FOSSconnect


Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Awarded to Delara Sharma, FOSS Educator

Erica Beck Spencer | October 24, 2018

Awardee Delara Sharma holding Presidential certificate between Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Michael Kratsios, and National Science Foundation Director, Dr. France A. Córdova.

Awardee Delara Sharma holding Presidential certificate between Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Michael Kratsios, and National Science Foundation Director, Dr. France A. Córdova. (Photo: Courtesy of The White House)

The FOSS staff would like to recognize Delara Sharma, an educator from the Santa Fe New Mexico Public Schools (SFPS), for winning the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in the K-6 science category.

A passionate educator for 22 years, Sharma currently teaches fifth grade at Piñon Elementary School. She served as a Science Literacy Coach at Piñon from 2011 to 2015 and helped the staff implement FOSS throughout her school. In 2016, she was selected to be a teacher leader for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Inquiry Science Education Consortium (ISEC). As part of this teacher leader group she received a high-level of training to serve as a peer resource and to introduce teachers to the FOSS program during annual summer professional development for eight districts and two pueblo schools in Northern New Mexico. The LANL group is recognized as one of the strongest FOSS implementations in the country and Sharma is one reason why.

Gwen Perea Warniment, Director of K-12 Programs at the LANL Foundation, nominated Sharma for this award. Ms Warniment says of Sharma,

She epitomizes grace and holds high expectations for all her students. She is constantly seeking to improve her practice and learn more. As a friend and colleague, I have enjoyed watching her leadership blossom, Delara demonstrates remarkable expertise among our Inquiry Science Teacher Leader Cadre. She knows the FOSS modules in and out, so during our annual Summer Institutes with teachers, her trainings are not merely about exposing the activities and pointing out the connections to the Next Generation Science Standards. Rather, she is wonderful about pulling out the details needed in manipulating materials efficiently and effectively, facilitating rich student discourse, and reflecting on student work. She has a gift for humbly supporting her colleagues and demonstrates how to leverage the FOSS curriculum to maximum advantage.

In addition to being an exceptional classroom teacher and impacting the practice of FOSS educators in several districts throughout the state Sharma also serves on the Santa Fe County Spelling Bee Committee, Santa Fe Public Schools STEM Advisory Committee, is the Science Fair Coordinator at Pinon Elementary, coordinates STEM programs in her school, leads a school-wide Hour of Code, organizes several afterschool coding and robotics clubs, participates in international robotics competitions, and took two girls’ robotics teams to a robotics competition at New Mexico State University. Her list of contributions continue well beyond this already considerable list. Sharma says,

Components of FOSS have spilled over to all instructional areas in my classroom. The science readings provide my students with engaging illustrations and pictures to understand and enhance academic vocabulary. My students use notebooking in math as well as science. They use the inquiry-based process during our after-school coding and robotics clubs, using models and scientific drawing to design their robots. Needless to say, my students love science and ask every morning if we are going to do an investigation.

On behalf of the entire FOSS staff, we congratulate Delara Sharma on her award and thank her for her exceptional dedication to the students in her classroom, her school, her community, and the state of New Mexico!

For more information

http://www.lanlfoundation.org/news/delarasharma-teachingaward