2 isle teachers win
national honor

A math and a science instructor
are among 95 nationally
receiving presidential awards


Stacie Kaichi: The Salt Lake teacher strives to make math meaningful

Stacie Kaichi of Salt Lake Elementary School and Kelley Fitzgerald of Sacred Hearts Academy received the nation's top honor in their fields yesterday -- Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Each won a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and a free trip to Washington, D.C., where they joined 93 other math and science teachers being honored by President Bush.

"We hope their example will stimulate the creativity of other teachers and help attract new recruits to the mathematics and science teaching profession," said Mark Saul, program director of elementary and secondary education at the National Science Foundation, which administers the awards.

Kaichi said she tries to instill her passion for math in her students, acting as a guide and emphasizing how math skills apply to real life.


Kelley Fitzgerald: Hands-on science is her emphasis at Sacred Hearts

"I am there to pump them up and get them excited about what they are learning," she said. "It kills me when I hear a child say that they hate math or they can't do it. Some students have this predisposition because of a bad experience. I strive to give them a new perspective on the subject, and I always try to make everything meaningful to them."

Fitzgerald emphasizes experiments in her classes at Sacred Hearts, and said students especially enjoyed environmental science this year, creating hydroponic gardening tools to grow plants in water, for example.

"The students learn so much more about the concepts through hands-on activities," she said. "I really believe in child-centered, discovery-based learning, where I provide some guidance but let the kids discover the concepts for themselves."

The 2005 Presidential Award nominations are now open for math and science teachers in grade 7 through 12. .

Presidential Awards for Excellence in
Mathematics and Science Teaching


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