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Two Recent PAEMST Winners in SLCSD

Salt Lake City School District is pleased to announce we have two recent winners of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Alison Espinosa teaches math at Highland High School and was named a 2017 PAEMST winner in Mathematics. Jill Buchsbaum teaches 4th grade at Uintah Elementary and was named a 2018 PAEMST winner in Science.

Ms. Espinosa was actually nominated for this award while working in South Carolina, but she has recently moved to Utah and Highland High School. She incorporates modeling and project-based learning strategies to motivate student investigation. Her students’ favorite projects include building catapults and instruments to study quadratic and circular functions. She has shared these strategies by serving on district and state leadership committees, presenting at the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conferences and institutes, and through published works. In July 2018, she co-facilitated a three-day Knowles Academy workshop at the University of the Virgin Islands on incorporating the engineering design cycle into mathematics and science instruction.

Ms. Buchsbaum has been an educator in the Salt Lake City School District for nine years and has spent the last seven years teaching all subjects of fourth grade at Uintah Elementary School. She is passionate about designing authentic and engaging learning experiences for her students to make sense of science concepts and the natural world. Her most recent class participated in Trout in the Classroom, a program that provides classrooms with the necessary equipment to hatch and raise rainbow trout from eggs. Her students were responsible for feeding the trout, monitoring the water quality and temperature, and recording observations. Jill has also partnered with Utah Water Watch and the Division of Public Lands to provide her students with opportunities to apply and extend science concepts learned in the classroom to real world settings.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. The award recognizes those teachers who have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. 

Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • A certificate signed by the President of the United States.
  • A paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
  • An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation.
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