Craig Middle School 8th grade science teacher Norm Yoast last Friday was honored with the Excellence in Science Education 2012 Award from the Colorado Association of Science Teachers.
Yoast was selected as one of two middle school educators throughout the entire state of Colorado.
"It's exciting for us as a district, and certainly for his students," said Dr. Joe Petrone, superintendent for Moffat County School District. "What comes to my mind immediately is he's extraordinarily connected and committed to his students."
Nominated by a fellow teacher, Yoast’s nomination went before the board of the Colorado Association of Science Teachers, which voted to select Yoast.
“It’s a really, really neat honor," Yoast said. "It makes you feel like the last 23 years have been worth something. People I highly respect and have worked with over a long period of time selected me.”
Although Yoast has been recognized for smaller things, he said the award is one of the biggest to date during his tenure as a science teacher.
Yoast sponsors the River Watch program, created a student-directed program to complete an energy audit of the district, is a part of item review committees for Transitional Colorado Assessment Program testing, and helped acquire and implement the new Understanding by Design curriculum for the school district, to name just a few of his accomplishments.
“I really like a hands on approach to teaching,” Yoast said.
Dr. Petrone said Yoast's river watch program is unique among teachers, allowing students to connect to the real world by getting out into the river.
"He makes the learning meaningful and provides opportunities for students to share knowledge directly with the board," Dr. Petrone said of the energy audit project. "He's just a mentor to science teachers throughout the district. He continues to amaze us."
Yoast was presented with the award at the Colorado Science Conference 2012 Award ceremony in Denver. To receive the award, nominees must be members of the Colorado Association of Science Teachers.
A modest Yoast said hadn’t even told his students he won the award, or the school district. His wife did the bragging for him, not that Yoast would do what he does for the recognition, he said.
“It just says maybe what I’m doing is helping someone out,” Yoast said.
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org