Mother Teresa Catholic Elementary School (MTCES) and four of its faculty members received the prestigious Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education for their accomplishments during the 2017-18 school year. The Ohio Academy of Science selected 61 Ohio schools and 672 teachers to receive this honor. This is the 11th year MTCES has received this award. Recognized teachers are Lauren Austin, Karen Geiger, Lisa Hollstegge, and Amanda Ocariz.
First established in 1985, the Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards recognize Ohio schools and
teachers who stimulate student scientific research and technological design that extend beyond traditional classroom activities. STEM education is both the mastery and integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for all Pre K-12 students.
The criteria for the Thomas Edison Award are: (1) to conduct a local science fair with 12 or more students, (2) qualify two or more of these students for one of the Academy’s 17 district science days, (3) have students participate in at least one or more youth science opportunities beyond the classroom such as State Science Day, visits to museums, mentorship programs and extended field trips, and (4) convince external STEM professionals how and to what extent the school’s program met the Academy’s definition of STEM education.
Last February, all 52 MTCES 7th graders participated in the school science fair, and 30 of them qualified for the district fair. Of these, 10 qualified for the state fair at The Ohio State University in May where they earned MTCES another Harold C. Shaw award for science excellence. To achieve this award, a school must have at least four participants and 80% of the participating students must receive a superior rating. MTCES also received this honor in 2012 and 2014.
To enhance its STEM curriculum, MTCES enables students to experience STEM in the real world through several activities outside of the classroom. Fourth graders went to the Butler County Water Festival to learn about conserving and protecting our drinking water sources. They also participated in an iSpace Robots & Rocketry field trip to build their own rockets and launch them. Sixth graders enjoyed a science and math workshop at Great American Ball Park while learning about the physics of baseball. Annually, second graders visit Rowe Woods to explore nature and local biodiversity while hiking with a naturalist. MTCES has partnerships with local companies allowing students to tour their facilities and learn more about various engineering careers.
Junior high science teacher and recipient of the William Dahlgren Award from the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) said, “I am blessed to work with a faculty who truly enjoys inspiring students through STEM education. I continue to be impressed with our students mastery of inquiry methods, which is the cornerstone of a successful science program.” For more information about MTCES, please visit www.mtces.org. For information about the school’s STEM education, contact Karen Geiger at kgeiger [at] mtces [dot] org.
MTCES is one of only three independent, private Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The School is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It opened in 1998 to 20 kindergartners in the basement of a church, and now serves 533 students in grades K-8 on its 25-acre campus in Liberty Township. On September 8th, MTCES will host a community mass and meal to kick off the anniversary year.
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