Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Pleasanton: Graham of Stratford wins Teacher of the Year Award

Science teacher Jason Graham of Stratford Middle School in Pleasanton recently earned the Teacher of the Year award from the Synopsis Outreach Foundation Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair.

Graham expressed his gratitude for receiving the award and credited the school students and the community for their support.

“I think it reflects the brilliance that many of our students displayed with their participation in the science fair this year,” Graham said in an interview.

Graham said Stratford’s director and staff went above and beyond to support students preparing for the science fair.

“Our director helped ensure that we have the materials and tools students need to complete their projects. Mathematics teachers help guide students to effectively analyze and present their data while ELA teachers provided time for peer-editing which helped students refine their projects, reports and presentations,” he said.

“The students themselves were talented and all were very supportive of each other, giving suggestions for improvement along the way,” he said.

According to Graham, 24 students from Stratford Pleasanton Middle School participated in the science fair and received prizes ranging from first to fourth place for various projects such as carotenoid transplants, electromagnetism and Venus fly trap propaganda.

“It was a truly wonderful experience to see so many of our students be recognized for their efforts.”

Graham said that as a teacher, he strives to establish a learning community at the beginning of the school year so that each student can realize their potential through encouragement and support from their peers and themselves.

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In addition students practice elevator pitches, presentations and are encouraged to express their views in group discussions.

“It helps them develop confidence in themselves and their abilities while reducing their fear of challenges and obstacles along the way,” Graham said. “When challenges arise, students are more comfortable seeking help and more open to suggestions from their peers and mentors.”

He also mentioned the work students are doing in their new science lab that helps support future research.

Many of our students are writing articles to submit for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Our students are taking care of the Venus fly traps, crayfish, tadpoles, frogs, fish and quail chicks that we hatched from eggs in our school incubator.

Graham said that the best outcome as a teacher is to see students succeed, and it’s wonderful to see their enthusiasm ignite.

“It’s satisfying to see my students have the spark in science that will inspire them to overcome their challenges and achieve their goals,” Graham said. “My hope is that they continue to find wonder in this world for the rest of their lives.”

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In the future, he hopes to continue creating new science programs to encourage and inspire students to pursue their dreams.

“We have started an outdoor learning lab in our school’s garden and I look forward to continuing to build and develop that program to help connect students to science through outdoor learning and experiential learning,” he said.

It was not always easy for Graham and personal struggles as a student forced him to drop out of high school. He said it was challenging because it took him 10 years to build up the confidence to go back to college.

But the helpful and encouraging teachers guided him well and motivated him to choose teaching as a profession and spread that kindness.

He said, “The teachers who acted as mentors to me and helped me discover my inner strength and develop the determination to succeed, inspired me to continue to teach and seek their kindness and support “

He hopes that his students continue to pursue their dreams and be successful, and he wants them to know that they have their own challenges to overcome.

“I hope they continue to develop the skills they need to find solutions to the many issues facing our planet so that they can make this world a better place for generations to come,” Graham said.

Nation World News Desk
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