They often tell me that I inspired them or made learning physics in college easier for them than it was for their classmates. They frequently report that they act as de facto physics teachers for their classmates. But I think I feel happiest about the effect I have had on a number of students who did not originally consider physics to be one of their interests or strengths. Two of my former students were introduced to physics in my general physics class and contacted me later to let me know that they had earned their Master’s degree in physics in part because of encouragement and help that I didn’t realize I had given. Another former student thanked me for my enthusiasm for teaching physics. He currently teaches physics to underprivileged students in the Chicago public schools. Another young woman struggled mightily with physics during her first year in my class. We spent many hours working outside of class, and she left high school as one of my top AP Physics students and began college as a Physics major. Students appreciate my enthusiasm and caring, and leave my class more enthusiastic and better prepared to learn about physics in their futures.

Question 4:

During the past few years I have been working to develop a Science and Engineering Club at Belleville West. Originally, members of this club prepared for and competed in the Worldwide Youth for Science and Engineering (WYSE) regional, sectional, and state competition. But during the past two years, we have broadened the scope of this club to include more hands-on engineering projects. Last year some students worked on the West Point Bridge design program while others began to build model rockets in preparation for this year’s Team America Rocketry Challenge. We have been working with a mentor from the community to help students learn about designing and building rockets, and we have had fundraisers and solicited support from the community to help us purchase the design software and the components necessary to build and test our rocket. This year I have worked with the other physics teachers in our district to change our curriculum to include AP Physics 1 in addition to our AP Physics C class. Working together with this group has helped improve my own teaching, and I think I have shared ideas with them as well. I have also become re-involved with the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers, and affiliate of the AAPT. This group meets monthly on Saturdays to share physics teaching ideas and to build demonstration and lab equipment that we might not be able to afford otherwise.

Question 5:

I have not had many opportunities to work with student teachers. My only student teacher has recently returned to our district and is now very capably filling the role of Assistant Principal. But I did participate in the mentor program for teacher at our school, and also took graduate courses focused on helping me become a better mentor. I learned observation and conferencing techniques which helped me reflect on my own teaching but also helped as I mentored my new physics teaching colleague and another new science teacher. I am fortunate to have a great working relationship with the other physics teacher at our school, a relationship that has helped me grow as a teacher as much as I think it has helped and supported him. My department chair also encouraged me by letting me know that his observations and our conversations about some of my student-centered, Socratic teaching techniques have changed the way that he teaches, which in turn has changed the methodology of our entire Biology department. The curriculum has become less text-driven and more focused on units of study that provide opportunities for students to develop a deeper understanding of science rather than a broad exposure to science topics. I am gratified to find out that I contributed to this positive change at our school.

Question 6:

During the past three years, our department has been working to improve our curriculum by focusing on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). As part of this process, I attended a one day informational workshop at Illinois State University to help teachers begin this process and become familiar with the standards and possible assessment methods. The past two years our department meetings and professional development days—and quite a few hours outside of the school day—have been spent assessing how our current curriculum matches the standards and where it falls short. I am encouraged to find that the Crosscutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices that form the backbone of these standards often align very well with the Modeling based approach to physics teaching that we emphasize in our curriculum. The standards have revealed a few areas of emphasis that we need to enhance in our curriculum—notably, a greater emphasis on studies of electromagnetic waves as they relate to communications and information transmission technologies—but our teaching methods seem to align well with the core concepts and practices. My colleague and I are continuing to work on making our curriculum better by aligning it with these Next Generation Standards.

Question 7:

I have always believed that students learn physics best and most deeply when they are confronted with phenomena and guided to investigate these phenomena as a scientist would—making careful observations, looking for meaningful patterns, representing these patterns quantitatively through graphs, diagrams, and equations, and applying these patterns to make testable predictions about the behavior of related phenomena. I have improved dramatically in my ability to present students with these learning opportunities and to organize them in ways that maximize student motivation and learning. I was guided and inspired by my colleague at Belleville West, Gary Shepek, who always focused on the needs of learners rather than on “covering the curriculum”. Many of my teaching innovations were also borrowed from Rex Rice at Clayton High School, who focused on graphical analysis methods and an experimental approach to learning about and testing students’ understanding of physics. When Rex and other members of the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers began to promote the Modeling Method of teaching physics, I attended a two week workshop at Illinois State University and incorporated many of the tenants and techniques I learned there. I use paradigm “discovery” labs to begin each unit. I then help students develop their understanding through Socratic whiteboard sessions where students explain their thinking and give each other feedback. And I help students test their understanding at the end of units by requiring them to deploy their new understandings to make testable predictions for small-group or whole class lab practicums.


