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Weybridge teacher earns major awards

WEYBRIDGE — Weybridge Elementary School kindergarten teacher Joy Dobson has had a very good couple of months.
President Barack Obama recently announced her selection as one of only 102 national recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
And Dobson also learned that she had been named an “NGSS@NSTA Curator” by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), one of only 55 educators nationally (out of 650 applicants) who will serve on an expert team that will identify and vet high-quality resources that support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
“I am thrilled and humbled,” Dobson said in an e-mail response to the Addison Independent’s inquiry about the awards.
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between educators teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The 2013 awardees teach kindergarten through 6th grade. Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They will also be invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Obama administration.
Dobson and Mary Ellis, an Enosburg Falls math teacher, were the Vermont recipients of the award.
“These teachers are inspiring today’s young students to become the next generation of American scientists, mathematicians, and innovators,” Obama said through a press release. “Through their passion and dedication, and by sharing their excitement about science, technology, engineering, and math, they are helping us build a promising future for all our children.”
Meanwhile, the NSTA award has also put Dobson in the national spotlight. Her selection was confirmed by NSTA Executive Director David Evans.
As an NGSS@NSTA curator, Dobson will be expected to participate in several training sessions, both virtual and face-to-face. She will attend the April 3-6 NSTA National Conference in Boston, where the organization will launch a new website and conduct additional curator training. In the months leading up to the conference, Dobson and her colleagues will participate in web seminars to further their understanding of the NGSS and how to evaluate NGSS resources.
The NSTA is developing standards that are intended to give all students the skills and knowledge they need to “be informed citizens, college ready, and prepared for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM),” according to Evans.
Weybridge Elementary Principal Christina Johnston praised Dobson for receiving the two national honors.
Dobson said she would not have received the awards without the help and support of many others, including her family, colleagues and families of Weybridge.
“This award is a testament to the number of great teachers, mentors and talented, dedicated colleagues I am privileged to work with that inspire me daily to grow and learn,” she said. “It also demonstrates the tremendous impact of a community that consistently values and supports excellence in learning for their children.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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