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Earlier this month, PCS Edventures had the pleasure of meeting with Ms. Sonia Galaviz, a 5th grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School who's been busy making a name for herself in the education world. In 2009, she was named Idaho Woman of the Year by the Idaho Business Review, and in 2011, she was one of five educators nationally chosen to receive Teaching Tolerance’s award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, and this year, Galaviz’s devotion to her students has again been recognized.
In February, Galaviz will be traveling to the NEA Foundation Gala in Washington, D.C., to receive $10,000 and the NEA Foundation’s Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence. As one of only five recipients in the nation, this prestigious honor really reinforces Galaviz’s commitment to continually go above and beyond for her students, something that begins long before the start of the school year. Every summer, Galaviz goes door to door, meeting with the families of her incoming students. As an educator, she believes that really knowing her students, their family dynamic and their home life, helps her be a better teacher. “I don’t know how to do my job without the families,” she said. “It’s a blessing to get to know them and hear their story and how I can best teach their student. It’s a partnership.” A partnership that PCS Edventures is very excited to help extend.
As a proponent of STEM education, Galaviz builds cross disciplinary knowledge by working math and science into every subject her class studies. From collaborative learning inside of the student’s clusters of desks to hands-on lessons in STEM discovery, Galaviz is continually working to push the STEM envelope at Garfield Elementary. She also hosts a Saturday STEM club for 4th - 6th graders, and recently, through a two-year grant funded by NASA and a partnership with Boise State University, she has trail blazed even more “at-home” learning opportunities for students. For K-6, each classroom has the ability to take STEM backpacks home over the weekend. By choosing from three different lesson plans, students bring STEM home, experimenting, creating and learning with their families.
In order to help Galaviz’s STEM efforts, PCS Edventures donated a massive amount of our hands-on BrickLAB products to her classroom and to Garfield Elementary. From learning the science of unique animal adaptations to the different technologies that helped shape the world, we can’t wait to see what Ms. Galaviz’s exceptionally skilled hands can build with BrickLAB.
From everyone here at PCS Edventures, we want to congratulate Sonia Galaviz on receiving such a prestigious award, and we want to thank her for everything she does for our community. Congratulations, Sonia! We’re excited to see everything else the future has in store for you.
Cover Image - Left to Right: Jim Schmidt, Michelle Fisher and Sonia Galaviz stand behind the BrickLAB products PCS Edventures donated to Ms. Galaviz and Garfield Elementary School.
Garfield Elementary. (2016, December). December Newsletter - Garfield Elementary School. Grizzly Tracks. Retrieved from http://garfield.boiseschools.org/cms/one.aspx?pageId=2104295
Jones, K. (2016, October 6). Garfield Elementary teacher wins prestigious national teaching award. Idaho Statesman. Retrieved from http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/education /article106468497.html
Sonia Galaviz. (2016). Retrieved December 15, 2016, from Teaching Tolerance, http://www. tolerance.org/author/sonia-galaviz
Swindell, J. (2015, September 28). “Amazing” teacher makes learning a family affair. ID ED News. Retrieved from https://www. idahoednews.org/news/amazing-teacher-makes-learning -a-family-affair/
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