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Winners of Sally Ride-Deloitte Awards for Teaching Innovation in STEM Announced; Teacher-Created Computer Programming Curriculum Takes Top Prize

San Diego, Calif. – Sally Ride Science today announced the winners of a nationwide contest for K-12 educators in the U.S. to recognize innovations in instruction related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as STEM careers.

The Sally Ride-Deloitte Award for Teaching Innovation in STEM, launched in summer 2014, received more than 100 entries from across the United States. Entries were submitted via Sally Ride Science’s STEMCentral.com, an online library of resources for educators where the winning entries may be viewed.

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included: Ira Flatow, the award-winning TV journalist and host of PRI’s Science Friday radio show; René McCormick, Executive Director of Science Programs at the National Math and Science Initiative; and Dr. Sandra Magnus, former NASA astronaut and Executive Director at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The first-place winner is Ryan York, an administrator at RePublic Schools in Tennessee and Mississippi. His innovation—a free, open-source computer programming curriculum and teacher training program—was hailed by the judges as one that “fills a practical need and looks toward the future,” and that “hopes to shatter the statistic that not a single female, African-American, or Latino student took the AP Computer Science Exam in Mississippi.”

RePublic Schools will be receiving a $5,000 cash prize as well as a Sally Ride STEM License (valued at $3,500)—which will deliver innovative online professional development, dozens of Teacher Guides with lessons and activities, and interactive eBooks to an entire RePublic school.

"At RePublic, we’re teaching our scholars — most of whom come from low-income backgrounds — to code because we believe it will help them break the cycle of poverty," said Lee Pedinoff, Director of Talent and Development for RePublic Schools. "We are honored to be the grand prize winner and are fired up to leverage the Sally Ride platform with our scholars and teachers."

Cofounder and CEO of Sally Ride Science Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy says of the contest, “Introducing students to the opportunities in STEM fields is a growing priority throughout our educational system. We know that we need to cultivate scientific literacy throughout the K-12 years, and teachers will be the ones to make that happen. We are grateful that Deloitte has generously taken this step with us, to reward the ideas that are already out there, and spur even more innovation around STEM learning in the years ahead.”

Two second-prize winners each received $2,500 for their schools, and Sally Ride STEM Licenses for their schools as well. Additionally, there were five third-place finishers, each of whom earned a $1,000 award for their schools. To view winning entries, visit: https://sallyridescience.com/stem-central/innovation-award-2014

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