It may be the 26th year that Bellbrook Middle School has won the same award, but the experience is anything but ho-hum.
In September, Bellbrook Middle School was selected as one of 45 schools in the state as a recipient of The Governor's Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research.
“I think it’s great because it’s not just one person that earns the award,” seventh grade STEM teacher Jen St. Pierre said. St. Pierre is one of 10 teachers who were recipients of the award for the 2021-22 school year. “It’s a nice all-encompassing recognition for the teachers, the students and the community. It’s just great teamwork and collaboration.”
The teachers who were honored at the middle school include: Allison Bisignani, Crystal Current, Debi Schwieterman, Emily Cline, Jenny Nickol, Kayla Bruggeman, Kyle Ferguson, Lynzee Allen, Shelby Herlihy and St. Pierre. Each school receives a special Governor's Award certificate, and each teacher receives a complimentary membership to The Ohio Academy of Science.
The award specifies both in-school and out-of-school education when it comes to STEM as well as participation in a science fair.
St. Pierre mentioned the yearly trips students take to the Dayton Challenger Learning Center as being a big part of their education and a fascinating hands-on experience.
According to its website “The Challenger Learning Center is a hands-on experience in which students learn to work collaboratively, think critically and develop math and science skills that are critical to their future success. Students learn through simulated space exploration to help them develop long-term interest in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”
“Our staff has continued to look for ways to integrate curriculum into real-life experiences,” Middle School principal Jeff Eckley said. “Working together they have provided numerous opportunities for students, which go beyond the classroom and create memorable educational experiences. We are so lucky to have such a stellar staff.”
Aside from the trips, St. Pierre also mentioned the visitors who come to classes to speak on behalf of their careers, including members of the Ohio State Extension Office, a local pilot, the Miami RC club and other visitors from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, have a great impact on the students.
“I think there are some great real-world connections we can make for the students when they come in,” St. Pierre said. “The students get great hands-on experience with some activities and the visitors get to show what they know. We have a lot of great local community members who can come in and share their experiences.”
First established in 1985, the Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards recognizes Ohio schools and teachers who stimulate scientific student research and technological design and extend experiential opportunities beyond traditional classroom activities.
“These schools and teachers are connecting classrooms to the real world by demonstrating the relevance of STEM,” said Michael E. Woytek, the Academy’s Executive Director. “They are developing a group of active and intrinsic learners.”