Idaho teacher, schools earn national recognition

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Merrie Rampy

Merrie Rampy, a science teacher at Highland High School in Craigmont, Id., won a science lab makeover valued at $20,000 in the Shell Science Lab Challenge. Rampy won the grand prize in the national competition that honors science teachers for developing innovative approaches to providing quality lab experiences to students with limited school resources.

The competition, sponsored by Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association, encourages teachers (grades 6-12) in the United States and Canada who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences, to share their approaches for a chance to win the science lab makeover and an all-expense-paid trip for two teachers to attend the 2013 NSTA National Conference on Science Education in San Antonio next month. A panel of science educators reviewed the entries and selected Rampy as the grand prize winner.

Rampy’s superintendent Cindy Orr says she has seen her “take our basic middle and high school science program and change it to a rigorous and exciting place for students to learn about all of the possibilities science has to offer…Other teachers have observed her excitement about her subject area and the improvements she wanted to bring to her program, and in turn, improve their own programs. Our high school has moved from ‘let’s get these students to graduate’ to ‘let’s ensure all of our students can reach their educational and life goals, including attending a four-year college…’ Our students believe it is cool to be a science nerd.”

The lack of funding for quality equipment and materials has prevented students from experiencing the sophisticated labs that would prepare them for scientific careers. The grant can help change that, Rampy said.

Idaho students excel in March Madness contest

River Valley Elementary School in Meridian and Sacajawea Junior High School in Lewiston are two of four finalists in the March Math Madness competition.

Since mid-January, schools across the country have been competing in Think Through Math’s annual March Math Madness (MX3) competition. Each week, the schools in each region of the country with the highest average of passed lessons were able to advance in the contest. Now it has come down to the Final Four schools and two are from Idaho.

River Valley Elementary and Sacajawea Junior will compete in the coming weeks toward becoming the National March Math Madness Champion. The winning school will receive an awards event where they will be presented the March “Math” Madness Trophy, a school banner and MX3 t-shirts. Top performing students at the winning site will also be recognized.

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