A Boise State alumna recently received the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching for Idaho. Deirdre Abrams (MA, education, curriculum and instruction, ’05) has worked as a science teacher at Donnelly Elementary School for the past 12 years and has been an educator for more than 23 years. In mid-October, Abrams traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the award.
“The award is really a testament to our entire staff and supportive, forward-thinking administrators and school board in our district,” said Abrams, who currently teaches fifth grade. “I work with the most energetic, talented teachers and support staff, who totally set me up for success by instilling a love of learning before students even get to fifth grade. It’s the hallmark of our small, rural school. It’s all connected to every single person loving what they do and very much the proverbial village raising a child.”
Abrams also credits the quality of professors in Boise State’s College of Education for helping her excel as a teacher.
“Everything I learned was on the cutting edge of best practices and my professors were literally creating programs that would forever change teaching and learning, like [mathematical thinking for instruction] and turning high-poverty schools into high-performing schools,” she said.
The Presidential Excellence Awards in Science, Mathematics and Engineering are announced annually. Established in 1983, they are the highest awards given by the U.S. Government to K-12 teachers of mathematics and science, including computer science.
Awardees come from schools in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, and schools in the United States territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Nominations and awards are facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation.
“I’m grateful that teachers are getting recognized for their hard work that goes beyond the status quo,” Abrams said. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is witnessing the love of learning that develops, notably in science and math, as kids see how relevant and exciting it is to solve problems. Kids are just filled with so much light. It’s an extraordinary life to play a role in that energy on a daily basis!”