Bolsa Grande High School Teacher Named Finalist for 2017 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching

Teacher and students in Bolsa classroom.

Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) is pleased to announce that Bolsa Grande High School teacher Kathryn Beck was one of eight teachers from across the state to be named a finalist for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). This prestigious award is the highest honor given in the nation for math and science teachers. 

Beck, who joined GGUSD in 2004, was named a finalist in the Science category, and credited for promoting cooperative learning through table talks and group discourse as well as developing innovative and rigorous curriculum for Advanced Placement Physics courses. 

She also was commended for an after-school Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) class she offers, which gives students unique hands-on opportunities to learn STEM concepts in areas like circuitry, rocketry, and other 21st century skills. The program is designed to help encourage female interest in STEM industries, and students even had an opportunity to use chemistry to create their own lip gloss. Beck developed the enrichment class with support from the Orange County Department of Education. 

“Our students are fortunate to benefit from one of the nation’s finest Science teachers who commits each and every day to helping students learn robust physics concepts critical to success in 21st century STEM fields,” said Dina Nguyen, Board of Education trustee. “Katie Beck should be commended for the hard work that has earned her this exciting national award.” 

For the past 13 years at Bolsa Grande High School, Beck has taught several levels of Advanced Placement Physics, Chemistry, Physical Science, Life Science, Algebra, Pre-Calculus and Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry. 

The California Department of Education (CDE) recruits and selects the nominees for this award through a partnership with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council. Among the criteria to be selected are subject mastery, appropriate use of instructional methods and strategies, lifelong learning, and leadership in education outside the classroom. 

As a state finalist, Beck’s application now moves on for review by the National Science Foundation who administers the PAEMST award on behalf of the White House office of Science and Technology Policy.