Three Innovative Science Educators Honored by School Specialty for Excellence in Inquiry-Based Science Teaching

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Honorees Demonstrate Passion, Creativity in the Classroom.

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We are honored to recognize these three teachers for their continued dedication to ensuring that their students develop scientific inquiry skills that will prepare them to be successful in college and their careers.

School Specialty’s science division today announced the 2013 Science Awards for Excellence in Inquiry-Based Science Teaching, sponsored by Delta Education, CPO Science, and Frey Scientific, to three innovative science teachers.

The awards, sponsored by School Specialty’s science brands in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), honor full-time K-12 science teachers who successfully use inquiry-based science to enhance student learning and success. Three awards are selected, one each for elementary, middle and high school. Each honoree receives a $1,500 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the 2013 NSTA National Conference on Science Education in San Antonio, April 11-14, where they will be honored at an awards banquet.

“I continue to be amazed by the passion and creativity teachers show in bringing science to life for their students,” said Mike Lavelle, president & CEO of School Specialty. “It was wonderful to see the enthusiastic response from around the country for this year’s awards program. We are honored to recognize these three teachers for their continued dedication to ensuring that their students develop scientific inquiry skills that will prepare them to be successful in college and their careers.”

“These teachers represent some of the best and brightest in science education,” said Dr. Karen L. Ostlund, president of the NSTA. “We congratulate them for their lifelong commitment to science education and for their innovative and creative approach to teaching their students science.”

The 2013 winners are:

Cynthia Bardwell, Brookside Elementary School, Ossining, N.Y.
Bardwell wanted to teach science in a way that prepared her students for the thought processes of the 21st Century. The result was “Environmental Academy,” which utilized a broad environmental theme, while encouraging students to work individually and collaboratively in order to translate observations, information and data into useful knowledge. A schoolyard nature trail was turned into an “outdoor classroom” where students were able to learn not only about the environment, but its many ecosystems as well, including wetlands, wooded habitats and stream life. Delta Education is pleased to recognize Bardwell’s success.

David McDowell, Mason County Middle School, Maysville, Ky.
McDowell, who teaches seventh and eighth-graders, developed the "A Place for Inquiry" nature trail to encourage his students to be investigators. “A Place for Inquiry,” which began as a donation from a local lime company, evolved over time to include a shelter-style classroom, butterfly garden, dinosaur trackway and bird blind. McDowell’s colleagues were so inspired by “A Place for Inquiry,” they helped to develop it further by adding a rock cycle garden, flagpole shadow study and composting site. CPO Science is pleased to recognize McDowell’s leadership.

Steven Sogo, Laguna Beach High School, Laguna Beach, Calif.
Sogo realized early in his teaching career that lecture-based science did not engage his high school students, spurring a turn to a more inquiry-based style of teaching. During his 22-years in the classroom, he created 143 scaffolded exercises to encourage the development of scientific thinking, later compiling them into a chemistry workbook called “The Alchemist's Cookbook.” Among the labs are “Less than Zero,” which measures endothermic reactions and “Let There Be Light!” where students are challenged to create an electrochemical cell with enough charge to light up an LED. Sogo has been praised by students and colleagues for his ability to cultivate analytical skills. Frey Scientific is pleased to recognize Sogo’s innovation.

About NSTA
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

About School Specialty
School Specialty, Inc. is a leading education company that provides innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to help educators engage and inspire students of all ages and abilities to learn. The company designs, develops and provides preK-12 educators with the latest and very best curriculum, supplemental learning resources and school supplies. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help educators, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential.

Delta Education, CPO Science, and Frey Scientific, all part of School Specialty’s Science division, deliver the best of hands-on, inquiry-based science education to K-8 students. Trusted brands include FOSS, Delta Science Modules (DSM), Delta Science Content Readers, Inquiry Investigations, and Neo/SCI. For more information about School Specialty Science, visit or

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Kay Lindenberg
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