National UTeach Alumni Network E-newsletter
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National UTeach Alumni Network

April 2016

Welcome class of Spring 2016!

This semester we welcome 350 apprentice teachers into the National UTeach Alumni Network! We are so excited that you're joining us. This means there are about 3,000 UTeach alumni doing great things in classrooms across the country. We have some exciting new projects in the pipeline that will support your work as educators. Stay tuned for updates!

Alumni Conference Updates!

Plans are in high gear for the 3rd Annual UTeach Alumni Conference, July 14-15 in Austin. Check out what's in store for you, and register by May 31 to get the Early Bird Rate.

  • Fifteen professional learning sessions created for you by other alumni of UTeach programs across the country, designed to bring you back to your roots in UTeach.
  • Keynote speaker Mariam Manuel will share her UTeach journey from classroom teaching into leadership roles that ultimately took her back to her stomping grounds at teachHOUSTON.
  • It's not too late to submit your proposal to participate in the UTeach Playground, a fun show-and-tell session where alumni and other groups share their ideas. Maybe you have some great strategies for connecting with and supporting at-risk students? Or perhaps you've started a maker program on your campus? Maybe you're blogging to foster collaboration in your school? Let us know what you're up to!

If you have any ideas, suggestions, or questions about the conference, please send them our way. Carrie Culpepper eagerly awaits your emails!

USEA Outstanding Alumni Award

This spring the UTeach STEM Educators Association (USEA) established an awards program. Alumni from any UTeach program who have been teaching for three years are eligible to be nominated for the Outstanding Alumni Award. The award will be presented at the 3rd Annual UTeach Alumni Conference in July in Austin. Winners will receive free conference registration and paid travel to the conference. For more information and instructions, visit the USEA website.

Nominations can be submitted to Carrie Culpepper, USEA manager. Due to a condensed timeline this year, the deadline is Wednesday, April 27, 2016.


UTeach Professional Development launches its first-ever MOOC on June 1, part of the White House ConnectED Initiative. Classroom Strategies for Inquiry-Based Learning features classroom video from two UTeach Austin alumni: Shana King and Jenna Saldana, along with UTeach Master Teachers Kelli Allen and Shelly Rodriguez as the instructors of the course. Numerous Master Teachers from other UTeach programs appear throughout in the ”Tips from Master Teachers” section. The five-week course is suitable for UTeach faculty, Master Teachers, students, alumni, mentor teachers, or anyone interested in inquiry-based learning in secondary STEM classrooms. Learn more!

We're also offering a self-paced version of Classroom Strategies for Inquiry-Based Learning that launches August 18th and runs through May 31, 2017.

Alumni News

Abria Harris, FSU-Teach alum
Abria Harris, FSU-Teach alum, teaches Pre-Algebra and Algebra I at Havana Magnet School, where he was named Rookie Teacher of the Year in 2014 and 2015. This year, he was named the Gadsden County School District's Rookie Teacher of the Year and was also one of six to be awarded the prestigious Governor's Shine Award for making significant contributions to the field of education. Abria says: "I believe the core values of the FSU-Teach program have equipped me with the tools necessary for providing students with quality inquiry-based instruction, hands-on opportunities for learning, and a sense of excitement when learning mathematics. I have found that many students lack interest in mathematics. However, with various instructional approaches, I have been able to make strides and help my students recognize their mathematical abilities. As Ever Garrison once stated, 'A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.' FSU-Teach was that compass for me, so that I guide the students who matriculate through my classroom."

David Paige, UTeach Austin alum
Dr. David Paige, UTeach Austin alum, was named Teacher of the Year at Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, which is ranked one of the best high schools in the U.S. David teaches Algebra II and says, "UTeach has been a substantial influence in my professional life. I went through the program when I was in graduate school and so I had already been teaching at the college level for a number of years. UTeach helped me learn many new skills and allowed me to develop a more sophisticated and holistic view of what it means to be an effective teacher. It helped me approach my students with more empathy and in a more constructive manner."

Erin Park, CU Teach alum
Erin Park, CU Teach alum, teaches at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards, Colorado, and was named a winner of NSTA's Maitland P. Simmons Award for new teachers. She is currently teaching Chemistry to grades 10 and 11, and an ACT prep course. This fall she'll be starting AVID with the incoming Freshman class. Erin says, "CU Teach gave me the foundation required to be successful and motivated in the demanding profession of science teaching! I left the program prepared and skilled with not only strategies, but professional connections to utilize in my teaching career."

Share your news! Send us announcements about your achievements, job changes, presentations, and publications.

Teaching Tips: Earth Day

Three Apps for Teaching Environmental Stewardship (Monica Burns, Edutopia)

Maps, toolkits, data, and more are available at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's site, including a Teaching Climate section.

Teaching Tolerance's module on Environmental Justice has relevance in today's STEM classrooms.

Training Opportunities from NMSI

NMSI's Laying the Foundation Program (LTF) is a hands-on, content-focused, professional development program that provides educators with techniques, strategies, and resources. Training participants also receive a full suite of classroom-ready materials, including model lessons and formative assessments.

UTeach alumni can attend a 2016 LTF Summer Institute free of charge and are eligible for reimbursement to help cover travel expenses. Request your promo code! Each training session is different, so repeat attendees are welcome!

Think it Up, in partnership with, funds student-powered, teacher-led projects for secondary public school students. Submit a project idea for funding and be sure to mention your UTeach affiliation in your submission. Share your success story by sending a quick note to


UTeach is turning 20!

2017 marks 20 years of UTeach, and we are gearing up to plan promotional, celebratory, and fundraising activities to benefit UTeach programs nationwide during the 2016–2017 academic year. Let us know if you'd like to be involved!

NEA Grants to Educators

The NEA foundation has grant opportunities for public school teachers who are NEA members. Learning & Leadership grants to individuals ($2,000) and groups ($5000) support teacher professional growth.

Student Achievement Grants (in the amount of $2,000 or $5,000) support projects that promote critical thinking, problem solving, and deepening conceptual understanding in standards-based subject matter. The emphasis is on inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection—perfect for UTeach Nation!

Remaining deadlines for 2016 applications are June 1 and October 15.

Butler-Cooley Excellence in Teaching Awards

Awards of $6,000 honoring K–12 classroom teachers who "have demonstrated their capacity to change the outcome of students' lives and the communities where they teach." Must have five years of teaching experience.

The application deadline is May 2, 2016.

Voya Unsung Heroes Awards Program

The Voya Unsung Heroes Awards Program awards 100 teachers a year $2,000 each to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are then chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000.

Application deadline is April 30, 2016.

Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) is fielding nominations for their Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards. Any K–12 educator who covers a significant amount of earth science content with their students is eligible. Awards are intended to identify and reward excellence in teaching, and stimulate higher levels of teaching performance.

Nomination deadline depends on region—several fall May 1 or May 15, 2016.

UTeach Professional Development

Earn a certificate by completing 3 courses in the recently launched Academy of Innovative Teaching and Learning professional development program for in-service teachers. UTeach Alumni receive a discounted rate for these online courses. Email for more information.

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