For its inaugural teacher appreciation event, a local education support group sent a pair of teachers to the stars.
Payson’s Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) paid for Payson High School teachers Andrew Fiala and Michael Ellis and their spouses to visit the Arizona Science Center Jan. 28 for the Science Teacher Night.
Each teacher was given $80, enough to cover gas and dinner, and free tickets to the science center.
PTSO faculty adviser Tina Terry said local business donations funded the trip.
“It was our wonderful PTSO secretary Fayth Lowery who dreamed up this fabulous idea and called businesses for donations,” Terry said.
“Lowery knows teachers work many long hours and aren’t always able to take the time to go out to dinner with their spouses and so it is important that the PTSO treat teachers to these special events.”
The PTSO hopes to send more teachers to conferences and activities.
The goal of the program is to say thanks to educators for their hard work and to reward them with a special night or activity, Terry said.
Roughly, 200 science teachers attended the event in downtown Phoenix.
“Participating science teachers lucky enough to be registered in advance were given the opportunity to expand their support networks by connecting with other science teachers from across the state, visit with representatives from educational support organizations, and take advantage of free educational resources provided by vendors and the Arizona Science Center,” according to the Arizona Science Teachers Association.
Keynote speaker Sharon Hall, associate professor of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Science at the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, spoke on her research in urban ecology and offered ideas on how to connect students to science.
The night was a joint project by the Arizona State University STARR Noyce Scholarship Program, Arizona Science Center and Arizona Science Teachers Association.