Candidate Information

Elizabeth Ramseyer (23 years)
Niles West High School High School
5701 Oakton St
Skokie, IL 60077
8476262765
eliram@d219.org
Feb. 28, 2015

Question 1:

Every student has the ability to excel in physics provided they are ready to be engaged every time they come to class. My preference is to have my students explore every topic using a hands on laboratory environment. I prefer this experience to lecture as students are required to confront what they think they understand in a collaborative setting. Lecture does occur but only to clarify their experiences.

Question 2:

This is a very intimidating question as I am very humble. I am someone who truly wants to understand how a student learns so that they will have an enjoyable time learning about physics. I really love to have the subject come alive and be relevant to my students. I stress real world, personal reasons for learning physics. I am truly excited to inform my students about the frontier of knowledge being explored in astronomy as well! (The comet landing last November inspired me to inform the entire district and send links to witness the landing. Very historic and thrilling!) I was also honored with the Yerkes Educator of the Year for 2013. This coincided with the acquisition of the Niles West Observatory for our high school.

Question 3:

While I have not had many students pursue a career in physics, I know that I have inspired many to continue their exploration of the Universe as an informed individual. I believe that my classes have stressed how we gained the knowledge we currently possess. I want them to be cautious about what they experience in the world of science and technology when they are no longer in school.

I do have one of my former Science Olympians and NITARP students embarking on a PhD at Stanford in Physics. Another Astronomy student is researching optics for his PhD. I was also pleased to be remembered by a former physics student who I promoted to a higher class mid year and who has received a teacher of the year award in Colorado. I had to teach her at home for several months while she was a junior in high school. Her mother believes that I inspired her to work with others as I helped her. These are but a few examples.

Question 4:

I am an active member of the Illinois Science Olympiad having been a coach for 20+ years for Niles West High School. I have run 8 tournaments both regional and invitational. I have attended and been a guest presenter at the Illinois Science Olympiad Coaches Clinic (Optics and Astronomy)

NITARP was such an incredible opportunity! (http://nitarp.ipac.caltech.edu/team/35-LDM-Gorjian). I was able to work with a NASA JPL scientist while assisting my students to complete a relevant research project. This one experience was the highlight of my professional development as an educator.

Question 5:

I have developed and implemented two professional development sessions at Yerkes observatory. I am a member of Stars at Yerkes and ARCS. Both of these organizations promote teachers to become comfortable understanding and communicating astronomical research. (Miss Leavitt's Stars) http://www.starsatyerkes.net/teacher-workshops/teacher-workshops-2011-2012 (Jan 2012) (Observational Convocation) http://www.starsatyerkes.net/teacher-workshops/past-workshops-2012- 2013 (Dec 1 2012)

I have also conducted a number of professional sessions at Institute Day for my colleagues at District 219 (Using Telescopes) and (Imaging in Astronomy)

Question 6:

Our district has already adopted the NGSS standards and we have begun implementation. I have taken the lead where the astronomy performance standards are concerned. I have developed lessons and activities for my colleagues (I possess a BA in Astronomy from Northwestern.)

I hope to also include the use of our telescopes and the observatory to collect data that can be analyzed in the pursuit of these new performance standards.

Question 7:

Niles West Seniors had a need for an additional physical science class. Their choices were limited to science classes that did not interest them and to classes that required skills they did not possess (calculus). So I and another colleague collaborated to create the Astronomy and Modern Physics class. This class has been in place since 1997 and it continues to inspire and inform our high school seniors who have completed physics. We cover the topics of stellar evolution, cosmology, relativity, particle physics and quantum mechanics.

A second innovation would be the addition of an observatory at Niles West. This was installed after a generous donation allowed us to purchase a permanent home for our Meade LX200 10" telescope. This telescope was earned through a grant administered by ISBE and Yerkes Observatory. My astronomy students are required to share their knowledge with the community each year. They caught the eye of our generous donor.


Candidate Information

John Testing ( years)
High School

,


Dec. 20, 2015

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