Three educators, Brooke Maine, Patrice Teigland, and Ariana Krueger, from Dallas Center-Grimes Commuity School District were recently awarded the 2014 Excellence In Science Teaching Award.

Maine is in her ninth year of teaching at DC-G and has taught Biology, Earth Science, Environmental Science and AP Biology. When offered the opportunity to teach a one semester Anatomy & Physiology course she expanded it to a year-long course for juniors and seniors. Currently she is teaching AP Biology and Anatomy & Physiology, courses that are dual credit and are accredited with Des Moines Area Community College. She is now developing Online Cellular Biology and Diversity of Life, one-semester courses to be offered next year. Maine is a graduate of Iowa State University with degrees in Biology and Secondary Education and holds a Master of Arts in Education from Viterbo University. She also earned her Certificate of Online Teaching from Drake University in 2012. She has completed her coaching authorization and has taken many other professional development classes and credits. Mitzi Chizek, DC-G Associate Superintendent, calls Maine exemplary in her use of inquiry and best practices and she embraces new learning. Expanding enrollment in her College/AP Biology and Anatomy & Physiology classes is evidence of the stimulating environment found in her classroom. Maine believes many factors contribute to a successful learning environment. They include teaching students to accept responsibility for their own learning and supporting that learning. Teigland was another receipient of the award and has been an elementary teacher for over 30 years. Currently she is the grade level science representative at DC-G. During 18 years at South Hamilton she was the Elementary Science representative teaching all three grade level sections of science. At DC-G she has been able to teach two sections of science and currently teaches third grade science. Her undergraduate work included three years at Iowa State University as a horticulture major. She holds a BA from Buena Vista University in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Education from Viterbo University and has a Reading Endorsement from Viterbo University.

Chizek, calls Teigland’s classroom a stimulating environment for learning science and says Teigland is truly a model and master teacher and a role model for continuous improvement. Patrice believes, "Students gain more control and ownership of their learning as they are encouraged to develop questions, collect evidence, form an explanation, test it, and communicate the findings." Third recipient Krueger has been teaching science at DC-G Meadows for the past four years.

Prior to teaching at Meadows she taught one year of Biology and Chemistry at North High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She holds a BA in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Northern Iowa and has endorsements in Physical and General Science. She received a Masters of Education at Viterbo University. At Meadows, Krueger has created "Review Day." Before each unit test the science room is turned into a new environment. Themes have included a coffee house, hospital, rain forecast, alien planet, farm, and restaurant and crime scene. The objective is to take information learned from the unit and frame questions in a different format. It helps students see and use what they have learned in a different setting and helps them remember the principles beyond the unit.

Principal Lori Phillips, says Krueger’s classes are extremely well organized and filled with hands on activities that make learning come alive. "Every year I have students ask me if they can take science twice a day because they enjoy her class tremendously," she said.