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Mitchell teacher 1 of 6 to receive national teaching excellence award

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A Mitchell teacher was recognized earlier this month during the National Science Teachers Association national convention. Julie Olson, a science teacher at Second Chance High/Mitchell High School in Mitchell was one of six educ...

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ARLINGTON, Va. - A Mitchell teacher was recognized earlier this month during the National Science Teachers Association national convention.

Julie Olson, a science teacher at Second Chance High/Mitchell High School in Mitchell was one of six educators awarded the Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award, according to the NSTA.

The award, named after former NSTA President Robert Yager, recognizes excellence and innovation in the field of science education by K-12 teachers who have a passion for education and continued professional development. Olson will receive her award in July at the NSTA National Congress on Science Education in Denver, Colo.

Olson received a $1,000 cash award, up to $1,000 toward expenses to attend the NSTA National Congress on Science Education and a plaque. She will also get the opportunity to present at Congress this summer, the NSTA said.

"We congratulate Ms. Olson for her lifelong commitment to science education and for her innovative and creative approach to teaching our students science," NSTA President Carolyn Hayes said in a press release.

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Olson implemented a program aimed to help students self-pace their science instruction and to open up schedules for further explorations. With flexible scheduling and access to course materials outside of the school day, students use a blended learning model to complete three years of science in two. Olson was also a co-writer for the Next Generation Science Standards.

"Three-dimensional instruction has a major impact on Olson's classroom. She is always looking to engage students in the practices of science while applying the concepts to other topics," the NSTA press release says.

Olson has helped with several projects, including the Accelerated Model Course Pathways, Advanced Placement Biology review for the standards and course frameworks. She was part of a team that made changes to adopt a document similar to NGSS for South Dakota's state standards, and has helped science teachers learn NGSS practices. She has presented with NGSS co-writers at the North Dakota Science Teacher's state convention and at NSTA conferences. Olson has also held several positions within South Dakota Science Teachers Association, including high school liaison, newsletter co-editor and current president.

Applications and information for the 2017 Teacher Awards can be found at www.nsta.org/about/awards.aspx .

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