Marana Middle School teacher selected as New Science Teacher of the Year - Tucson Local Media: News

Marana Middle School teacher selected as New Science Teacher of the Year

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Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 4:59 pm

Marana Middle School teacher, Lynn Mitts, is the Arizona Science Teachers Association (ASTA) New Science Teacher of the Year for 2012.

Ms. Mitts competed with teachers from all over the state of Arizona for this award. She is identified as someone who exemplifies what it means to teach science to our next generation of students.

Ms. Mitts will be honored at the ASTA Social on Thursday, December 6, 2012, in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association Phoenix Area Conference. The social will be held at the Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 S. Central Avenue, Phoenix, 85040 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The New Science Teacher of the Year Award is given by the ASTA to recognize and honor a science teacher who demonstrated, during his/her first year, outstanding potential for a life of quality science teaching.

Three Science Teacher of the Year Awards are given by the ASTA each year: the elementary level (grades K-5); the middle school/junior high level (graded 6-8); and the high school level (grades 9-12).

Nominees must meet the following criteria to be eligible for this award: (1) completed a first (i.e., rookie) year of teaching; (2) hold a valid Arizona teaching certificate; (3) be a full-time classroom teacher at either the elementary, middle school, or high school level; and (4) be a member of the Arizona Science Teachers Association. This award is given each year and will be presented at the annual ASTA Celebration Social that will occur during the NSTA Phoenix Area Conference Dec 6th-8th.

About Lynn Mitts

Lynn Mitts joined Marana Middle School, in the Marana Unified School District, on July 29, 2011. She teaches 8th grade Science.

Ms. Mitts has a very clear vision for her science classroom that includes high expectations, student engagement, varied learning style applications, and cross-curricular lessons. Ms. Mitts is committed to making sure that her students have an opportunity to not only learn about the Arizona Science Standards, but experience them. Her students have used inquiry to create hot air balloons, simulated mitosis with Oreo cookies, and experienced natural selection through a class competition.

In the year that she has been a member of the MMS staff, she has made a significant academic impact on her students’ academic growth. In order to see what her students know and are able to do, all one has to do is ask to see their science notebooks. These books are filled with tangible evidence of science standard mastery… notes, questions, reflections, and data tables. It is clear from a tour of these artifacts that Ms. Mitts is able to transform her students into researchers and scientists while they are in her classroom.

Ms. Mitts’ impact at Marana Middle School extends far beyond her classroom door. Her positive energy, passion for learning, and commitment to excellence has earned her the respect and admiration of her peers. As a member of the 8th Grade Science department, Ms. Mitts worked side by side with her colleagues in the science department to launch an initiative to work within professional learning communities to guarantee foundational science standards. Together they conducted data talks, shared resources, and created common formative assessments. If students did not demonstrate mastery on these common formative assessments Ms. Mitts stayed after school to re-teach her students to guarantee their success. Her efforts paid off as Marana Middle School increased the percentage of students that Met or Exceeded on the Science AIMS test by 10% in one year.

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