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By Leah Poffenberger
Each year, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) selects a group of outstanding recent graduates from physics teaching preparedness programs around the U.S. PhysTEC recognizes up to one local Teacher of the Year per PhysTEC institution and a single national Teacher of the Year. This year’s national winner is Tiffany Taylor from Rogers Heritage High School in Rogers, Arkansas.
The Teacher of the Year award recognizes the contributions of physics educators to their school and the physics community at large. Award recipients receive a certificate of recognition from PhysTEC, funding to attend two professional physics conferences focused on teaching and teaching preparedness, and a grant of $1000 for classroom materials.
Taylor was especially noted for her recruitment efforts and the increase in enrollment of students in AP Physics 1 and 2, from only 26 students in her first year of teaching, to over 80 students in recent years. More than 40% of her students are typically from underrepresented groups in physics (including women and Hispanic populations).
“She pays close attention to ensuring that all students feel welcome in her class,” says the announcement on the PhysTEC website. “As part of her award, she receives funds to attend the 2018 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Summer Meeting in Washington, DC, and the 2019 PhysTEC Conference in Boston, MA, where she will receive public recognition for her achievements.”
PhysTEC is jointly led by APS and AAPT and aims to improve the education and preparedness of future physics teachers by transforming physics departments, creating successful models for physics teacher education programs, and disseminating best practices. For more details, visit the PhysTEC website.
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Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondent: Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik